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Breakout 2: Dr. Damien Pearse

Posted by katewillette on April 13, 2008

He’s from the Miami Project . . . while I have a sec, here’s the scene.

We’re moving from classroom to classroom, like in high school–only a lot nicer than any high school I ever went to.  Each one has tables and room for about 40 people, and they’re set up with screens and microphones. Right now a lot of people are hanging out in the hallway, also just like high school . . . I wonder where the cool kids are??  I go out to get some plain hot water because if I have any more caffeine I’ll achieve liftoff.

At least this room has less aggressive air-conditioning . . . the people up front are talking about how we’re going to have a power surge in half an hour or so, which will cause everything to go dark.  Oh boy.  That happened downstairs during the opening remarks

Tricia from CDRPF  is introducing Dr. Pearse . . .saying that it now seems obvious that all these people (and all of us) really are needed–that there will be no magic bullet cure–, and that Chris Reeve himself knew this.

Pearse:  Going to start with an overview re: UMiami School of medicine, where the Miami Project is located.

Shows a slide with a drawing of a damaged cord . . . big red X in the middle.  Yep.  So,how do you form a physical bridge from the healthy to the unhealthy.

(New information: there’s myelin debris . . . I didn’t know this.)

To get axons to grow, we need growth factors.  Yep.

Our neurons lose some of their ability to grow as we age . . . a strategy is to modify them so that they’re more like their younger selves.

Strategies:

1. Protect existing cells

2. Repair damaged cells

3. Retrain existing cells

4. Improve quality of life

5. Conduct clinical trials to improve function

6. Educate the next generation of scientists. (Gotta say, I hope this is really not necessary . . .)

He says that he started out his career trying to manipulate cells to make things like beer and paper; laughter.

Oh yay!  Slide up titled Clinical Trials

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