Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy Hosts 6th Annual Regenerative Medicine Discussion

HOUSTON – (Sept 9, 2022)  Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy hosted its 6th annual stem cell policy event co-sponsored by the Baker Institute Center for Health and Biosciences and the Texas Heart Institute, with support from the George and Mary Josephine Hamman Foundation.

This year’s program entitled Regenerative Medicine: Highlighting and Correcting Misinformation” examined misinformation surrounding stem cell research and regenerative medicine.

Emerson C. Perin, MD, PhD, medical director at the Texas Heart Institute and director of its Center for Clinical Research and Stem Cell Center, moderated the panel of experts, which included Zubin Master, PhD, and  Emily Vraga, PhD.

Dr. Master is a nonresident scholar at the Baker Institute and associate professor of biomedical ethics at the Mayo Clinic’s Biomedical Ethics Research Program and Center for Regenerative Medicine. Dr. Vraga is the Don and Carole Larson Professor in Health Communication at the University of Minnesota.

Kirstin Matthews, PhD, a fellow in science and technology policy at the Baker Institute and co-creator of the series, provided the opening remarks.

“Stem cells have been widely marketed to the public for their regenerative properties and promise to revolutionize medicine, but often with claims far exceeding the known benefits. At best, the procedures are largely ineffective, and at worst, patients are exposed to severe health complications.”

The panel discussed the evolving clinical and promotional landscape of stem cell-based interventions and shared studies on misinformation perpetuated by less reputable providers.  In addition, ways of correcting misinformation, and potential policy approaches to help lead patients to more informed decision-making were explored in depth during the program and question and answer session.

The event honored Dr. James T. Willerson, the former president of Texas Heart Institute and The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. “He was an amazing doctor and cardiologist, a great science advocate, an inspiration to myself as well as many others, and he remained committed to policy issues important to Texas, Houston, and patients around the world until his recent passing,” said Dr. Matthews.