What would it be like to see the future of regenerative medicine and overhear a story of someone using stem cell therapies to reverse the signs of multiple sclerosis, or regenerate the muscular skeletal system using targeted gene therapies? While it may sound like far off science fiction, the future is upon us.
The second annual Vail Scientific Summit convened in mid-August, bringing together the greatest minds in regenerative medicine and cellular therapies to discuss findings, provide insights, and dive into collaborations with fellow researchers, scientists, and doctors.
“It’s just amazing what is being done here,” said Dr. Marc Philippon, Steadman Philippon Research Institute (SPRI), The Steadman Clinic, and Summit co-chair. “This is a great example of multiple minds being better than one mind.”
As guests mixed and mingled at the Vail Marriott Mountain Resort, there was a palpable excitement in the air. Collaboration is a word not often used openly in science, as everyone holds their work shrouded in secrecy until ready for publication. But, at this particular event, it seemed as though the veil had been lifted as new friends and old colleagues freely expressed interest in each other’s ideas and work.
Dan Drawbaugh, CEO of The Steadman Clinic and SPRI, remarked that the goal for this summit was to encourage new collaborations and to build upon the ones in place.
Dr. Johnny Huard, vice chair for research in the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at McGovern Medical School, chief scientific officer at the Steadman Philippon Research Institute, and Summit co-chair, took to the stage soon after and spoke about his vision. “I dream that we can do science that translates to the clinic. Surgeons and scientists need to work together, to be a team that can make big things happen.”
The following two days showcased speakers from all over the country including some of the top U.S. universities and medical institutions like the Mayo Clinic, Harvard, Northwestern University, the University of Pittsburgh, McGovern Medical School, Carnegie Mellon University and many more. McGovern Medical School speakers included Dr. Christopher Harner, professor of orthopaedic surgery; Dr. Vihang Narkar, assistant professor of metabolic and degenerative diseases; Dr. Yong Li, Dr. Mikhail Kolonin, associate professor of metabolic and degenerative diseases and the Harry E. Bovay, Jr. Distinguished University Chair in Metabolic Disease Research; and Dr. Scott Tashman, professor of orthopaedic surgery. Dr. Walt Lowe, chair of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, was a member of the summit’s organizing committee.
Dr. J. Richard Steadman, the co-chair and founder of SPRI and founder of The Steadman Clinic, and a man who has seen so many changes throughout his illustrious career, remarked on his hopes for the future. “We are not at the end. Getting people together that have different approaches and respect each other and are willing to listen to each other’s approaches, that’s the kind of thing that builds for the future. Pretty soon, we have something good.”