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Stem Cells and Regeneration in the Digestive Organs

13th March 2016 - 17th March 2016
Keystone, United States


The gastrointestinal, pancreatic and hepatobiliary systems serve many essential functions, and stem cell (SC)-based tissue regeneration holds promise for treating diseases of the digestive system (DS). Recent advances in the field include differentiation of pluripotent SCs (ESCs, iPSCs) into intestinal, pancreatic and hepatic cells that may someday be used to replace defective cell types. However, a gap remains between these achievements in basic research and translation into clinical treatment. Among the barriers to overcome include: 1) An incomplete understanding of stemness under homeostasis and stressed conditions; 2) Failure of SC in vitro to extend to in vivo conditions; 3) Questions of SC subpopulation; 4) Reversion of progenitor cells (PC) to SC; and 5) Effects of the microenvironment on SC and PC. This meeting will be the first to bring together a broad representation of scientists researching SC from the interrelated fields of the DS. With open and vigorous discussion, the meeting will “cross boundaries” and capitalize on the common principles and unique features of the three systems. Specific aims of the meeting are to: 1) Facilitate characterization of the properties of DS SC in vivo; 2) Address how the heterogeneity of the microenvironment influences the state and fate of SCs/PCs; 3) Narrow the gap between findings of in vitro and in vivo identification; and 4) Explore applications for converting stem into functional DS cell systems to overcome disease. The meeting should result in new scientific methods, insights, collaborations and technical capabilities for the entire DS, and facilitate further clinical advances. This meeting is being held jointly with  Islet Biology: From Cell Birth to Death.

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