Robert Lanza, MD
Chief Scientific Officer of Advanced Cell Technology
Who is Robert Lanza
Robert Lanza, M. D. is considered one of the leading scientists in the world. He is currently Chief Scientific Officer at Advanced Cell Technology, and Adjunct Professor at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. He has hundreds of publications and inventions, and over 20 scientific books: among them, “Principles of Tissue Engineering,” which is recognized as the definitive reference in the field. Others include One World: The Health & Survival of the Human Species in the 21st Century (Foreword by former President and Nobel laureate Jimmy Carter), and the “Handbook of Stem Cells” and “Essentials of Stem Cell Biology,” which are considered the definitive references in stem cell research.
Dr. Lanza received his BA and MD degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, where he was both a University Scholar and Benjamin Franklin Scholar. He was also a Fulbright Scholar, and was part of the team that cloned the world’s first human embryo for the purpose of generating embryonic stem cells. In 2001 he was also the first to clone an endangered species (a Gaur), and in 2003, he cloned an endangered wild ox (a Banteng) from the frozen skin cells of an animal that had died at the San Diego Zoo nearly a quarter-of-a-century earlier. Lanza and his colleagues were also the first to demonstrate that nuclear transplantation could be used to reverse the aging process and to generate immune-compatible tissues, including the first organ tissue-engineered from cloned cells.
One of his most recent successes was showing that it is feasible to generate functional oxygen-carrying red blood cells from human embryonic stem (hES) cells. The blood cells were comparable to normal transfusable blood and could serve as a potentially inexhaustible source of “universal” blood. Dr. Lanza has also succeeded in getting stem cells to grow into retinal cells. Using this technology some forms of blindness may be curable. His team also discovered how to generate functional hemangioblasts – a population of “ambulance” cells- from hES cells. In animals, these cells quickly repaired vascular damage, cutting the death rate after a heart attack in half and restoring the blood flow to ischemic limbs that might otherwise have to be amputated. Recently, Lanza and a team lead by Kwang-Soo Kim at Harvard University reported a safe method for generating induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. Human iPS cells were created from skin cells by direct delivery of proteins, thus eliminating the harmful risks associated with genetic manipulation. This new method provides a potentially safe source of patient-specific stem cells for translation into the clinic. However, one of his greatest early achievements came from his demonstration that techniques used in preimplantation genetic diagnosis could be used to generate hES cells without embryonic destruction.
Dr. Lanza has received numerous awards, including a Rave Award for medicine, and an “All Star” award for biotechnology. Lanza has been called the “Bill Gates of Science. He believes that stem cell technology will have a substantial importance in the future of medicine. According to Discover magazine, “Lanza’s single-minded quest to usher in this new age has paid dividends in scientific insights and groundbreaking discoveries.” Dr. Lanza and his research have been featured in almost every media outlet in the world, including CNN, TIME, Newsweek, People, as well as the front pages of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, among others. Lanza has worked with some of the greatest thinkers of our time, including Nobel laureates Gerald Edelman and Rodney Porter, renowned Harvard psychologist B.F. Skinner (the “Father of modern behaviorism”), Jonas Salk (discoverer of the Polio vaccine), and heart transplant pioneer Christiaan Barnard. His current research and work at Advanced Cell Technology focuses on stem cells and regenerative medicine and their potential to provide therapies for some of the world’s most deadly and debilitating conditions.
In 2007, Lanza published a feature article, “A New Theory of the Universe” in The American Scholar, a leading intellectual journal which has previously published works by Albert Einstein, Margaret Mead, and Carl Sagan, among others. His theory places biology above the other sciences in an attempt to solve one of nature’s biggest puzzles, the theory of everything that other disciplines have been pursuing for the last century. Nobel laureate E. Donnall Thomas stated “Any short statement does not do justice to such a scholarly work. The work is a scholarly consideration of science and philosophy that brings biology into the central role in unifying the whole.” This new view has become known as Biocentrism. In biocentrism, space and time are forms of animal sense perception, rather than external physical objects. Understanding this more fully yields answers to several major puzzles of mainstream science, and offers a new way of understanding everything from the microworld (for instance, the reason for Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle and the double-slit experiment) to the forces, constants, and laws that shape the universe.
“Robert Lanza is the living embodiment of the character played by Matt Damon in the movie “Good Will Hunting.” Growing up underprivileged in Stoughton, Mass., south of Boston, the young preteen caught the attention of Harvard Medical School researchers when he showed up on the university steps having successfully altered the genetics of chickens in his basement. Over the next decade, he was “discovered’ and taken under the wing of scientific giants such as psychologist B.F. Skinner, immunologist Jonas Salk, and heart transplant pioneer Christiaan Barnard. His mentors described him as a “genius,” a “renegade thinker,” even likening him to Einstein.” - U.S.News & World Report, cover story
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