Recently there has been a paradigm shift in what is considered to be the therapeutic promise of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in diseases of vital organs. Originally, research focused on MSCs as a source of regenerative cells through the differentiation of transplanted cells into lost cell types. It is now clear that trophic modulation of inflammation, cell death, fibrosis, and tissue repair are primary mechanisms of MSC therapy. This has been clarified in studies where delivery of growth factors, cytokines, and other signaling molecules secreted by MSCs is often sufficient to obtain the therapeutic effects. In this presentation, examples of MSC therapy in disease models of vital organs using models of acute liver failure, acute renal injury, and spinal cord injury will be described.
Martin L. Yarmush is an internationally recognized bioengineer and translational scientist whose laboratory has been a pioneer and leader in multiple fields including: tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, applied immunology and biotechnology, and BioMEMS and medical devices. Dr. Yarmush currently serves as the Paul and Mary Monroe Chair and Distinguished Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Rutgers University, and the Director of the Center for Engineering in Medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School. Over the last 30 years, Dr. Yarmush has: 1) published more than 450 journal articles, 2) has co-authored more than 40 patents and patent applications, 3) has mentored over 140 postdoctoral fellows and graduate students, and 4) has taught a spectrum of courses from Molecular Genetics and Immunology, to Thermodynamics and Transport Phenomena. More than 70 of his former fellows have gone on to successful careers in academia both here and abroad, while many others have gone on to become leaders in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device industries. In addition to his teaching and research achievements, Dr. Yarmush has contributed to the advancement of science and engineering through service as: (1) a member of NIH, NSF, FDA, and Office of Technology Assessment review panels; (2) an advisory board member for foundations (e.g. the Whitaker Foundation, Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, and Doris Duke Foundation), academic-based centers, and industrial firms; and 3) an editor of several science and engineering journals. A frequent invited speaker at major conferences and institutions, and winner of over 25 local and national awards, Dr. Yarmush’s research “pushes the envelope” on several healthcare technology frontiers through the use of state-of-the-art techniques that include microfabrication and nanotechnology; genomics, proteomics and genetic engineering; advanced microscopic imaging; physiologic instrumentation; and numerical simulation. He has been credited with many pioneering scientific and technological advances including: innovative cell culture systems, stem cell therapies, venous access devices, dynamic cell and tissue microsystems, pulsed electric field therapies, bioartificial organs development, targeted therapies for tumors and infections, recombinant protein purification techniques, and recombinant retrovirus production and purification techniques. Some of these developments have resulted in patents and the formation of companies based on these advances. Dr. Yarmush received his Bachelor’s Degree from Yeshiva University, his MD degree from Yale University, and completed PhD work at The Rockefeller University in biophysical chemistry and at MIT in chemical engineering.