We are fortunate to have a guest blogger, John A. Carbona, CEO of BioLife Cell Bank, who is in attendance and kindly is giving us inside coverage of the meeting.
Below is a guest blog from John on Day 1 of the meeting. We even have pictures.
Thursday, April 11, 2012
The Second International Vatican Adult Stem Cell Conference:
Regenerative Medicine – A Fundamental Shift in Science & Culture, taking place from within The Vatican
With a buffet fit for Caesar Augustus himself, the first day of the conference began. (Thanks Mesoblast for sponsoring breakfast!) The accommodations at the Westin Excelsior are grand. I think the amount of marble used in my gargantuan bathroom could, in fact, resurface the Colosseum.
Arriving at the Vatican and crossing the barriers (protected by the Swiss Guard) into the inner sanctum reserved for dignitaries was awe inspiring. We were welcomed by: Meredith Vieira (NBC), Dr. Max Gomez (CBS), Bill Hemer (Fox), Peggy Noonan and Gianfranco Cardinal Ravasi. The sessions are taking place in an opulent auditorium with cushy, hi-tech seats that was the location of the cardinal’s general meeting prior to the conclave which elected Pope Francis.
A highlight of the morning session featured current multiple sclerosis (MS) patients of Dr. Richard Burt from Northwestern University. Each described miraculous recoveries after stem cell transplants. Jim Danhakl, a top gun fighter pilot, came to Dr. Burt as a bed-bound patient who had to use a wheelchair. Within two weeks after the transplant, he was taking his first steps! Today, he scrambled down to the podium to speak. As Dr. Burt’s patients thanked him, everyone was visibly moved by their emotion and gratitude. Another MS patient, Roxane Julia Beygi, brought the audience to tears reliving her journey. (She will be profiled soon—featured in a documentary.)
Our first day of meetings has ended. Now, off to a private tour of the Vatican…
My best regards,
John A. Carbona
BioLife Cell Bank, CEO