360 Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine Newsletter - Sept 17, 2014

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360 Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine Newsletter - Sept 17, 2014

Featured video: Tour the Center for Regenerative Medicine Biotrust at the Mayo Clinic
Tour the Center for Regenerative Medicine Biotrust at the Mayo Clinic
In the video above, Dennis Wigle, M.D., Medical Director, Center for Regenerative Medicine Biotrust; Mindy Rice, Research Operations Manager, Center for Regenerative Medicine and Zachary Resch, Ph.D., Program Manager, Center for Regenerative Medicine Biotrust talk about this key component of regenerative medicine at Mayo Clinic. Located on the Rochester, Minnesota campus, the Biotrust facilitates the collection, processing, manipulation, storage and distribution of human biospecimen samples, such as tissue or cells. These samples create a library of material available to all Mayo Clinic investigators for use in the development of new regenerative medicine treatments and technologies. 

Editor’s note: This week I was delighted to meet Dr. Wigle and Dr. Resch at the Stem Cells Regenerative Medicine Congress in Boston. The Biotrust plans on making an important contribution to field. It further evidences Mayo Clinic’s massive investment and commitment to regenerative medicine.
New York Times: Stem cells- plenty of hope, but halting progress
On September 15, the New York Times published a sweeping, must-read, featured story written by journalist Karen Weintraub. The article leads off by describing of 31-year old heart attack victim, Edgar Irastorza, who volunteered to be part of a clinical trial at the University of Miami, where patients had stem cells injected directly into their hearts. Numerous science luminaries are quoted including Ellen Feigal (CIRM), Charles Murry (University of Washington), Joshua Hare (University of Miami), and Kevin Eggan and David Scadden of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute.
The Japan Times: Clinical trial using iPS cells litmus test for promoting regenerative medicine
“A team led by RIKEN ophthalmologist Masayo Takahashi transplanted retina cells produced from induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells into the eyes of a woman suffering from age-related macular degeneration. The patient is said to be doing well. It was the world’s first clinical trial of transplanting iPS cells, which can develop into the cells of various types of tissues, into a human body. This clinical trial can be considered a litmus test for regenerative medicine using iPS cells, which could eventually be used widely.”
BARDA gives Cellerant $47.5M for stem cell treatment that preps for nuclear disaster
Cellerant Therapeutics received $47.5 million from the U.S. Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to develop its treatment for radiation poisoning. If approved, the government could buy the drug for the Strategic National Stockpile, which is a part of Project Bioshield - a portion of the Bush-era War on Terror that medically readies the nation against “chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear attacks.” The funding will go the California-based Cellerant’s Phase 2 trial in patients with acute myeloid leukemia, as well as the preclinical trials to treat radiation poisoning, or Acute Radiation Syndrome.
U-T San Diego: Viacyte starts diabetes trial
“UC San Diego is hosting the Phase 1 trial in partnership with San Diego-based ViaCyte. The biotech company grows islet cells from human embryonic stem cells. The cells are placed into a semi-permeable envelope and implanted into the patient. In animals, the stem cells mature into islet cells, successfully controlling blood sugar.”

Editor’s note: It was reported elsewhere last week that the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) awarded $16.6 million to Viacyte to accelerate clinical development for this trial.
Regenerative Medicine Foundation (RMF) is new organizer of 2014 World Stem Cell Summit #WSCS14 in San Antonio
Genetics Policy Institute (GPI), the producer of the annual World Stem Cell Summit, and the Regenerative Medicine Foundation (RMF), organizers of the annual RegMed Conference and sponsor of the RMF official journal, Stem Cell Translational Medicine, announced that RMF became a 2014 Summit organizing partner. Dr. Anthony Atala, founder and chairman of RMF will serve as a Summit co-chair and a keynote speaker.
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center: Milestone reached in work to build replacement kidneys in the lab
Regenerative medicine researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center addressed a major challenge in the quest to build replacement kidneys in the lab. Working with human-sized pig kidneys, the scientists developed the most successful method to date to keep blood vessels in the new organs open and flowing with blood. The work is reported in journal Technology.

