McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

Lecture — Human stem cells: Units of regeneration, cancer and hope

Published: October 17, 2010
Mick Bhatia
Mick Bhatia, a professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences and scientific director of the McMaster Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute

New technologies and the understanding of human cell biology are advancing rapidly, creating a practicality for the use of human stem cells in tissue regeneration, treatment of cancer, and for drug development in ways that have never been observed. How much is hype versus hope? What can we expect and how soon is now?

Join Dr. Mick Bhatia, Scientific Director, McMaster Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute, Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, for the 2010 McKay-Thode Lecture on Tuesday, October 19, 2010 at 7:30 p.m. in HSC, room 1A1.

Cells represent the organizational units of tissues and organs which make up the human body. Each organ and tissue relies on highly specialized cell types to perform its overall function so that all organisms can thrive. However, each cell has a finite lifespan and must be regenerated to sustain tissue function and the life of the organism.

Stem cells serve as rare and unique cells which have the ability to replace these specialized cell types, and also to make copies of themselves so as not to exhaust the supply.

In the case of disease, tissue damage, and aging this task becomes more difficult under normal conditions in the human.  In other cases of disease such as cancer, cell types uncontrollably make copies of themselves by adopting stem cell characteristics.

Understanding the underlying biology of human stem cells is therefore critical to both enhancing the process of specialized cell production and to controlling cell growth in the case of tumor occurrence. What is exactly known about stem cells and where do they come from? How can we use human stem cells?

The McKay-Thode Lecture is named for two of McMaster's most distinguished scholars, Dr. Alexander McKay and Dr. Henry Thode, both former Presidents of the Royal Society of Canada.

Initiated by Dr. Moran Campbell, founding Chairman of the Department of Medicine, the purpose of the lecture is to stimulate debate among McMaster faculty, staff and students by providing a forum for distinguished faculty to present their work to the University and community at large.

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