360 Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine Newsletter- May 21, 2015

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360 Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine Newsletter - May 21, 2015

Featured Video from University of Southern California: Take a tour of USC’s stem cell research center
Take a tour of USC’s stem cell research center. “Director Andrew McMahon leads a tour of the Eli and Edythe Broad CIRM Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at USC. Established in 2006 with a gift from Eli and Edythe Broad, and support from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, USC’s stem cell research center hosts world-class scientists who are harnessing the power of stem cell biology to treat neurodegeneration; hearing loss; blood, heart and kidney disease; osteoarthritis and bone fractures; and cancer. USC’s talented researchers rely on the center’s state-of-the-art facilities in imaging; therapeutic screening; flow cytometry; and stem cell isolation, culture and engineering to move discoveries out of the laboratory and into the clinic. The center also serves as the heart of the new Department of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, as well as the USC Stem Cell Initiative, an interdisciplinary, university-wide collaboration that leverages the transformative power of stem cells to develop the therapies of the future.”

World Stem Cell Summit

AAAS Science Insider: Report Finds Paolo Macchiarini Committed Misconduct
“An investigation has concluded that surgeon Paolo Macchiarini, famous for transplanting tissue-engineered tracheae into more than a dozen people, committed scientific misconduct. The Karolinska Institute in Sweden, where Macchiarini is a visiting professor, commissioned the external investigation in response to allegations brought by four researchers at the institute and the affiliated Karolinska University Hospital in Stockholm, where several of the transplants were performed.”

360 Editor’s comment: This is disappointing news. The “messianic” Dr. Macchiarini was a compelling story. He was featured in several worshipful television profiles portraying him as a heroic, controversial, biomedical explorer and “super surgeon.” My organization had him provide a keynote address at the 2012 World Stem Cell Summit. The “silver lining” is that once again the scientific process of “build up-tear down” review revealed the serious flaws in reported research. The heroes of this story will likely be the four very brave whistle-blowers at Karolinska Instituet and the remarkable blog Retraction Watch.

Reuters: U.S. Science Leaders to Tackle Ethics of Gene-Editing Technology
“The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and its Institute of Medicine will convene an international summit this fall where researchers and other experts will explore the scientific, ethical, and policy issues associated with human gene-editing research. It is a step reminiscent of one in 1975, when NAS convened the Asilomar Conference. That led to guidelines and federal regulations of recombinant DNA, the gene-splicing technology that underlay the founding of Genentech and other biotech companies and revolutionized the production of many pharmaceuticals. The NAS committee will, similarly, recommend guidelines for gene-editing technologies.”

Wake Forest

USA Today Special Report: Fetal Stem Cells and the Sports Heroes They Revitalized
In a featured story, USA Today describes additional details regarding the stem cell treatments received by two sports legends, Gordie Howe and John Brodie. Apparently they were treated, in part, with fetal stem cells, a fact not widely broadcast. The record should reflect that “fetal stem cells” are not “embryonic stem cells.” Fetal cells are characterized as “adult stem cells.” The very lengthy article is important, as it appears in the popular press on the sports page. Stem cells and attendant controversies are becoming a daily discussion among sports fans around the world and athletes of all stripes are availing themselves of “treatments.”


The Boston Globe: New Research Challenges Harvard Group’s Theory That Blood From Young Mice Reverses Aging
Well, that’s disappointing. It looks like young mouse blood not secret to vigorous eternal youth after all.
“A few years ago, teams of stem cell researchers began observing a seemingly fantastic phenomenon: The blood of young mice reinvigorated the aging hearts, brains, and muscles of older mice. A team of Harvard Stem Cell Institute researchers first reported the effect in mouse hearts. After the circulatory systems of young and old mice were surgically connected, muscle walls that had thickened over time took on a more youthful look. The researchers traced the roots of the effect to a protein called GDF11, and the suggested that this offered one route toward a treatment for age-related heart failure. Now a new report challenges some of those observations. In a study published in Cell Metabolism, a team including researchers from the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research in Cambridge and the Center for Regenerative Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital propose that a different, related protein called myostatin could also be a factor in the previously observed effect. Also, they report that they failed to see the rejuvenation effect in mouse muscles reported a year ago. Not only were older mice unaffected by the injection of GDF11, an increased dose appeared to hinder the abilities of young mice.”


BBC News: L'Oreal Partners with Organovo to Start 3D-Printing Skin
Could cosmetics be tested on 3D-printed skin in future? French cosmetics firm L'Oreal is teaming up with bio-engineering company Organovo to 3D-print human skin.


Wake Forest: Researchers Make Progress Engineering Digestive System Tissues
“New proof-of-concept research at Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine suggests the potential for engineering replacement intestine tissue in the lab, a treatment that could be applied to infants born with a short bowel and adults having large pieces of gut removed due to cancer or inflammatory bowel disease.”


The Asahi Shimbun: Kyoto University Faculty Research Papers to be Posted Online at No Charge
“To increase public accountability and boost citations, all faculty at Kyoto University will be required from this academic year to post their research papers online for free. While one aim of the project will be to increase citations from research papers conducted by Kyoto University professors, the free availability of the works over the Internet will also provide accountability by releasing the results of research funded by the public sector. The move will be part of Kyoto University's ‘open access’ project designed to make available online the research results conducted by university faculty.”

Wake Forest

Pittsburgh Post- Gazette: EPA Establishes Tech Centers to Test Commerically Used Chemicals
“Given the unknown health effects of so many common chemicals, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) now has established three centers to develop technology to test chemicals without using animals, mostly rats and rabbits. With a $6 million EPA grant, Vanderbilt and the University of Pittsburgh are establishing one of the centers called Vanderbilt-Pittsburgh Resource for Organotypic Models for Predictive Toxicity, or VPROMPT. The center will develop technology to test chemicals without using animals. Researchers plan to use tissue chips, comprised of human-organ cells engineered from stem cells or established cell lines used in different organ studies that are placed in a micro-chamber or bioreactor fitted with channels where a chemical can be introduced and fluids can exit to allow for analysis of biological response to potential toxins.”

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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