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Important Harvard Symposium to Focus on Future of Stem Cell Research

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Howard Green, a founding father of regenerative medicine and the George Higginson Professor of Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School, will receive the 2010 Warren Alpert Foundation Prize for developing methodologies leading directly to permanent skin restoration therapy which is saving the lives of thousands of burn patients around the world.

Building on the significance of Dr. Green’s pioneering work, and the burgeoning field of regenerative medicine, an important symposium will be held at Harvard Medical School in association with the prize. The symposium, Exploring Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, will take place on the afternoon of September 27 and will feature prominent stem cell researchers including David T. Scadden, MD; Elaine Fuchs, PhD; George Q. Daley, MD, PhD; and Konrad Hochedlinger, PhD; in addition to Dr. Green. The symposium will be followed by a dinner and prize presentation that evening.

The Warren Alpert Foundation Prize recognizes researchers for laboratory discoveries that have been translated into patient therapies or for findings with real potential to improve human health. Green’s work embodies the spirit of the prize: He developed the first therapeutic use of cells grown in the lab. Before stem cells gained fame, Green cultivated them to generate skin grafts for burn patients.

As an Alpert Prize recipient, Green joins an elite international group of researchers, seven of whom have also won the Nobel Prize. Four of the recipients (Harald zur Hausen, Luc Montagnier, J. Robin Warren and Barry J. Marshall) received the Alpert Prize first and the Nobel thereafter.

The esteemed Warren Alpert Foundation Prize, which recently increased its grant award to $200,000, has a unique history. Warren Alpert first established the prize in 1987 after reading that Kenneth Murray of the University of Edinburgh had developed a successful vaccine for hepatitis B.

Alpert decided immediately that he would like to reward such far-reaching breakthroughs, so he called Murray to tell him he had won a prize, and then set about creating the foundation. The prize was formally established under the leadership of Dr. Daniel Tosteson, who was the Dean of Harvard Medical School at the time.