Stanford stem cell expert Weissman visits TMU for lecture and briefings

Professor Irving Weissman, director of the Stanford Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, visited TMU to speak about “Normal and Neoplastic Stem Cells: Biology and Clinical Translation.” The presentation drew 177 attendees, including researchers from industry and other universities.

TMU president Chien-Huang Lin [right] together with Prof. Irving Weissman [right]

Prof. Weissman is an internationally renowned stem cell researcher known as the first to successfully isolate hematopoeitic stem cells. He is also a member of the U.S. National Academy of Science, the Institute of Medicine and the American Association for the Advancement of Science with outstanding achievements in the fields of immunology, stem cells, cell therapy and cancer research. This first TMU visit by Prof. Weissman encourages researchers and is significant in the university’s promotion of international academic exchange.

During Prof. Irving Weissman’s presentation

During Prof. Irving Weissman’s presentation

Prof. Weissman shared his experiences isolating hematopoietic stem cells and discussed their uses after purification in fighting autoimmune diseases and cancer. He talked about stem cell characteristics and organization in hematopoiesis that his group found, as well as his work in recent years which extended this knowledge on hematopoietic cells to leukemia by proposing a pre-leukemic stem cell theory. 

Prof. Weissman’s group also is investigating how cancer cells use CD47 to avoid the immune system, and he shared some results on combining CD47 antagonists with other existing anti-cancer monoclonal antibody targets to eliminate tumor cells. He concluded by advocating the extension of hematopoietic cell discoveries to stem cells of the central nervous system to develop treatments for spinal injuries.

Prof. Irving Weissman with faculty and students attending the roundtable discussion

After the talk, Prof. Weissman held an academic roundtable discussion with students. Prof. Rita Yen-Hua Huang, director of TMU’s cell therapy and regenerative medicine research center, gave a brief report on the center’s research results and her strategies and progress using stem-cell related research and clinical experiments at TMU.

Prof. Weissman used regenerative medicine as the theme for this academic exchange, encouraging scientists and young researchers to hold on to their love for science. The insights and experience he shared broadened the international perspectives of TMU faculty and students.

TMU President Chien-Huang Lin (holding document) and Prof. Irving Weissman with TMU experts