Sanford Health experts present at 2018 Vatican conference

SIOUX FALLS, S.D., Jan. 26, 2019 — Sanford Health physicians and leaders were among the multi-national experts presenting at the Fourth International Vatican Conference in Rome.

The conference, “Unite to Cure: The Fourth International Vatican Conference – How Science, Technology and 21st Century Medicine Will Impact Culture and Society,” brought together leaders in health care, science and research from around the world as part of the Cura Foundation conference, which is held every other year in Rome. This was the second time Sanford Health presented at the invite-only event. Robin Smith, M.D., president of the foundation, also serves on the Sanford International Board.

“We’re thrilled to bring together the world’s best scientists, doctors, ethicists and leaders of faith, business, government and philanthropy to this extraordinary global event at The Vatican,” Smith said. “It’s a Davos for health care, and over the course of three days, we will rally the world around a very simple idea — that tomorrow’s cures are just around the corner, and by uniting together and understanding the challenges that lie ahead, we can speed the delivery of cures and foster great hope for patients all over the world suffering from deadly diseases and dangerous medical conditions.”

Related: Next Vatican conference scheduled for 2021

The biennial event is a collaboration among The Cura Foundation, Stem for Life Foundation, a nonprofit organization devoted to advancing global awareness of regenerative medicine and cell therapy, The Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Culture and its foundation, STOQ (Science, Theology and the Ontological Quest).

‘Look toward the future’

During each conference, experts present on science, ethics, business and philanthropy.

The event discussions are moderated by renowned journalists such as Max Gomez, Ph.D., medical correspondent for CBS News; Sanjay Gupta, M.D., chief medical correspondent for CNN Health and Medical; Mehmet C. Oz, M.D., host of The Dr. Oz Show and professor of surgery at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center; and Meredith Vieira, journalist and talk show host.

The following experts from Sanford Health presented in 2018:

“This event allows us to sit with our colleagues in health and science and look toward the future. What does that look like for our patients, the communities we serve and the world?” Krabbenhoft said. “We know innovation happens every day, and this is one area where we can come together to look at what that really means, on a global scale.”

Sanford Health also attended in 2016, when the organization received the Pontifical Key Innovation Award. The award recognizes game-changing medical innovation exemplified by transformative thinking, creativity and ingenuity used to deliver the highest quality of medical care.

Related: Denny Sanford gets 2018 Pontifical Key Philanthropy Award

Sanford Health adds stem cell trials

Sanford Health leaders and legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus talked about stem cells as medicine at the 2018 Vatican conference.

“The Pharmacy of the Future” was the title of their presentation about how the health system uses stem cells.

Presenters for this panel, moderated by Sanjay Gupta, M.D., included:

“Stem cell procedures are being done at commercial clinics across the U.S. But it’s important for patients to know what treatment they’re getting and what it’s been proven to treat,” Lundeen said. “Clinical trials are the only way for us to understand the science of stem cells in the treatment of injury and disease. We’re fortunate here to have the infrastructure and institutional support to do these trials and find out everything we can so we’re moving forward in smart, therapeutic ways.”

Sanford Health has been aggressive in pursuing research related to adipose-derived stem cells.

“We know the future of medicine is trying to help the body repair itself, and we’re doing everything we can to move in that direction,” said Pearce. “Having FDA approval for these studies — and having so many of them — validates the work we’re doing.”