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The Pontifical Council For Culture And NeoStem Announce Steps Forward In Their Partnership To Advance Adult Stem Cell Research

Stocks in this article: NBS

VATICAN CITY, June 16, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- NeoStem, Inc. ("NeoStem" or the "Company") (NYSE Amex: NBS), an international biopharmaceutical company with product and service revenues, global research and development capabilities and operations in three distinct business units – U.S. adult stem cells, China adult stem cells, and China pharmaceuticals, and the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Culture, today announced steps forward in their partnership designed to advance adult stem cell research.

In a press conference at the Vatican, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, Dr. Robin L. Smith, Chairman and CEO of NeoStem, and Reverend Tomasz Trafny, Head of the Science and Faith Department at the Pontifical Council for Culture, provided further details on both their ongoing partnership and on a groundbreaking event, the international Vatican conference on adult stem cells, scheduled for November 9 – 11, 2011 at the Vatican.

The partners' charitable organizations that will drive activity are NeoStem's Stem for Life Foundation, and the Pontifical Council's Foundation, called STOQ International (Science Theology and the Ontological Quest).  

The joint mission of the partnership, with the complete support of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers and the Pontifical Academy for Life, will be to:

  • Foster the highest levels of scientific research on adult stem cells and to explore the cultural, ethical and human implications of their use.  
  • Seek to create awareness about the promise of scientific research in concordance with ethical values through the further development of adult stem cell technology.  
  • Determine short-term and long-term actions which political, scientific, educational, and religious leaders can take to be part of the cultural paradigm shift arising from the next wave - regenerative medicine.
  • Lay the groundwork for a collaborative network of scientists and patrons who embrace the promise of adult stem cells to reduce human suffering, advance scientific research on adult stem cells and explore their clinical application in the field of regenerative medicine, as well as the cultural impact of such research.
  • Advance adult stem cell research and facilitate its safe transformation from the lab to the clinic.

The November conference will include the foremost experts in adult stem cell research and recognized leaders in medicine, but, unlike a research-focused conference, attendees will include Church and scientific leaders, policymakers, ethicists, educators, Ministers of Health from around the world, ambassadors to the Holy See, and representatives of the stem cell therapeutic business community to foster a multidisciplinary approach to advance science as there are ethical, spiritual societal, religious and cultural impacts with every discovery creating the potential to influence many people worldwide.

Through keynote speakers, panel discussions, patient case studies, video, and breakout sessions, the conference will create greater awareness of adult stem cells and their applications, explore the latest research and developments in the field, and discuss and debate the implications for the future of culture, medicine, religion, and public policy. The event will reach an even wider audience than its 350 invited guests through radio and television broadcast. The event is detailed at a newly launched website, www.adultstemcellconference.org.

NeoStem's Chairman and CEO, Robin Smith said, "Today we are making history. I am here with you today because of an historic collaboration between the Vatican and NeoStem which is already underway, and also to tell you about our upcoming event in November to further these efforts. We believe Adult Stem Cells will be the answer to so many debilitating problems impacting people all over the world, of all ages, in all walks of life. We look forward to working together with Father Trafny, Cardinal Ravasi and other Church leaders  to be able to demonstrate that faith and technology can work together to find ethical solutions to human kind's most ancient problems."

Reverend Tomasz Trafny added, "The unique collaboration with NeoStem must focus on two considerations. The first one is related to the sharing of the same sensitivity for ethical values that has at its center the protection of human life at all stages of its existence. The second concerns investigation on cultural consequences that will be caused by scientific discoveries in the field of adult stem cell research and adult stem cell applications in regenerative medicine. For these reasons, we've entered into a long term formal agreement with NeoStem and are working together tracing paths of further developments, activities and additional collaborations."

The partnering organizations are actively raising funds for the initiative and announced that individuals who are interested in supporting their mission may donate through the newly redesigned Stem for Life Foundation website at www.stemforlifefoundation.com.  

About NeoStem, Inc.

NeoStem, Inc. is engaged in the development and manufacturing of cell-based therapies in the U.S.  Its January 2011 acquisition of Progenitor Cell Therapy, LLC ("PCT") is central to the Company's strategic mission of capturing the paradigm shift to cell therapy.  The acquisition of PCT gives NeoStem not only access to a world class contract manufacturing cell therapy company but provides a platform and expertise around the evaluation, development and regulatory requirements to develop autologous, allogeneic, immunomodulatory and vaccine-based therapeutics. NeoStem also holds the worldwide exclusive license to VSEL(TM) Technology, which uses very small embryonic-like stem cells, shown to have several physical characteristics that are generally found in embryonic stem cells, and is pursuing the licensing of other technologies for therapeutic use. NeoStem owns 80% of Athelos Corporation, a company developing a T-cell therapeutic with potential in a range of auto-immune conditions such as graft versus host disease, asthma and diabetes. Furthermore, NeoStem is building its Chinese presence by establishing an operations lab for cell-based manufacturing in Beijing as well as commercializing cellular therapies in China through the establishment of a network of hospitals.  NeoStem also owns a majority-interest in Suzhou Erye Pharmaceutical Company Limited, a world class manufacturing and distribution operation of generic antibiotics in China.

For more information, please visit: www.neostem.com.

About the Pontifical Council for Culture

The Pontifical Council for Culture is that Dicastery of the Roman Curia which assists the Pontiff in the exercise of his supreme pastoral office for the benefit and service of the universal Church and of particular Churches concerning the encounter between the saving message of the Gospel and cultures, in the study of the weighty phenomena of the rift between the Gospel and cultures; indifference in matters of religion; unbelief. It is also concerned with relationships between the Church and the Holy See and the world of culture; in particular it promotes dialogue with contemporary cultures, so that human civilization may become increasingly open to the Gospel, and so that men and women of science, letters and the arts may know that the Church acknowledges their work as a service to truth, goodness and beauty.

Among different tasks that have been given to the Pontifical Council for Culture, some are related to the collaboration with different cultural and scientific institutions. Those tasks are the following:

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