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Stem Cell Day

Stem Cell Day – The Skin Harbors the Body’s Largest Reservoir of Stem Cells

You may not be aware that the skin harbors the body’s the largest reservoir of stem cells. There are products now appearing on the market that advertise that they contain “stem cells”, mainly from plants. These claims pose several important questions.

• Are these new products effective?
• Is there a future in using human stem cells for treatment of disease?

These questions are as yet unanswered. However, one way to find out more about the application of stem cells and the skin is to invite the experts in this hot science topic to speak about the latest findings. The Center for Dermal Research provided such an opportunity. The Fifth Annual CDR Skin Workshop was held on November 6th 2013 and attracted nearly sixty attendees from academia and industry. The highlight of the day was our Plenary Speaker Dr. Elaine Fuchs from Rockefeller University. Dr Fuchs is probably the lead researcher globally on stem cells and skin. Her lecture covered the fundamental biology of stem cells and their role in cancer production.

Other notable speakers were Dr. Valerie Horsley (Yale), Dr. Elena Ezhkova (Mount Sinai Scholl of Medicine) and Dr. Sarah Millar (U. Penn.) who discussed how the cells are regulated during development. Dr. Angela Christiano (Columbia) and Dr. Michael Rendl (M. Sinai) spoke about the relation on stem cells to skin appendages (hair follicles in particular) and treatment of disease states such as Epidermolysis Bullosa.

At the conclusion of the meeting, I presented The Center for Dermal Research’s Annual Sponsor of the Year Award to Avon Products in recognition of Avon’s outstanding support to the Center throughout 2013.