360 Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine Newsletter - March 07, 2016

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360 Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine Newsletter - Mar. 07, 2016

Featured video from the World Stem Cell Summit:

The Power of Gene Editing: Implications for the Future of Medicine
This 55-minute video features a “A-Team” of experts- Steven L. Stice, PhD, Regenerative Bioscience Center at the University of Georgia; Colin Edward Bishop, PhD, Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine; Jan A. Nolta, PhD, UC Davis and Thomas P. Zwaka, MD, PhD, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. The panel discussion took place at the 11th World Stem Cell Summit & RegMed Capital Conference in Atlanta, December 2015.
GIZMODO: Our First Major Breakthrough in Understanding How Zika Virus Attacks the Brain
Science write George Dvorsky published a very readable article on timely research explaining how the Zika virus causes such devastating outcomes. “Scientists strongly suspect a link between Zika and microcephaly, a disorder that causes abnormally small heads in newborns, but they’re not entirely sure. Now, a team of researchers may have figured out how this mosquito-borne virus attacks the developing brains of fetuses—and wow, is it nasty. The latest research, published in Cell Stem Cell, suggests that Zika virus directly targets cells required for brain development, stunting their growth—and often destroying them outright. In particular, the virus is attacking and infecting what are called cortical neural progenitor cells—types of neural stem cells that give rise to the brain’s cerebral cortex (the largest part of the human brain, and the part associated with higher brain function). Cellular growth is disrupted, and the cells often die. But the horror doesn’t stop there; after these cells are exposed to Zika, the virus converts them into highly efficient factories for reproduction.” Read full article.
World Stem Cell Summit
Michigan State Researchers Discover New Type of Stem Cell!
“Scientists at Michigan State University have discovered a new kind of stem cell, one that could lead to advances in regenerative medicine as well as offer new ways to study birth defects and other reproductive problems. In the current issue of the journal Stem Cell Reports, Tony Parenti, lead author and MSU cell and molecular biology graduate student, unearthed the new cells – induced XEN cells, or iXEN – in a cellular trash pile, of sorts.” Read MSU press release.
The New York Family Office Meetings
Miller Launches Insurance Product for Medical Expenses Related to Cord Blood Stem Cell Therapies
What if there was an innovative consumer insurance policy reimbursing cord blood and cell therapies? Availability of such insurance products represents a game changing, risk-solving, financial solution that will become a platform for tremendous acceptance and growth for the field. It is revolutionary. Recently, Miller Insurance Services, a leading broker in the London market, launched a new insurance product to assist with medical expenses related to cord blood stem cell therapies. The new insurance product fills a gap in critical illness insurance by covering medical expenses for insured patients that receive therapies associated with banked umbilical cord blood for specified medical conditions. Miller recognizes the value of AABB accreditation for cord blood banks. Read press release.
Coloradoan: Colorado State University Receives $20M Anonymous Gift for Regenerative Research
“CSU's planned center to study regenerative medicine for horses and humans will break ground later this year, thanks in part to a $20 million donation announced by the university. The donation, from a racehorse breeder who wished to remain unidentified, will be put toward construction of Colorado State University's Institute for Biologic Translational Therapies, announced in late 2014 when cable television magnate John Malone and his wife, Leslie, donated a university record $42.5 million for the project.” Read article.
Fortune: The Obsession With 'Curing' Aging Is Now Big Business- Tech Titans Bankrolling It
Can we cure death? Fortune’s Liz Lorenzetti provides profiles of the tech titans and their investments in the astonishing quest to “cure” aging- an area of research that largely dependent on regenerative medicine. The featured visionaries include Peter Thiel, Bill Maris, Arthur Levinson, David Gobel, Craig Venter and Martine Rothblatt. 360 comment: Sounds like a great idea if one has enormous resources to last an eternity. Maybe not so great if one spends their entire life in grinding poverty. My belief is that the research being funded can provide fruitful outcomes- advancing the field of regenerative medicine and bioengineering. Maybe the “tech titans” won’t extend their journey along the “mortal coil” even a single minute, but their passion could lead to discoveries that alleviate enormous human suffering due to chronic disease. Read article.
STAT: Nancy Reagan- A True Champion of Alzheimer’s Disease and Stem Cell Research
We remember former First Lady Nancy Reagan who passed away on Sunday, March 6. During a JDRF dinner in 2004, she famously said: “Science has presented us with a hope called stem-cell research, which may provide our scientists with many answers that have for so long been beyond our grasp. I don’t see how we can turn our backs on this. There are so many diseases that can be cured or at least helped. We’ve lost so much time already. I can’t bear to lose any more.” Read article.
360 Editor’s comment: About a month after Nancy Reagan’s passionate statement, I was in Berkeley, California speaking to 300 advocates at the First International Stem Cell Action Conference- organized by Genetics Policy Institute (GPI) and the Stem Cell Action Network (SCAN). It was the first national gathering of stem cell grassroots advocates (including patients and their families) and the dawn of a formidable social movement. My talk was interrupted briefly (synchronicity at work!), when I was handed a note at the podium informing me that former President Reagan’s had died. At the end of my talk, I told the audience the sad news and asked those who were able to stand and share moment of silence in memory of the late president. I reminded the assembly of Nancy Reagan’s heroic support of stem cell research, as cited above. In the room were Joe Riggs, PhD, (then a USF undergraduate- founder of the Student Society for Stem Cell Research and now at Harvard working in a stem cell lab), Bob Klein (founder Prop 71), preeminent scientist Dr. Irv Weissman (Stanford), Dan Perry (CAMR), Don Reed, Ray Barglow and Idelle Datloff (original SCANNERs) and many others having prominent advocacy roles.

To read an archival 2004 newspaper account of that very moving moment at the inception of the “pro-cures” stem cell movement,
click here.

360 Newsletter Editor

Bernard Siegel
Executive Director
Genetics Policy Institute

Regenerative Medicine Foundation

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

About GPI

The nonprofit Genetics Policy Institute and Regenerative Medicine Foundation 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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World Stem Cell Summit & Regmed Capital Conference Overview

Domain: Medical
Category: Biology
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