May 2009 Supplement

Novel Vaccines and Virology

Vaccines have been around a long time — longer than any other biologic medical products. Since the 1700s, when a British doctor inoculated people against smallpox using Variolae vaccinae (cowpox virus), we’ve referred to such immunizing treatments as “vaccines.” Most children in developed countries grow up knowing there will be occasional “vaccinations,” usually injections, required to get into school and stay there (which may or may not seem like a great thing, depending on who you talk to). Similarly, people…

Q&A with Dr. Florian Wurm

In early April, I chatted with the chair of ESACT, Florian Wurm, a professor of biotechnology in the faculty of life sciences of école Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland. As chairman of ESACT, what are your duties? How is the chairperson selected, and how long does he or she serve? How long have you been chair? The ESACT chair is elected from among the members of the executive committee, which are elected by the membership. The executive committee organizes…

Stem Cells and Tissue Engineering

Stem cells are probably the most-discussed — and least understood — potential therapeutics biotechnology offers. Headlines in mainstream media tout their potential benefits and decry their ethical complications. Time magazine featured stem cells on its cover one week in February (1), and an ABC network drama depicted criminals selling stolen cord blood stem cells to the rich and vain as a high-end cosmetic treatment (2). It’s a safe bet that most nonscientists don’t know the difference between embryonic stem cells,…

European Society for Animal Cell Technology 2009 Conference in Dublin, Ireland

    It is a great pleasure for me to express an invitation and welcome message to you for the 21st ESACT Conference in Dublin, Ireland, here in the pages of BioProcess International, one of the most prestigious journals of its kind, “covering the whole development process for the global biotechnology industry.” Ireland is famous for her warmth of heart and poetic spirit, sometimes even brought into conjunction with Irish spirits — uisce beatha, “the water of life” — which…