360 Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine Newsletter- August 20, 2015

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360 Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine Newsletter - Aug 20, 2015

Featured Video: iPSC’s for Drug Discovery

Mahendra Rao, PhD, of the New York Stem Cell Foundation and Q Therapeutics, provides superb insights relating to reprogrammed pluripotent stem cells and their use in drug discovery. This hour-long, track keynote address was presented at the World Stem Cell Summit, San Antonio, December 2014.

World Stem Cell Summit

The Ohio State University: Most Complete Human Brain Model to Date is a “Brain Changer”- Once Licensed, Model Likely to Accelerate Study of Alzheimer’s, Autism, More
“Scientists at The Ohio State University have developed a nearly complete human brain in a dish that equals the brain maturity of a 5-week-old fetus. The brain organoid, engineered from adult human skin cells, is the most complete human brain model yet developed. The lab-grown brain, about the size of a pencil eraser, has an identifiable structure and contains 99 percent of the genes present in the human fetal brain. Such a system will enable ethical and more rapid and accurate testing of experimental drugs before the clinical trial stage and advance studies of genetic and environmental causes of central nervous system disorders.”

Fujifilm Shifts Focus to Stem Cells and Ebola Drugs
“Fujifilm agreed to pay $307 million for U.S.- based Cellular Dynamics International Inc., a producer of iPS cells, types of stem cells capable of morphing into any body part. Another Fujifilm unit called Japan Tissue Engineering Co. already has regenerated cartilage and skin products on the market, used by burn victims and others. The hope is that these businesses could someday create cells to help damaged organs like the liver or pancreas grow again.”

Till & McCulloch meetings

The first provisional agenda will be posted on the Summit web site next week! Recently confirmed speakers:

Benjamin ReniReni Benjamin, PhD
Senior Biotechnology Analyst
Raymond James & Associates, Inc.
New York, NY

William K. Decker, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Pathology & Immunology
Baylor College of Medicine
Houston, TX

Sheng Lin-Gibson, PhD
Leader, Biomaterials Group
Deputy Chief, Biosystems and Biomaterials Division
National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST)
Gaithersburg, MD

See all speakers here.

Imperial College London: Getting into the Groove Helps Stem Cells Switch into Heart Muscle Cells
“The researchers from Imperial are the first to show how materials can play an important role in boosting the effect of an 'instructive' gene cocktail, providing an environment that helps switch cardiac stem cells into cardiomyocytes. They reported a two-fold increase in cardiomyocytes, compared to cardiomyocytes developed by the genes on a silicon chip with a flat surface instead.” The study is published in the journal Biomaterials.

Life Interrupted

Stem Cells Derived from Amniotic Membrane Can Benefit Retinal Diseases When Transplanted- Impact on Diabetic Retinopathy & AMD
“A team of researchers in South Korea has successfully transplanted mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) derived from human amniotic membranes of the placenta (AMSCs) into laboratory mice modeled with oxygen-induced retinopathy (a murine model used to mimic eye disease). The treatment aimed at suppressing abnormal angiogenesis (blood vessel growth) that is recognized as the cause of many eye diseases, such as diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration. The researchers reported that the AMSCs successfully migrated to the retinas of the test animals and, because of the growth factors secreted by the cells, were able to suppress retinal neovascularization. Their study will be published in Cell Transplantation.”


Biogen, the ALS Association and Columbia University Medical Center Collaborate to Drive Understanding of Genetic Influence in ALS
“Biogen, the ALS Association and Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) announced a new collaboration to better understand the differences and commonalities in the ALS disease process and how genes influence the clinical features of the disease. The project, ‘Genomic Translation for ALS Clinical care’ (GTAC), will involve a combination of next generation genetic sequencing and detailed clinical phenotyping in 1500 people with ALS. The goal of the project is to provide a basis for the development of precision medicine, or more individually tailored therapies for ALS. An explicit aim of the collaboration is to set the stage for a nationwide effort to ensure the genomic characterization of all patients with ALS.”


Star Tribune: University of Minnesota Regenerative Skin Research Gets Boost from $2.4M Grant
“Ambitions to grow healthy new skin for patients disfigured by burns or diseases received a boost Tuesday with a $2.4 million private grant to University of Minnesota researchers. The new funding is provided from the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation. Minnesota has been a leader internationally over the past half-decade in using bone marrow transplants to treat such rare skin conditions as epidermolysis bullosa — a lack of collagen protein that causes children to have extremely fragile skin.”

San Francisco Business Times: CIRM, California’s Stem Cell Agency Leaves S.F. for Oakland as Rent Skyrockets

Elsevier Launches Open Access Journal Reproductive Biomedicine & Society Online
Reproductive Biomedicine & Society Online is an online-only journal focusing on interdisciplinary discussion and debate of the rapidly expanding field of reproductive biomedicine, particularly all of its many societal and cultural implications. It is intended to bring to attention new research in the social sciences, arts and humanities on human reproduction, new reproductive technologies, and related areas such as human embryonic stem cell derivation. Its audience comprises researchers, clinicians, practitioners, policy makers, academics and patients.”


Planned Parenthood: A Terrified Business Partner Abandons the Organization
360 Editor’s Comment: The patient advocacy community is paying attention how this controversy might negatively impact meritorious research aimed at treating disease and alleviating human suffering. The article above written by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Michael Hiltzik, examines the many sides of the recent videos that have stampeded some lawmakers to file bills that would restrict research on fetal cells. He focuses on the impact on the small California-based company, Stem Express. To take a deeper look at Stem Express, see the company’s website here.

The New England Journal of Medicine: Perspective-Fetal Tissue Fallout
University of Wisconsin law and bioethics professor R. Alta Charo wrote a short article in the New England Journal of Medicine that received favorable notice in the New York Times.

Professor Charo provides some historical context about fetal cell research in the United States and writes that, “Virtually every person in this country has benefited from research using fetal tissue. Every child who’s been spared the risks and misery of chickenpox, rubella, or polio can thank the Nobel Prize recipients and other scientists who used such tissue in research yielding the vaccines that protect us.” The editorial has drawn more than 80 comments, pro and con, that are worthwhile reading.


Timesfreepress.com: Vanderbilt Received $10 Million in Grants for Fetal Tissue Research- Diabetes Focus
Vanderbilt received $10 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health for fetal tissue research in 2011 and 2012, most of which funded a diabetes study that won a national award for its director last year. According to the cited article, Vanderbilt’s laboratories defend their research, saying tissue that would otherwise be thrown out has played a vital role in lifesaving medical advances and holds great potential for further breakthroughs. “Fetal cells are considered ideal because they divide rapidly, adapt to new environments easily and are less susceptible to rejection than adult cells when transplanted.”

The Clinical Leader: The Ethical Dilemma Of Patient-Funded Trials
Ed Miseta, Chief Editor, Clinical Leader wrote a thoughtful piece on the ethics of patient funded clinical trials which has great relevance to the wants and needs of the patient community.

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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