Using Stem Cells to Treat Parkinson's Disease
and to Rescue Endangered Species
Jeanne F. Loring, PhD
Pluripotent stem cells can develop into any cell type in the adult body. Originally derived only from early embryos (embryonic stem cells), pluripotent stem cells can now be produced from any person’s or animal’s skin cells by “reprogramming” them using genetic tools (induced pluripotent stem cells, iPSCs). By exposing iPSCs to specific molecular signals, they can be directed to differentiate in a culture dish to a specific mature cell type. We are using iPSCs from Parkinson’s Disease patients to produce the specific kind of nerve cell that dies in the brains of Parkinson’s patients, with the aim of replacing dying neurons with new neurons made from the patient’s own cells. This unique approach eliminates the chance of rejection that may occur with therapies using cells from another source. We also campaign aggressively against "clinics" that fraudulently claim to be able to cure almost anything with “adult stem cells." In another application, we are directing iPSCs made from the skin of long-deceased northern white rhinos to become sperm or egg cells, with the goal of rescuing this species from extinction. The project is a collaboration with the Frozen Zoo at the San Diego Zoo, which has collected samples from thousands of animals including twelve northern white rhinos.
About our Speaker
Jeanne F. Loring earned her PhD at the University of Oregon in 1979 and has had a long and distinguished career in molecular biology and genomics. She is Professor Emerita at The Scripps Research Institute, where she was Director of the Center for Regenerative Medicine for many years, and is now Chief Scientific Officer at Aspen Neuroscience, Inc. Dr. Loring is an expert in the derivation and characterization of pluripotent stem cells and pioneered the use of genomic techniques, such as DNA and RNA sequencing, to understand the molecular basis of pluripotency and to develop stem-cell based methods that may provide treatments for neurodegenerative diseases. Dr. Loring is also an advocate for patient education and against stem cell "tourism." She began investigating a dopamine-neuron replacement therapy for Parkinson’s Disease in 2012 and co-founded Aspen Neuroscience in 2018 to bring this therapy to the clinic.
Please register by October 3
6:00 Hors d’oeuvres and cash bar
6:30 Dinner - Please indicate your choice (and that of anyone else in your party) from among the following entrees, when registering:
Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb with Potato Puree, Ratatouille, Port and Mint Demi-Glaze
Pan Seared White Sea Bass with White Beans, Sun-Dried Tomato-Bacon-Spinach Ragout and Tapenade
Eggplant Parmigiano with Roasted Vegetables and Grilled Garlic Bread
8:30 Questions and discussion
Parking available in the SB Club lot or on the street.