Will the Body Become a Renewable Resource? A discussion at the 2007 Aspen Health Forum with discussants Anthony Atala, Tannishtha Reya, David Scadden and Irv Weissman. Clifton Leaf moderates.
Scientists are discovering how to make new organs from scratch. Will they be able to create perfectly matched replacements for diseased cells and organs?- Aspen Institute
Anthony Atala is Director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine and Chair of Urology at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine. Dr. Atala is a surgeon, researcher and expert on regenerative medicine and stem cells.
His current work focuses on growing new human cells, tissues and organs (including kidney, blood vessels, cartilage, bladder and pancreas). Ten applications of his technologies have been used clinically. Dr. Atala has received numerous awards, including the Christopher Columbus Foundation Award bestowed on an American working on a discovery that will significantly affect society.
He was named by Scientific American as a Medical Treatments Leader of the Year and by Fast Company as one of 50 people who "will change how we work and live over the next 10 years." He is the editor of numerous journals and books, has published more than 300 journal articles and book chapters, and has applied for or received more than 200 patents.
Clifton Leaf, an award-winning business journalist, is currently writing a book on the war on cancer for Alfred A. Knopf, which is due to be published in early 2008. He also serves on the board of directors for Susan G. Komen For the Cure, the world's largest breast cancer foundation.
Previously, he was Executive Editor at Fortune, where he edited major features and, for several years, directed its Wall Street and investing coverage as well. In addition, Leaf has written numerous articles for Fortune, including his 2004 cover story, entitled "Why We're Losing the War on Cancer (And How to Win It)," which won the Gerald Loeb Award for Distinguished Business Journalism, the Henry R. Luce Award for public service, and the NIHCM's 2005 Health Care Journalism Award.
Prior to joining Fortune, he was Executive Editor of SmartMoney and held editorial positions at Fitness Magazine and Harper's Bazaar.
Tannishtha Reya is Assistant Professor of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology and Co-director of the Stem Cell Research Program at the Duke University School of Medicine. Dr. Reya obtained her bachelor’s degree from Williams College and her PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. She subsequently completed her postdoctoral training at the University of California at San Francisco and Stanford University.
Her work has provided insight into the signals that control stem cell growth, and how the same signals are subverted to fuel cancer growth. Her awards include the Cancer Research Institute Scholar award, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Scholar award, as well as the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.
David T. Scadden is Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Regenerative Medicine and Technology. He also is Co-Director of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. Dr. Scadden’s research focuses on reconstituting immune function using the stem cells that form blood cells to fight cancer and AIDS, and he is widely recognized as one of the nation's leading experts in the treatment of HIV-related Kaposi's sarcoma and B-cell lymphoma and has developed a number of new therapies for them. Dr. Scadden received his training at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He has received numerous honors and awards, including the Alpha Omega Alpha; Edwin C. Garvin, MD Senior Prize; Doris Duke Innovation in Clinical Research Award; the Burroughs Welcome Fund Clinical Scientist Award in Translational Research; and the Brain Tumor Society's Alan Goldfine Leadership Chair of Research.
Irving L. Weissman is Karel and Avice Beekhuis Professor of Cancer Biology at Stanford University, where he also serves as Director of both the Comprehensive Cancer Center and Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine. Dr. Weissman was the first to isolate an adult stem cell in 1988 when he isolated a blood-forming stem cell in mice. He later isolated the blood-forming stem cell in humans, the human neuronal stem cell, and more recently the leukemia stem cell in a type of human myeloid leukemia.
His recent focus has been the purification, biology, transplantation and evolution of stem cells. He was a founding member of the Amgen, DNAX, and T-Cell Sciences scientific advisory boards and has received the Kovalenko Medal of the National Academy of Sciences, the De Villiers Award of the Leukemia Society of America and the 2002 California Scientist of the Year from the California Science Center.