360 Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine Newsletter- September 11, 2015

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360 Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine Newsletter - Sept 11, 2015

Featured Video: Dr.Oz Visits WFIRM Labs

Dr. Oz tours WFIRM in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and interviews Anthony Atala, M.D., about the promise of regenerative medicine, growing organs and extending the human lifespan. Dr. Atala is the Director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM) and is the founder of the Regenerative Medicine Foundation.

World Stem Cell Summit

USA Today: Former NFL Player Steve Gleason’s Fight Sparks ALS Research
“Former NFL player Steve Gleason’s fight against the disease trapping him inside his once-athletic body has helped inspire a groundbreaking research project that aims to defeat ALS. The project will be spearheaded by Johns Hopkins University’s Robert Packard Center for ALS Research, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center’s Regenerative Medicine Institute and the Massachusetts General Hospital Neurological Clinical Research Institute. It represents the research initiative of Answer ALS, which grew out of a summit for an advocacy group Gleason founded and has been described as the largest single, coordinated effort to end the fatal neuromuscular illness.”

360 Editor’s comment: Never underestimate the power of a single patient advocate such as Steve Gleason. Focused advocacy is the most effective force driving the regenerative medicine revolution-fostering funding, mandatory regulatory reforms and positive public perception.

Till & McCulloch meetings

MIT Technology Review: Peter Thiel Backs Biotech “Unicorn” Fighting Cancer Stem Cells
Can we cure cancer by targeting cancer stem cells? Is it possible that the obscure biotech start-up Stemcentrx could be valued at $3 billion? Venture philanthropist Peter Thiel and other Silicon Valley moguls have poured millions into a new company that had previously flown completely under the radar screen. In this article, the Review’s editor Antonio Regalado spotlights Stemcentrx, its novel technology, the background of its founder and the big time funders.

UPDATE: World Stem Cell Summit & RegMed Capital Conference- Atlanta-Dec. 10-12

Take advantage of early-bird discounts. Register today!

New confirmed speakers:

Kenneth K. Kleinhenz, MBA
Vice President, Global Regulatory Affairs
Cytori Therapeutics, Inc.

Beth E. Roxland, JD, M.Bioethics
Bioethics and Strategy Leader
Office of the Chief Medical Officer
Johnson & Johnson, Inc.

Fred Sanfilippo, MD, PhD
Director, Emory-Georgia Tech Healthcare Innovation Program
Professor of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, Health Policy & Management
Emory University
Medical Director and Trustee
The Marcus Foundation, Inc.

TIME: Bionic Eyes, Stem Cells and Gene Therapy: 3 Cutting Edge Cures for Blindness
Patient perspectives are showcased in this article from TIME.

Biobridge Global

Johns Hopkins Berman Center of Bioethics: Human Genome Editing Research Is Essential, Says Influential Hinxton Group
"Research involving editing the human genome, including research with human embryos, is essential to gain basic understanding of biology and germ cells and should be permitted, according to one of the first global meetings to debate the controversial new techniques. The bold statement is published by the Hinxton Group, a global network of stem cell researchers, bioethicists, and experts on policy and scientific publishing. While firmly backing the need for gene editing research, the group makes a clear distinction between research and clinical application.”

Life Interrupted

ViaCyte’s Study on Macroencapsulated Stem Cell-Derived Insulin-Producing Cells
“ViaCyte, Inc., a privately-held regenerative medicine company with the first stem cell-derived islet replacement therapy for the treatment of diabetes in clinical trials, announced publication of a study demonstrating that insulin-producing cells created in vitro from human embryonic stem cells can mature and function after being encapsulated and implanted into an animal model.”

Medical Xpress: Cells from Human Umbilical Cord Blood Improve Cognition in Alzheimer's Disease Model Mice
“Monocytes are peripheral blood mononuclear cells (MNCs) with round nuclei that are critical components in the immune system for fighting infection and processing foreign material. A team of American, Chinese, and Japanese researchers hypothesized that monocytes derived from cord blood can help clear aggregated Aβ protein when transplanted into laboratory animals modeled with Alzheimer’s Disease. The researchers found that administration of HUCBC-derived monocytes not only diminished Aβ pathology in the test mice, but also improved learning, memory, and motor function.” The research is available online in Cell Transplantation.


UC San Diego Health Sciences: Stem Cell-Derived “Mini-Brains” Reveal Potential Drug Treatment for Rare Disorder
Using “mini-brains” built with induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC’s) derived from patients with a rare, but devastating, neurological disorder, researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine maintain that they have identified a drug candidate that appears to “rescue” dysfunctional cells by suppressing a critical genetic alteration. Their findings are published online in Molecular Psychiatry.

San Antonio-based GenCure Marks Anniversary of Texas Cord Blood Bank
“What grew out of that effort to collect stem cell-rich cord blood — the blood left in the umbilical cord after a baby is born — recently marked its 12th anniversary as the Texas Cord Blood Bank. The bank is housed in and administered by San Antonio-based GenCure, a subsidiary of BioBridge Global.”


Ogawa-Yamanaka Prize Founded at the Gladstone Institutes to Support Stem Cell Research
“The Gladstone Institutes presented the inaugural Ogawa-Yamanaka Stem Cell Prize to Masayo Takahashi, MD, PhD, a faculty member and project leader in the Laboratory for Retinal Regeneration at the RIKEN Centre for Developmental Biology in Japan. Dr. Takahashi was awarded the $150,000 prize for her trailblazing work leading the first clinical trial to use induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells in humans. The goal of her research is to treat retinal diseases, starting with macular degeneration.”

NIKKAI Asian Review: University of Tokyo's Cell-growing Method Slashes Costs by Half
“University of Tokyo scientists have devised a way to generate liver cells using stem cells at roughly half the cost of a conventional technique, possibly paving the way for speedier drug development. The group led by professor Atsushi Miyajima used induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells to grow liver progenitor cells, or intermediate cells that have yet to mature into full-blown adult cells.”


Portland Press Herald: Federal Grant Boosts Maine Medical Center’s Effort to Grow Kidneys from Stem Cells
“Scientists at Maine Med's Research Institute received a $6.8 million federal grant for potentially groundbreaking research that they hope will result in ways to use adult stem cells to grow kidneys. Bernard Siegel, founder and executive director of the Genetics Policy Institute, a Florida-based nonprofit stem cell advocacy group, said the grant signals that the NIH believes the research is viable and worth investing in. Siegel said the pace of stem cell research to grow organs is accelerating, and he believes that using such organs in patients in the next 10 to 20 years is possible.”

The New England Journal of Medicine (Perspective): Medicine's Wild West — Unlicensed Stem-Cell Clinics in the United States
NEJM provides some clarity relating to FDA regulation of SVF and the challenges posed by unlicensed clinics. Here is the crux of the regulatory conundrum: “Because FDA guidelines are ambiguous, stem-cell clinics have in effect been operating without regulation. The FDA classifies biologic products as either 351 products, such as cells that have been grown in culture or have undergone genetic manipulation, which are subject to strict regulatory oversight and cannot be used in patients without approval, or 361 products, such as vascular grafts, tendons, and semen, which can be used by licensed physicians as part of the ‘practice of medicine.’ The latter products must be ‘minimally manipulated’; they must be for homologous use, meaning the tissue must perform similar functions before and after transplantation; they may not be combined with other substances besides water, crystalloids (usually salts), and preserving agents; and they must be implanted into the patient from whom the tissue was taken.”

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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Genetics Policy Institute (GPI) and the Regenerative Medicine Foundation (RMF) Announce Merger Plan

Domain: Medical
Category: Biology
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