|Featured video from CIRM: “Let it Grow” the stem cell musical: |
Through a grant funded by California's Stem Cell Agency high school students across California spent their summer getting hands-on experience doing stem cell research at nine universities. Here is the video “Let It Grow” – starring the high school stem cell researchers at City of Hope.
Editor’s note: Okay, all readers of this newsletter are required watch this 4-minute delight of a video. It is sort of a cross between the TV show “Glee” and a Disney production, as performed by a group of charming teenage stem cell researchers. Do you think they had fun this summer?
|The Guardian: Scientists hail creation of working organ (thymus) made from laboratory cells |
British scientists produce working thymus, a vital immune system “nerve center” located near the heart. Professor Clare Blackburn, from the Medical Research Council (MRC) Centre for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Edinburgh, who led the team of scientists, said: "The ability to grow replacement organs from cells in the lab is one of the 'holy grails' in regenerative medicine. But the size and complexity of lab-grown organs has so far been limited.
"By directly reprogramming cells we've managed to produce an artificial cell type that, when transplanted, can form a fully organized and functional organ. This is an important first step towards the goal of generating a clinically useful artificial thymus in the lab."
|Stem Cells and Development: Conclusive evidence on role of circulating mesenchymal stem cells in organ injury |
According to a media release from the journal Stem Cells and Development, researchers from the Netherlands reported the results of studies to detect MSCs in the blood of healthy individuals, of patients with end-stage renal disease, of patients with end-stage liver disease, and of heart transplant patients with organ rejection. “Whereas they did not find MSCs in the circulation of these individuals, they did report the presence of MSCs in the blood of a patient suffering from severe trauma with multiple fractures. In the trauma patient, the circulating MSCs likely derived from disruption of the bone marrow caused by the fractures.”
According to the journal’s Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Graham Parker, "We can add the simple but elegant work of Martin Hoogduijn to the pantheon of studies in stem cell research that skewer a long treasured tenet of faith and consign it to mythology.”
Editor’s disclosure: GPI’s annual journal World Stem Cell Report is a supplement of Stem Cells and Development and Graham Parker and Bernard Siegel serve as Editors-in-Chief of the Report.
|Salon: The Ice Bucket Challenge’s stem cell controversy- Catholic diocese wants schools to "immediately cease" plans |
The great Ice Bucket Challenge has raised more than $42 million for ALS research, a magnificent success by all measures. However, the fundraising effort has now been caught up the “stem cell wars” with some Catholic leaders decrying the ALS research using human embryonic stem cells. Journalist Mary Elizabeth Williams neatly summarizes the controversy in this piece published in Salon.
|Stem cells in space! NASA selects 26 space biology research proposals for funding |
In a media release, NASA's Space Biology Program reported that it is funding 26 proposals to investigate how microbes, cells, plants and animals respond to changes in gravity. The research will be conducted aboard the International Space Station. The research will help uncover new basic knowledge that other NASA researchers and engineers can use to solve problems confronting human exploration of space or that could lead to new biological tools or applications on Earth. The selected proposals came from 17 institutions in nine states and included 16 principal investigators. When fully implemented, the grants are worth a total of about $12.6 million. Included among the grants are several studies utilizing stem cells.
|FDA Voice (blog): FDA regulatory science aims to facilitate development of safe and effective regenerative medicine products |
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) is making a substantial effort to answer scientific questions relating to the manufacture of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC’s) outside the body, their potential healing properties and safety. CBER assembled seven of its laboratories into a consortium to develop tests and techniques that will help answer these types of questions as these products move through the development process.
|ABC (Australia): Rogue stem cell therapy operators charging thousands for ineffective treatments |
The death of an Australian woman undergoing stem cell therapy in Russia prompted a leading stem cell research group to warn of rogue operators charging thousands of dollars for ineffectual treatments. Beware of “Dr. Google.”
|The Age: Australia Football League (AFL) approves Regeneus stem-cell therapy treatment |
Sydney-based Regeneus revealed it was given permission by the league for its HiQCell treatment on players suffering from such issues as osteoarthritis and tendinopathy. The treatment is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency if it is performance-enhancing but allowed if it is solely to treat injuries.
Regeneus commercial development director Steven Barbera said the regenerative medicine company had sought approval from the AFL for what the company says is "innovative but not experimental" treatment.
A couple of related matters, according to Philly.com the Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Mike Adams will be rehabilitating his shoulder at the Triple A and plans stem cell treatments in the winter for his rotator-cuff injury.
Also, a mother whose daughter ruptured her ACL playing college soccer wrote to Dr. Mehmet Oz (of television fame) asking whether or not stem cell injections were an advisable treatment, given so many professional athletes were getting stem cell treatments? In his syndicated column, Dr. Oz replied, “There’s no solid evidence that injections of stem cells effectively regenerate and repair damaged tendons or ligaments, and you cannot be certain of what the injections contain or their side effects. “
|Stemedica International announces promising pre-clinical data of its Alzheimer’s study |
According to a company news release, Stemedica International is developing stem cell therapies for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. It revealed the first results of an intravenous administration of allogeneic, human, ischemia-tolerant mesenchymal stem cells (itMSCs) in a pre-clinical animal model of Alzheimer’s disease. The results demonstrated a greater than 30-percent decrease in amyloid beta (Abeta) plaques in the brain of transgenic animals treated with the company’s itMSCs compared to the control group that were treated with lactated Ringer’s solution (LRS).
|Irvine Scientific introduces serum-free differentiation media to its cell therapy product line |
According to a company media release, Irvine Scientific, a world leader in the innovation and manufacture of cell culture media, added three new serum-free media for the differentiation of mesenchymal stem/stromal cells into adipogenic, osteogenic, and chondrogenic lineages. “Achieving robust differentiation and cell viability in serum-free media provides researchers the consistency and quality required for clinical studies,” stated Dr. Rebecca Gilbert, R&D Director at Irvine Scientific. “We are committed to leveraging our expertise in media development to support rapid growth of cell therapy research.”
|BioNews Texas: CPRIT grants $7.6 Million award to develop Curtana Pharmaceuticals’ Gliobastoma treatment |
The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) awarded the privately-held, preclinical stage pharmaceutical company Curtana Pharmaceuticals a $7.6 million product development grant for the production of the first targeted small molecule therapeutics for glioblastoma (GBM) and other brain cancers. “Curtana’s OLIG2 inhibitors may become the first adjuvant treatment for nearly all gliomas — including high-grade glioblastomas — that specifically targets cancer stem cells and acts as a potent radio sensitizer.”
|SiliconHills: BioMed SA’s role in San Antonio’s thriving life sciences industry |
The robust biotechnology industry in San Antonio is well represented by BioMed SA. This interview of BioMed SA president Ann Stevens illuminates all the excitement in San Antonio about the life sciences industry and the enthusiasm for the upcoming World Stem Cell Summit, December 2-5. According to Ann Stevens: “Healthcare and bioscience is the city’s leading industry, employing more than one of every six people in the local workforce, with an annual economic impact of $30 billion. It is also one of the target industries in the community’s SA2020 vision and economic development strategic plan. Having a cohesive strategy and cluster organization in place to bring the industry segments together is key.
Research is the fuel that drives the life sciences industry, and in San Antonio it springs from three distinct, yet collaborative, sources: research organizations, private sector companies, and the U.S. military.”