"Until now, lab-built kidneys have been rodent-sized and have functioned for only one or two hours after transplantation because blood clots developed," said Anthony Atala, M.D., director and professor at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine and a senior author on the study. "In our proof-of-concept study, the vessels in a human-sized pig kidney remained open during a four-hour testing period. We are now conducting a longer-term study to determine how long flow can be maintained."
Reuters: Second life: Scientists ‘reset’ human stem cells to ‘blank state’
Scientists have learned to “reset” human stem cells to their earliest state. This breakthrough gives hope for millions of people suffering from incurable conditions, like Parkinson’s, as scientists hope their success would lead to cures. British and Japanese scientists managed to reboot stem cells to the state equivalent 7 to 10-day old embryo, before it implants in the womb.

“These cells may represent the real starting point for formation of tissues in the human embryo,” said Austin Smith, director of the Britain's Cambridge Stem Cell Institute, who co-led the research. “Capturing embryonic stem cells is like stopping the developmental clock at the precise moment before they begin to turn into distinct cells and tissues.” The study was published in Cell Journal.
Stem Cell Research Offers Clues About Schizophrenia
Stem Cell Reports published a study that scientists created working brain cells using stem cell technology. The brain cells were activated to secrete neurotransmitters. Potentially, the findings could help doctors evaluate the severity of a patient's disease, identify different types of schizophrenia and determine which treatments would be most effective. The senior author is Vivian Hook, at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine.
Initial six teams to compete for New Organ Liver Prize-Scientists begin rallying around global effort to create a new liver
“New Organ is a collective initiative tackling organ disease by building a prize portfolio and global alliance of partners committed to advancing breakthroughs in bioengineering, banking, and regenerating vital organs, starting with the liver. It is designed to be a collaborative network of government, industry, and philanthropic organizations working together for the benefit of society. In December 2013, the New Organ Liver Prize was launched at the World Stem Cell Summit with $1 million in initial funding from the Methuselah Foundation.”
Mary Ann Liebert Inc. makes foray from scientific and medical journals to consumer arena with launch of new non-fiction work, 'Inevitable Collision'
“Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., leading publisher of over 80 science, technology, and medical publications, announced the launch of first time hard cover title Inevitable Collision: The Inspiring Story that Brought Stem Cell Research to Conservative America, in an effort to bring awareness to the growing conversation and debate surrounding stem cell research and regenerative medicine. Written by Tory Williams, author, advocate, mom, and co-founder of the Alabama Institute of Medicine (AIM), Inevitable Collision is a human-interest story that details the Geron clinical trial, the first human embryonic stem cell trial for patients with paralysis, and thoughtfully documents the first and fifth patients, TJ Atchison and Katie Sharify.”

Editor’s note: In 2014, the amazing advocates at AIM have raised more than $1 million towards stem cell research in Alabama. The Geron trial continues under new ownership, Asterias Biotherapeutics.
Regenerative medicine to be insured in Japan
“Major nonlife insurance companies soon will start selling new products to insure cell-cultivating companies against errors in regenerative medicine - the state-of-the-art technology to restore lost human tissue through the use of induced pluripotent stem cells and other means.”
MEDIPOST America clears Phase 1/2 IND for the U.S. clinical trial on stem cell drug for lung
The company reported in a media release that the Phase 1/2 trial will assess the safety and efficacy of its allogenic human umbilical derived MSC’s on prematurely born infants who will be at high-risk of developing Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia (BPD).
Iranian cord blood bank plans to begin operations in Oman
Royan Cord Blood Bank has covered the preliminary steps including storing more than 33,000 samples in its public and private banks and plans to establish cord blood banks in Oman.

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
Domain: Medical
Category: Biology

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