360 Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine Newsletter- March 19, 2015

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360 Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine Newsletter - March 19, 2015

Featured Video : RegMed & Cell Therapy- Multi-Billion Dollar Industries with Unlimited Potential

The RegMed Capital Conference at the 2014 World Stem Cell Summit presented a succinct overview of the industrialization of regenerative medicine and cell therapies’ promises and obstacles. Anyone interested the trajectory or the field should find this informative panel discussion of value. Featured are Gregory A. Bonfiglio, Proteus Venture Partners; Jane C. Andrews, PhD, Frost & Sullivan and Chris Mason, MBBS, PhD, FRCS, University College London

READ NOW: The Official Journal- The 2014 World Stem Cell Report

MIT Technology Review: Industry Body Calls for Gene-Editing Moratorium
The big news is that officials of the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine (ARM) have called for a voluntary moratorium on using new DNA-editing techniques to change the genetic characteristics of human embryos in laboratory research. Antonio Regalado of the Technology Review wrote an article relating to the announcement. Both Dr. George Church and myself are quoted.

The article was prompted by an editorial published by the journal Nature. Edward Lanphier, CEO of the biotechnology company Sangamo Biosciences and ARM Chairman, along with four colleagues, stated that scientists should agree not to modify the DNA of human reproductive cells because it raises safety and ethical risks including the danger of “unpredictable effects on future generations.” Read full Nature Comment here.

Gene editing researcher, Dr. George Church, was also interviewed about this by Dr. Paul Knoepfler. Read the interview here.

As if on cue this week, Time magazine featured a viewpoint piece by Dr. Guy Ringler titled Get Ready for Embryos From Two Men or Two Women.

Editor’s commentary: Why does a discussion in the media about germline modification and two men or two women embryos even matter? Is it mere handwringing by moral philosophers? I think not.

The advancement of gene editing technologies is fueling a large societal discussion relating to the ethical boundaries for all advanced therapies. These “sledgehammer” topics are more than just esoteric musings. The debate spotlights cultural and societal fault lines, as humankind deals with the onrush of technological change and convergence. These headlines arising from the debate will impact future research in the life sciences and even the market caps of the biotechnology companies.

Alvin Toffler wrote in the 1970 classic bestseller “Future Shock” concerning the accelerated changes and our ability to cope. “Now imagine not merely an individual but an entire generation- including its weakest, least intelligent, and most irrational members- suddenly transported into this new world. The result is mass disorientation, future shock on a grand scale. This is the prospect man now faces. Change is avalanching on our heads and most people are profoundly unprepared to cope with it.”

New legal boundaries will be drawn impacting scientific research. There must be thoughtful public debate. Unreasonable restrictions on research and funding may set back the delivery of effective treatments for chronic disease for decades. However, unrestrained “scientism” is not the answer. The lessons of 20th century eugenics cannot be forgotten. How will the breakthroughs with advanced technologies deliver benefit to all populations, regardless of wealth and geography? The voice of the
fully informed patient community needs to be heard.


The Alliance for Regenerative Medicine Enters into Memorandum of Understanding with Japan's Forum for Innovative Regenerative Medicine
The Alliance for Regenerative Medicine (ARM) entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Japan's Forum for Innovative Regenerative Medicine (FIRM). According to the terms of the MOU, “ARM and FIRM will be granted reciprocal, non-voting membership in the other's organization and will be responsible for reporting on pertinent regulatory trends. The organizations will also have the opportunity to participate in the other's events and conferences as presenters and panelists, and will have an observation role in the other's board and membership.”

World Stem Cell Summit

Agri Life Today (Texas A&M): Stem Cells Help Researchers Peg Rabies Resistance
Using murine embryonic stem cells, Researchers at Texas A&M AgriLife Research have developed a new technology to determine sensitivity or resistance to rabies virus.

Rice University: Designing a Better Way to Study Stomach Flu- Texas Medical Center Team Aims to Improve Research of Gastrointestinal Disease
Rice University bioengineers teamed up with colleagues from Baylor College of Medicine and MD Anderson Cancer Center to apply the latest techniques in tissue engineering toward the study of one of the most common and deadly human illnesses — the stomach flu.

Wake Forest

University of Pittsburgh: Rebooting Cell Programming Can Reverse Liver Failure
“It might be possible to heal cirrhotic liver disease by rebooting the genes that control liver cell function, according to researchers at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. If validated in human studies, the game-changing strategy, described today in the online version of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, could potentially treat patients who are too sick for liver transplantation and, in the future, reduce the need for transplants.”

Mayo Clinic

Cellerant Announces Dosing of First Patient in Randomized Phase 2 Clinical Trial of CLT-008 in Acute Myeloid Leukemia Patients
According to a company media release, Cellerant Therapeutics Inc., a biotechnology company developing novel hematopoietic (blood forming) stem cell-based cellular and antibody therapies for blood disorders and cancer, announced that “patient dosing has commenced in its multi-center, open-label, randomized controlled Phase 2 clinical trial of CLT-008, a first-in-class, allogeneic, cellular therapy, in de novo acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients receiving induction chemotherapy.”


The Japan Times: Riken Won’t Pursue Criminal Charges Against Obokata Over STAP Cell Scandal
Riken has decided not to file a criminal complaint against Haruko Obokata, a former researcher at the government-affiliated research institute, over the high-profile STAP cell research scandal.


Science Daily: A Single-Cell Breakthrough: Newly Developed Technology Dissects Properties of Single Stem Cells
Researchers at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine” figured out a way to isolate and grow thousands elusive intestinal stem cells at one time, a high throughput technological advance that could give scientists the ability to study stem cell biology gastrointestinal disorders like never before.”

Miami Today: UM Stem Cell Research on Heart May Go National
“University of Miami stem cell research on generating healthy heart tissue in heart attack survivors is on track to be tested across the US. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, part of federal medical research arm the National Institutes of Health, is to fund the $8 million cost if the trial wins necessary approvals. The trial, the first of this research in humans, is a step toward restoring full heart function in heart attack survivors.”


Fox Sports (Just a bit Outside)- Q&A: Mat Latos Opens Up on Stem Cell Surgery
Sports update. Close to headquarters of the Genetics Policy Institute is the Jupiter, Florida Spring training home of the Major League Baseball team, the Miami Marlins. Probable starting pitcher, Mat Latos, opened to Fox Sports a bit about his off-season special “treatment”.

Q: Did you do anything different in your training regimen this off-season?

A: I had them dig into my hip bone and put stem cells in my right elbow. That was right after the season. I had to take two months off. Then I was ready to go, throwing, running, doing all my stuff.

What do you think of professional athletes availing themselves of “stem cell” treatments? Readers of the 360 newsletter, please email your comments to Bernard@genpol.org.

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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Domain: Medical
Category: Biology

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