Regional Cancer Care Associates’ President Dr. Andrew Pecora Speaks at International Vatican Stem Cell Conference
Dr. Pecora Discussed Research and Implementation of Using Stem Cells in Diabetes Treatment
May 16, 2013 (Hackensack, NJ) – Regional Cancer Care Associates’ leadership played a prominent role in the Vatican’s recent Second International Vatican Adult Stem Cell Conference titled: Regenerative Medicine: A Fundamental Shift In Science and Culture. RCCA President Dr. Andrew Pecora spoke on Friday, April 12 on T-cell immunotherapy for diabetes treatments. Many immune-mediated diseases including diabetes are a result of an imbalance in the immune system whereby inflammatory cells go unchecked. Therapy using regulatory T cells (T-reg) represents a novel approach to restoring immune balance by enhancing T-reg cell number and function to inhibit pathogenic immune responses. This was Dr. Pecora’s second time speaking at the Vatican, after being invited following his presentation on bone marrow transplantations for hematological disorders.
“It is an immense honor to speak at the Vatican’s Second International Adult Stem Cell Conference among such distinguished thought leaders as Nobel Prize winner John Gurdon,? said Andrew Pecora, M.D., F.A.C.P., C.P.E., President of Regional Cancer Care Associates and Chief Innovation Officer, Professor and Vice President of Cancer Services, John Theurer Cancer Center at HackensackUMC. “It is my hope that through conferences like these we can help resolve the questions surrounding stem cell research, and further the advancement of science and public health around the world."
The high cost of healthcare is directly associated with the increase in mortality and morbidity of diabetes, with more than 20% of the health care dollars in the United States spent for the care of people with diagnosed diabetes. While investment in diabetes prevention offers the opportunity to generate savings three times higher than the future costs associated with the diseases, adult stem cells offer the opportunity to develop cost-effective therapeutic strategies.
“Diabetes has become a worldwide public health epidemic," said Camillo Ricordi, M.D., Director of Cell Transplant Center and Diabetes Research Institute, University of Miami, Florida. “The project with regulatory T cells that Dr. Pecora presented on has the potential for an unprecedented impact in the treatment and eradication of the disease. Immune tolerance induction would in fact have a double critical role in treatment of diabetes, to both block autoimmunity, restore self-tolerance, and to allow for new insulin producing cells to be transplanted without using antirejection drugs. What we are doing with stem cells is also yielding very exciting results, and has the potential to change the quality of life for millions of people around the world affected by this disease."
The goal of the Second International Vatican Adult Stem Cell Conference is to end the dispute over embryonic stem cell research by articulating the ongoing breakthroughs occurring all over the world with adult stem cells. In the last few years cellular scientists have discovered ways in which to convert adult stem cells, which exist in all of our bodies throughout our lifetime, into ‘embryonic like’ stem cells that carry no ethical conflicts but offer the same therapeutic potential; thus, the argument over embryonic stem cell research can hopefully come to an end, a controversy which has diluted capital investment in the regenerative medicine field and has separated students and medical professionals alike, who often struggle to find links between their faith, ethics and the pursuit of new scientific frontiers.
About Regional Cancer Care Associates
Regional Cancer Care Associates (RCCA), the largest oncology physician network in New Jersey, is transforming oncology care by ensuring patients and their caregivers are an active part of the treatment team in all aspects of the management of their disease in a way that is life-enriching and respectful.
Regional Cancer Care Associates extends across New Jersey with more than 90 cancer care specialists, growing to include more than 100, and is supported by 600 employees at 27 care delivery sites, providing care to more than 20,000 new patients annually and over 230,000 existing patients. For more information, visit. www.regionalcancercare.org
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