January Dinner Meeting: Stem Cells – A New Hope

January Dinner Meeting
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Stevens Steakhouse

5332 Stevens Place
Los Angeles, CA 90040
323 723-9856

“Stem Cells – A New Hope”
Dr. Thomas LeBon

City of Hope Neurosciences Division
6:00 p.m. Social Hour
7:00 p.m. Dinner
8:00 p.m. Presentation

Abstract: Cell biology is becoming the new hot area of biomedical sciences. We have seriously neglected cell biology for many reasons. The feeling that individual cells act by themselves has pervaded the scientific literature since we were first able to see cells under the microscope and in tissue culture. The interaction of cells with tissue factors has long been known but the results have been slow in cell-to-cell contacts. The findings that certain cells can differentiate into several cell lineages has opened up the area of stem cell biology.

Stem cell research and treatment in its early days was mostly confined to bone marrow cells as a replacement for damaged cells in leukemia patients. The replacement cells repopulate the patient and yield all of the various blood cell types. Recently this research has expanded in many ways. First – bone marrow cells can do more than we originally anticipated. Second – other sources of stem cells have been found.

While originally we were only able to treat certain leukemias and related diseases with a bone marrow transplant we are now able to treat other diseases as well with the same type of bone marrow transplantation. These diseases include autoimmune diseases which include Multiple Sclerosis and Systemic lupus erythematosus. The excitement continues with great hope for neurological disorders, autoimmune diseases like type 1 Diabetes mellitus and wonderful new ideas for many other diseases.

The source of cells is a dilemma and still somewhat of a mystery. Except for bone marrow few adult tissues yield very many of the precious stem cells that we need. Even bone marrow cells yield only enough stem cells to treat one or a few patients. In the last five years we have improved methods so that we can obtain a large number of cells from human peripheral blood. These cells can act in the same way as bone marrow cells. Cord blood from newborn infants is a source of some cells while other cells can be used from cultured cells from embryos and other adult cells. The hope for the future is to harvest enough cells from these sources mentioned and newly discovered sources and to learn how to collect cells under culture conditions to produce enough stem cells for treatment.

Biography: Dr. Thomas LeBon received his PhD in Biochemistry from Georgetown University (School of Medicine) in 1979 after receiving his B.S. from St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and his M.S from the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC He is currently Associate Dean at the City of Hope Graduate School of Biological Sciences. He is also Assistant Research Scientist at the City of Hope Beckman Research Institute.

Dinner: Entree choice of Halibut or Prime Rib.
Cost: $32 per person including dinner, wine with dinner, tax and gratuity
Reservations: Call the Section Office at (310) 327-1216 by Monday, January 23, 2006 and indicate your entree choice. Note: Please honor your reservation. If you make a reservation and do not attend, you will be liable for the cost of the dinner.
Directions: From the 5 Fwy. Northbound, exit Atlantic South. Make a right turn off exit. Stay in middle lane and go under bridge. Stay in left lane and Stevens will be on your right. From the 5 Fwy. Southbound, exit Atlantic-Eastern Avenue. Straight ahead off exit. Free parking in rear of building. From the 710 Long Beach Fwy. North, exit Atlantic North. Continue north on Atlantic. Pass Washington Blvd., go 3 lights. Next street is Stevens Place. Turn right to Stevens.