360 Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine Newsletter - February 16, 2016

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360 Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine Newsletter - Feb. 16, 2016

Featured video “A New Solution” from Johns Hopkins University:

ARS Technica: With a Few Skin Cells, Johns Hopkins University Scientists Can Make Mini, “Thinking” Version of Your Brain
“Mini-brains” grown in the lab dishes from human skin cells are starting to use a “primitive type of thinking.” But before you worry that they are plotting an escape, be reassured that there is “no input or output” according to Professor Thomas Hartung of Johns Hopkins University. The research is aimed at growing hundreds of uniform brain cultures to study the effect of drugs and the function of human brain cells impacting neurological disorders. Read article.

World Stem Cell Summit

Los Angeles Times: California Stem Cell Agency May Fund Tests to Edit Genes in Human Embryos
Will CIRM follow the UK in setting ethical norms to allow editing of genes of human embryos? The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine is reviewing its ethics guidelines relating to the 3-year-old CRISPR technology that allows for the genomes of all living things to be spliced and revised. “In medicine, scientists say it has the potential to help cure devastating hereditary disorders such as Huntington's disease. But it has also set off widespread alarm about the possibility that scientists could use it to genetically modify children and change the human race.” Read article.


Retraction Watch: Karolinska Vice-Chancellor Resigns Following Criticism of Macchiarini Investigation
This increasingly lurid scandal takes down another prominent figure. The subject article provides a link to a timeline. Read article.


Gizmodo: WFIRM Scientists Just 3D Printed a Transplantable Human Ear
“After nearly 10 years in development, a research team led by Anthony Atala from Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine has unveiled the Integrated Tissue and Organ Printing System (ITOP). Once refined and proven safe in humans, these 3D bioprinted structures could be used to replace injured, missing, or diseased tissue in patients. And because they’re designed in a computer, these replacement parts will be made to order to meet the unique needs of each patient. The research was funded by the Armed Forces Institute for Regenerative Medicine. The details of this breakthrough were published in Nature Biotechnology.” Read article.


News Medical: UAB Research Reveals Heterogonous Population of Leukemia Stem Cells
University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers have found a marker on blood cells that may help the most pressing problem in chronic myelogenous leukemia, or CML, that is an inability to get patients off treatment. Renowned researcher Ravi Bhatia, M.D leads the work. Since 2014, he serves as the division director of hematology and oncology in the UAB Department of Medicine, and deputy director of the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center. Read article.


UCLA Newsroom: Stem Cell Gene Therapy Could Be Key to Treating Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy
“Scientists at the UCLA Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research and Center for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy at UCLA have developed a new approach that could eventually be used to treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The stem cell gene therapy could be applicable for 60 percent of people with Duchenne, which affects approximately 1 in 5,000 boys in the U.S. and is the most common fatal childhood genetic disease. The approach utilizes CRISPR to correct genetic mutations that cause the disease.” The study was published in the journal Cell Stem Cell. Read media release.

Vanderbilt University: Cotton Candy Machines May Hold Key for Making Artificial Organs
“Cotton candy machines may hold the key for making life-sized artificial livers, kidneys, bones and other essential organs. For several years, Leon Bellan, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Vanderbilt University, has been tinkering with cotton candy machines, getting them to spin out networks of tiny threads comparable in size, density and complexity to the patterns formed by capillaries - the tiny, thin-walled vessels that deliver oxygen and nutrients to cells and carry away waste. His goal has been to make fiber networks that can be used as templates to produce the capillary systems required to create full-scale artificial organs. In an article published by the Advanced Healthcare Materials journal, the researchers report that they have succeeded in using this unorthodox technique to produce a three-dimensional artificial capillary system that can keep living cells viable and functional for more than a week, which is a dramatic improvement over current methods.” Read media release.

Houston Methodist: Using Umbilical Cord Blood to Speed Stroke Recovery
A new study will evaluate the use of whole umbilical cord blood to help the brain heal quicker after an ischemic stroke. According to Dr. John J. Volpe, “The primitive cells found in whole umbilical cord blood can help reduce swelling in the brain faster and rescue some brain cells that are on the brink of death.” Read media release.


The Sacramento Bee: From Pets to People? UC Davis Vets’ Stem Cell Work Gives Humans Hope
We all love our pets. My own faithful feline pal was Oreo, a black and white “tuxedo” who for many years sat on my office windowsill staring at the street- before he peacefully crossed the proverbial “Rainbow Bridge” at age 19! The subject article introduces readers to “Morris”, an edentulous kitty who is afflicted with a painful and chronic disease of his gums. Morris and about 20 other cats are undergoing stem cell therapy with promising results. The FDA oversees the clinical trial with implications for human disease. Read article.

360 Newsletter Editor

Bernard Siegel
Executive Director
Genetics Policy Institute

Bernard Siegel's TedX talk "Stem Cells and the Transformative Power of Hope"

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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Domain: Medical
Category: Biology

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