Explore UAB

Written by Christina Crowe
The Fifth Annual NIH Progenitor Cell Translation Consortium (PCTC) conference, hosted virtually by the UAB Department of Biomedical Engineering September 29-30, was a success. The event featured keynote speakers Eric Olson, Ph.D., Scientific Advisory Board Chairman of Cardurion and the founding chair of the Department of Molecular Biology at UT Southwestern Medical Center, on “Gene Therapy for Muscular Dystrophy Syndromes;” and Robert Langer, Sc.D., professor in the MIT Department of Biological Engineering.

The goal of the PCTC, a consortium of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), is to translate advances in progenitor cell biology toward application to heart, lung, and blood diseases.

This collaborative conference, focusing on gene and cell therapy topics, was hosted and organized by Jay Zhang, M.D., Ph.D., chair, UAB Department of Biomedical Engineering; Timothy Kamp, M.D., Ph.D., professor, Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Wisconsin; and Nenad Bursac, Ph.D., professor of Biomedical Engineering, Duke University.

“We are thankful for the opportunity to host this year’s symposium,” Zhang says, “and encouraged by the collaborative spirit of the event, even in this completely virtual format.”

Several of the group’s participants authored an article updating recent preclinical and clinical trials using cell, cell products and gene editing strategies and engineered heart tissues for the treatment of postinfarction left ventricular remodeling and heart failure, titled, “Cardiac Repair and Regeneration: From Basic Science Research to Clinical Translation.”  It was published  recently in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology as a state-of-the-art review.

The group’s next meeting is the Cardiovascular Bioengineering (CVBE) Symposium, taking place June 9-11, 2022, at the German Center for Cardiovascular Science in Gottingen, Germany (registration is free but required; details to come). Trainees travel awards are provided by the NIH.  The event is postponed from spring of 2020 due the pandemic. The conference is co-organized and hosted by Zhang and by Wolfram Zimmermann, M.D., Ph.D, Director, Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University Medical Center Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany.