360 Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine Newsletter - September 2, 2014

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360 Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine Newsletter - September 2, 2014

Featured Video from Reuters: Whole organ 'grown' inside animal for the first time
Whole organ 'grown' inside animal for the first time
Scientists in Scotland say they have grown a whole, fully functional organ inside a living animal for the first time. The team from the University of Edinburgh's Centre for Regenerative Medicine produced a working thymus - an organ found in front of the heart that produces T cells, crucial to the immune system. The video is preceded by a 10 second advertisement.
Ottawa Citizen: Sufferers of rare 'stiff person syndrome' get hope with Ottawa treatment
Stem cell transplants were provided to Canadian patients suffering from “stiff person syndrome”, a devastating affliction marked by muscle rigidity, spasms, frequent falls and a “tin soldier’s gait” that affects an estimated one in a million people. The article explains the treatments, provides patients’ perspectives and discusses the promise of autologous stem cell transplants for autoimmune diseases.
The Sacramento Bee: With no cure, little hope, a family struggles with Huntington’s disease
Those working with the patient advocacy community often encounter families impacted by Huntington’s disease. The personal stories are profoundly moving and it is imperative that we find effective treatments for this fatal condition. The article provides insights about the ailment and describes work at the UC Davis Huntington’s clinic that has received a $19 million grant for the first FDA-approved stem-cell therapy for Huntington’s patients, hoping to restore brain health early in the disease process. “The Phase I clinical trial, which begins in 2015, will implant customized stem cells into the brains of people who are in the earliest stages of Huntington’s, using a therapy that’s proved effective in trials on animals.”
The Financial Express: India PM Narendra Modi visits Dr. Yamanaka at Kyoto- seeks sickle cell cure
India Prime Minister Modi’s government views regenerative medicine a priority. On his state visit to Japan, PM Modi visited Kyoto University to view the stem cell research center. He met Nobel laureate Shinya Yamanaka. Upon touring the lab, the PM stated, “I wanted to understand stem cell research because cultural heritage matters to me as much as scientific heritage. I want to integrate both to make India a developed country.”
The Japan Times: After STAP scandal, Riken plots its future
The Riken Institute’s Center for Developmental Biology was shaken to its core by the STAP debacle and tragic suicide of one of its esteemed scientists, Yoshiki Sasai. According to this article in The Japan Times, the Institute is at a crossroads, trying to determine internally on the necessary reforms while at the same time facing uncertainty as to the scope of future government funding. The article sets forth insights on Riken’s history and thereby provides much needed context to better understand the full scope of the challenges facing the Center.
SF Gate: Asterias Biotherapeutics clinical trial- stem cell industry's 'huge development' in San Francisco Bay area
The once famous Geron clinical trial utilizing human embryonic stem cells for treatment of spinal cord injury seemed long gone, when is was recently revived by Asterias Biotherpautics. The clinical trial is touted as validation of the investment by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine that is providing a $14.3 million grant covering half the costs of Asterias' trial."It's a huge development for the field," according to Kevin Whittlesey, science officer at CIRM. "We're starting to realize the potential touted so highly when embryonic stem cell research was in its infancy."
NUI Galway (Ireland) -Exciting proof-of-concept for acoustic dispensing of single cell stem cells
According to a media release, The Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway and Irish start-up Poly-Pico Technologies Ltd. executed a new scientific proof-of-concept involving the use of sound waves to dispense living stem cells. Researchers were able to isolate individual adult stem cells from a bone marrow sample. “The ability to isolate individual stem cells in a quick, scalable and cost-efficient manner is attractive to scientists working in the field, as current methods are often time-consuming and costly. Individual cells can then be replicated into exact copies of themselves for experimental purposes, or various drug compounds could be applied to the individual cells to see what effects occur. Further down the line, there is the tantalizing prospect of perhaps being able to use such dispensing devices as a form of tissue engineering.”
Cellular Dynamics awarded U.S. patent covering automated production of all human pluripotent stem cells
According to a company press release, Cellular Dynamics International (CDI) was awarded a patent on the automated production of human pluripotent stem cells, including induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). CDI's products and services are based on iPSC technology. CDI maintains that the patent has broad-reaching effects, covering research, cellular therapy development and stem cell banking. Chris Parker, chief commercial officer of CDI, said, "CDI is using automated production to execute on the more than 3,000 patient samples associated with our CIRM grant and Coriell subcontract. This patent uniquely enables CDI to process multiple cell lines simultaneously as needed to create new stem cell banks or to expand existing ones. It also facilitates making disease cell lines available to researchers within a relatively short timeframe."
San Antonio Business Journal: Former Kinetic Concepts Inc. CEO Catherine Burzik to lead StemBioSys
Catherine Burzik previously served as president, CEO and director Kinetic Concepts Inc., a medical device and regenerative medicine company that is also based in San Antonio. She has been an advisor to StemBioSys since early 2012 and is currently a general partner in Targeted Technology, an early stage venture capital firm concentrating on medical device, life sciences and biotech investments. Burzik succeeds StemBioSys founder Dr. Steven A. Davis.

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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