360 Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine Newsletter- April 30, 2015

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360 Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine Newsletter - April 30, 2015

Featured Video: Diana Farmer on her latest spina bifida study

Fetal surgeon Diana Farmer discusses the breakthrough testing of placental stem cells as a treatment for the paralysis associated with spina bifida.

World Stem Cell Summit

UC Davis: Prenatal Stem Cell Treatment Improves Mobility Issues Caused by Spina Bifida
“The lower-limb paralysis associated with spina bifida may be effectively treated before birth by combining a unique stem cell therapy with surgery, new research from UC Davis Health System has found. The study, conducted in an animal model, was led by Diana Farmer, the fetal surgeon who helped pioneer in utero treatment for spina bifida — a congenital birth defect that occurs when the spinal cord does not close properly, leading to lifelong cognitive, urological, musculoskeletal and motor disabilities. Farmer’s chief collaborator was Aijun Wang, co-director of the UC Davis Surgical Bioengineering Laboratory. “ The research was published online in the official journal of the Regenerative Medicine Foundation, Stem Cells Translational Medicine.

Mayo Clinic

GEN: NIH Declares It Will Not Fund Studies of Gene Editing in Human Embryos
“Just eleven days after a study appeared describing the use of gene-editing in human embryos, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) issued a firm response: Work of this sort will not receive NIH funds.” The rationale for the decision and legal underpinnings of the announcement are set forth in a statement by NIH director, Dr. Francis Collins published April 29. To read the full statement, click here.
360 comment: Rest assured the Dickey-Wicker Amendment is still alive and well.

Wake Forest

Dr. Rudolf Jaenisch Honored- Scientist who Established Basis of iPS Cells Receives 20th Anniversary March of Dimes Prize in Developmental Biology
“Rudolf Jaenisch, MD, who laid the groundwork for the development and use of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells – stem cells derived directly from adult tissue -- to potentially treat and cure a variety of human diseases, has received the 20th anniversary March of Dimes Prize in Developmental Biology. Dr. Jaenisch is a founding member of the prestigious Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and a professor of biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston. His earliest breakthrough was the co-development of the first transgenic animals in the 1980s, when he worked with Beatrice Mintz, MD, a co-recipient of the first-ever March of Dimes Prize.”

360 Editor’s comment: Dr. Jaenisch is a recipient of the Lasker Award and the National Medal of Science. A major leader in the field of stem cell research, he serves as president of the International Society for Stem Cell Research. Along with Dr. Ian Wilmut, Rudolf became a founding member of the Science Advisory Board of Genetics Policy Institute (GPI,) the publisher of this newsletter. He is a brilliant, brilliant scientist and we congratulate him on receiving this notable honor from the March of Dimes, arguably the most successful patient advocacy movement of our age!


Harvard Gazette: Promising Stem Cell Therapy- Animal Model of Breast-to-Brain Cancer Spread Allows Testing of Therapeutic Cell Approach
Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) have developed an “imageable” mouse model of brain-metastatic breast cancer and shown the potential of a stem cell-based therapy to eliminate metastatic cells from the brain and prolong survival. The study, published online in the journal Brain, also describes a strategy for preventing the potential negative consequences of stem cell therapy.


Insight: UK Biotech Can Match the US – If We End the Investment Valley of Death
In an interesting opinion piece published in City A.M., the CEO and Founder of Precious Cells, Dr. Husein K. Salem, offered up a comparison of the UK and US approach to funding the treacherous biotech “valley of death” for start-ups. According to Dr. Husein, “A number of government-led initiatives have helped. These include Innovate UK, the new incarnation of the Technology Strategy Board, and other non-dilutive funding options, ranging from grants to funding from research councils and some charities. Other initiatives that could be considered include increasing the availability of loan guarantees for biotech companies, and perhaps introducing preferential tax treatment for profits from such investments if they are held for a reasonable period. Biotech and life sciences firms should also make more use of alternative finance routes, such as crowdfunding. Earlier this month, a Welsh biotech company founded by a Nobel laureate claimed a UK record for crowdfunding in the life sciences sector.”


Phys.Org: Dead Feeder Cells Support Stem Cell Growth
According to this report, the world of feeder cells is turned upside down. How can this be? “Stem cells naturally cling to feeder cells as they grow in petri dishes. Scientists have thought for years that this attachment occurs because feeder cells serve as a support system, providing stems cells with essential nutrients. But a new study that successfully grew stem cells with dead, or fixed, feeder cells suggests otherwise. The discovery, described in the Journal of Materials Chemistry B, challenges the theory that feeder cells provide nutrients to growing stem cells. It also means that the relationship between the two cells is superficial.”

According to Binata Joddar, Ph.D., a biomedical engineer at The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), "We've proved an important phenomenon," said Joddar, who runs UTEP's Inspired Materials and Stem-Cell Based Tissue Engineering Lab. "And it suggests that these feeder cells, which are difficult to grow, may not be important at all for stem cell growth."


StemCells, Inc. Announces Closing of $25 Million Public Offering
The iconic stem cell company, StemCells, Inc. (Nasdaq:STEM) closed its previously announced offering of common stock and warrants.

MNT: Mitochondria's Other Job is to Control Stem Cell Development
“In a remarkable discovery, scientists show that blocking the action of a key enzyme in mitochondria stops stem cells from developing into egg cells in fruit flies. In the new study, published in Nature Cell Biology, a team led by researchers from NYU Langone Medical Center, NY, shows that mitochondria's role in the development of stem cells is entirely distinct from that of producing energy for cell metabolism. In their traditional role, mitochondria provide cells with units of energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). The chemical reaction that produces ATP relies on an important enzyme called ATP synthase enzyme.”


CIRM Blog: Scientists Sink their Teeth into Stem Cell Evolution
“As reported in the most recent issue of the journal Cell Reports, researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and the University of Helsinki describe how studying fossilized rodent teeth has helped them inch closer to grasping the origins of a particular type of stem cell.”

BioBridge Global Highlights Transformative Year in 2014 Annual Report
BioBridge Global (BBG), a San Antonio, Texas-based nonprofit organization focused on regenerative medicine, blood resource management and biologic testing, released of its 2014 Annual Report. The report details a transformative year for BBG, including a name change, implementation of comprehensive strategic plans for each business unit and expansion of services for the health care industry, all with the aim of continuing its longtime mission of saving and enhancing lives around the world. BBG was one of the prestigious co-organizers of the 2014 World Stem Cell Summit.

360 Newsletter Editor

Bernard Siegel
Executive Director
Genetics Policy Institute

Stem Cells and the Transformative Power of Hope-a TEDx talk by Bernard Siegel, Editor of 360 Newsletter

About GPI

The nonprofit Genetics Policy Institute (GPI) seeks to establish a positive policy, regulatory and societal framework to enable research to flourish, under the highest ethical and medical standards. We seek to accelerate the discovery and development of lifesaving cures and therapies to alleviate human suffering due to chronic and terminal afflictions. Visit Website.

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Genetics Policy Institute (GPI) and the Regenerative Medicine Foundation (RMF) Announce Merger Plan

Domain: Medical
Category: Biology

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