Vatican hosts conference on regenerative medicine

The Vatican, through the Pontifical Council for Culture's office for Science and Faith and The Stem For Life Foundation hosted a three-day conference on regenerative medicine on April 28–30. The central theme of the conference was "Cellular Horizons: How Science, Technology, Information and Communication Will Impact Society."

Pope Francis talks during a special audience with nuns of Rome's diocese in Paul VI hall at the Vatican May 16, 2015.  | Reuters/Tony Gentile

In a press release by the Vatican Radio, the president of The Stem For Life Foundation, Dr. Robin Smith, said that the conference would bring delegates from all over the world together for a discussion on "a powerful idea — that the cells of our bodies hold the potential to vanquish disease, reduce global suffering and inspire hope for people around the world living with illness." 

The conference allowed researchers, doctors, scientists, business leaders, politicians, and philantropists to discuss treatment and therapies for illnesses such as pediatric cancer, diabetes, autoimmune disorders, and other rare diseases. The delegates talked about the delivery of health care using the latest technology. Conference speakers tackled topics on stem cell research, building regenerative care models, cell therapy, and philanthropy as well as cellular innovation and distribution, among others. Research, regulation, and funding of such programs were also presented. 

The Pope met with the delegates of the conference and talked about the morality of new research in regenerative medicine. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, who lost his son to cancer last year, also spoke during the conference, urging governments and pharmaceutical firms to share resources and increase cooperation in order to accelerate development of new treatments for cancer. 

Furthermore, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, stated, according to Vatican Radio, that in this Jubilee Year of Mercy, society should be challenged to search for cures for human illnesses, and that breakthroughs in regenerative medicine hold great promise for the future, especially for those who suffer around the world from these diseases.