Top stem cell researchers visit Pasadena for conference

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The three-day World Stem Cell Summit that convened to discuss how to accelerate new therapies and cures wrapped up Wednesday in Pasadena.

Stem cell therapies face many challenges including federal regulations, politics and funding. Still, researchers and doctors are the conference said they're excited about the future.

Summit speaker Grant Albrecht has a rare neurological condition with no known origin and no cure. The condition causes severe spasms throughout his body and affects his ability to walk. He called the summit an essential part of the advancement of stem cell work.

"We come to this summit because it is the essential gathering place for information and also for inspiration," he said. "The collective inspiration at the World Stem cell summit is what really will propel this science forward more than anything else."

Jonathan Thomas is chairman of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, and organization that funds stem cell research at non-profit institutions and companies.

Thomas said years down the line people will look back at stem cell therapies and research and say it was worth it.

"A couple of decades down the road when it’s normal routine procedure they’ll understand that this was absolutely worth it. And the tens of millions of people who have been affected by hopefully by a number of cures that our scientists will achieve will be transformative," he said.

More than a thousand scientists, industry leaders, doctors and patient advocates attended the World Stem Cell Summit.