360 Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine Newsletter- December 03, 2015

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360 Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine Newsletter - Dec 03, 2015

Featured video from Genetics Policy Institute:

In anticipation of the next week’s World Stem Cell Summit we present our 2014 video.

World Stem Cell Summit

MIT Technology Review: Patients Favor Changing the Genes of the Next Generation with CRISPR- To people facing a devastating inherited disease, engineering humanity sounds like a good thing
“This week in Washington, D.C., hundreds of scientists and ethicists are meeting at the National Academies of Science to debate whether society should sanction or prohibit “germ-line engineering,” or altering the DNA of sperm, eggs, or embryos to correct genetic defects before children are born. It’s a controversial idea, but now easier than ever to do because of a powerful technology called CRISPR. Many experts at the meeting seem to be leaning toward endorsing an indefinite moratorium on any effort to create gene-modified babies, calling the technology too new, too unsafe, and having too few medical uses, a position that has been endorsed by the Obama administration. But when MIT Technology Review reached out to several families who’ve dealt with devastating genetic illnesses, all said they approved of using the technology as quickly as possible. That could create a potential clash between desperate families and cautious scientists and politicians.” 360 Editor’s Comment: Inexplicably, the organizers of the Washington meeting failed to invite a broad cross-section of the patient community that might directly benefit from the gene-editing technology. The scientists and policymakers have dropped the ball on this. All voices should be fully engaged in this public policy discussion. Where were the voices from the Tay Sachs and Huntington’s communities at the NAS meeting?

Chart MVE

MIT Technology Review: How to (Really) Engineer a Human Baby-A global meeting in Washington, D.C., isn’t just about whether or not we should alter our species with CRISPR. It’s about how we can pull it off.
Journalist Antonio Regalado courts some controversy with this article relating to the NAS meeting on human engineering and CRISPR. He writes, “the world’s experts on a powerful new genetic-engineering technology called CRISPR will convene at the National Academy of Sciences for a historic meeting at which they’ll consider calling for a global moratorium on anyone trying to use the technique to make genetically modified babies. The worry is that changing the DNA of the next generation is unsafe and a slippery slope toward eugenics. Yet many of the scientists attending the Washington meeting won’t be there to ban the technology, but to trade tips about how, exactly, they might be able to do it right.”


UPDATE: World Stem Cell Summit & RegMed capital Conference

One week to the single meeting that unites the global stem cell & regenerative medicine communities. There are many new additions to the program- influential leaders and compelling discussions. Summit organizing partners include Mayo Clinic, Kyoto University Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences, New York Stem Cell Foundation, Georgia center for Regenerative Engineering & Medicine (Georgia Tech, Emory University and University of Georgia), BioBridge Global and Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine. The Summit is produced by the Genetics Policy Institute & Regenerative Medicine Foundation.

Register today! See speakers. See agenda. See Sponsors.

Biological Industries

The Column Group Invests $23.5 Million Funding in Neurona Therapeutics
According to a company press release, “Neurona Therapeutics Inc., a biotechnology company focused on the transplantation of selected neurons to treat intractable neurological diseases, was launched with a $23.5 million Series A financing led by The Column Group. Unlike more traditional therapeutic modalities such as small molecules or antibodies, Neurona is focused on unique compositions of cells that can be precisely targeted, integrated into damaged neural circuits, and provide activity-dependent regulation. Neurona’s founders have discovered that certain types of neuron transplants can rebalance nervous system activity, repair neural circuits, and rescue multiple animal models of disease. Neurona will utilize human stem cell derivatives for the treatment of diseases caused by dysregulated neural activity.”


RegMed Capital Conference Brings Global Investors Together with Industry Leaders and Entrepreneurs to Finance Cures – Atlanta-Dec. 10-12
Company presentations showcase new developments and clinical trial results to the investor community. The RegMEd Capital Conference at the World Stem Cell Summit introduces executives to a qualified audience of investment bankers, venture capitalists and angel capital investors. RMCC is fully integrated into the World Stem Cell Summit platform, providing attendees a complete 360-degree view of the Regenerative Medicine industry, stem cell science, clinical trials and regulation along with investment opportunities for companies targeting cures. Designed to build relationships and collaboration, the conference includes a sophisticated on-site partnering forum powered by JuJama. This custom mobile app allows attendees to identify people they want to meet, ask for a meeting and have it automatically fit into their schedules at the conference.

Bridge to life

China 'Clone Factory' Scientist Eyes Human Replication
AFP reporter Rebecca Davis filed this story out of Beijing. “The Chinese scientist behind the world's biggest cloning factory has technology advanced enough to replicate humans, he told AFP, and is only holding off for fear of the public reaction. Boyalife Group and its partners are building the giant plant in the northern Chinese port of Tianjin, where it is due to go into production within the next seven months and aims for an output of one million cloned cows a year by 2020. But cattle are only the beginning of chief executive Xu Xiaochun's ambitions. In the factory pipeline are also thoroughbred racehorses, as well as pet and police dogs, specialized in searching and sniffing. Boyalife is already working with its South Korean partner Sooam and the Chinese Academy of Sciences to improve primate cloning capacity to create better test animals for disease research. And it is a short biological step from monkeys to humans -- potentially raising a host of moral and ethical controversies. 360 Editor’s comment: Take note that the chief scientist behind Sooam is Woo Suk Hwang. A headline like the one above portends some choppy seas ahead, with negative implications for stem cell researchers and potentially bad public relations for the entire field. Hang on tight in 2016, as we learn more.

Nature: Italian Scientists Slam Selection of Stem Cell Trial- Senate assigns a clinical trial €3 million — but researchers want an open competition.
“Italian politicians have kindled the wrath of some biomedical scientists by hand-picking a stem-cell clinical trial for funding.”


Lab Manager: Biologists Induce Flatworms to Grow Heads and Brains of Other Species
“Biologists at Tufts University have succeeded in inducing one species of flatworm to grow heads and brains characteristic of another species of flatworm without altering genomic sequence. The work reveals physiological circuits as a new kind of epigenetics–information existing outside of genomic sequence–that determines large-scale anatomy. The finding that head shape is not hard-wired by the genome but can be overridden by manipulating electrical synapses in the body suggests that differences in species could be determined in part by the activity of bioelectrical networks. The discovery could help improve understanding of birth defects and regeneration by revealing a new pathway for controlling complex pattern formation. It has long been known that neural networks exploit bioelectric synapses to store and re-write information in the brain. The findings are detailed in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences”


Times Live: Only a Jurassic Park-style Intervention Can Now Save the Northern White Rhino
“San Diego Zoo had the foresight to collect samples in recent years via skin biopsy and post-mortem from 13 individual northern white rhino. In theory, their stem cells could be inserted into eggs and sperm from the remaining northern whites to maximize the genetic diversity of the “re-born” population. Frozen sperm from recently deceased male Angalifu is in storage at San Diego’s Frozen Zoo, but sadly the project remains egg-less as Nola’s eggs, harvested immediately upon her death, proved infertile. The situation is desperate as all three remaining northern white rhino have reproductive concerns.” 360 Editor’s note: Next week at the World Stem Cell Summit there will be featured a panel discussion on the Hot Topics & Future Trends track “Evolution and De-Extinction- the Frozen Zoo and Cloning the Mammoth.” Also at one of the “Conversations with Expert’s” lunch tables Dr. Jeanne Loring’s topic is “Jurassic Park without the scary parts- De-Extinction!”


360 Newsletter Editor

Bernard Siegel
Executive Director
Genetics Policy Institute

2013 World Stem Cell Summit

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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