Volume 13.49 | Dec 17

Issue 13.49 December 17, 2012
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TOP STORY
Pre-Transplant Umbilical Cord Blood Expansion in Lab Speeds Establishment of New Blood Supply in Patients, Reducing High-Risk Time to Recovery
Donated umbilical cord blood establishes a new blood supply in patients more quickly after transplantation when it is first expanded in the lab on a bed of cells that mimics conditions in the bone marrow, researchers report. [Press release from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center discussing online prepublication in The New England Journal of Medicine] Press Release | Abstract

Differentiation Doesn't Have to be Difficult. Get Easy, Standardized hPSC Differentiation

 
PUBLICATIONS (Ranked by impact factor of the journal)

Combinatorial Antigen Recognition with Balanced Signaling Promotes Selective Tumor Eradication by Engineered T Cells
Investigators present a strategy to render T cells specific for a tumor in the absence of a truly tumor-restricted antigen. T cells are transduced with both a chimeric antigen receptor that provides suboptimal activation upon binding of one antigen and a chimeric costimulatory receptor that recognizes a second antigen. Using the prostate tumor antigens PSMA and PSCA, they showed that co-transduced T cells destroy tumors that express both antigens but do not affect tumors expressing either antigen alone. [Nat Biotechnol]
Abstract | Press Release

Direct Conversion of Quiescent Cardiomyocytes to Pacemaker Cells by Expression of Tbx18
Researchers demonstrated conversion of rodent cardiomyocytes to sinoatrial node (SAN) cells in vitro and in vivo by expression of Tbx18, a gene critical for early SAN specification. In vivo, focal Tbx18 gene transfer in the guinea-pig ventricle yields ectopic pacemaker activity, correcting a bradycardic disease phenotype. [Nat Biotechnol] Abstract | Press Release

Brown Adipose Tissue Regulates Glucose Homeostasis and Insulin Sensitivity
To test the hypothesis that brown adipose tissue (BAT) is fundamental to the regulation of glucose homeostasis, researchers transplanted BAT from male donor mice into the visceral cavity of age- and sex-matched recipient mice. By 8-12 weeks following transplantation, recipient mice had improved glucose tolerance, increased insulin sensitivity, lower body weight, decreased fat mass, and a complete reversal of high-fat diet-induced insulin resistance. [J Clin Invest] Full Article | Press Release

Double Unit Grafts Successfully Extend the Application of Umbilical Cord Blood Transplantation in Adults with Acute Leukemia
The transplantation of two partially HLA-matched umbilical cord blood (UCB) units has been adopted as a simple approach for increasing the total nucleated cells. The authors sought to determine whether the relative safety and efficacy of this approach was comparable to a single UCB transplant. [Blood] Abstract

Neural Stem Cells Encapsulated in a Functionalized Self-Assembling Peptide Hydrogel for Brain Tissue Engineering
Scientists specifically linked laminin-derived IKVAV motif on the C-terminal to enrich self-assembling peptide RADA16 as a functional peptide-based scaffold. Their purpose was to provide a functional self-assembling peptide three dimensional hydrogel with encapsulated neural stem cells to enhance the reconstruction of the injured brain. [Biomaterials] Abstract

Exhaustion of Nucleus Pulposus Progenitor Cells with Aging and Degeneration of the Intervertebral Disc
Researchers identified populations of progenitor cells that are Tie2 positive and disialoganglioside 2 positive, in the nucleus pulposus from mice and humans. They are clonally multipotent and differentiated into mesenchymal lineages and induced reorganization of nucleus pulposus tissue when transplanted into non-obese diabetic/severe combined immunodeficient mice. [Nat Commun] Full Article

Crosstalk between Immune Cell and Oncolytic Vaccinia Therapy Enhances Tumor Trafficking and Antitumor Effects
The authors previously developed several strategies for optimizing the delivery of oncolytic vaccinia virus vectors to their tumor targets, including the use of immune cell-based carrier vehicles and the incorporation of mutations that increase production of the enveloped form of vaccinia (extracellular enveloped viral [EEV]) that is better adapted to spread within a host. Here, they initially combined these approaches to create a novel therapeutic, consisting of an immune cell (cytokine-induced killer) preloaded with an oncolytic virus that is EEV enhanced. [Mol Ther] Abstract

Systemic Delivery of Modified mRNA Encoding Herpes Simplex Virus 1 Thymidine Kinase for Targeted Cancer Gene Therapy
Researchers proposed a systemic delivery of chemically modified messenger RNA (mRNA) as an alternative to plasmid DNA in cancer gene therapy. [Mol Ther] Abstract

Umbilical Cord Blood-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells Inhibit, but Adipose Tissue-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells Promote Glioblastoma Multiforme Proliferation
To examine the anticancer therapeutic application of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) from different sources, researchers established two different kinds of human MSC: umbilical cord blood-derived MSC and adipose tissue-derived MSC. They used these MSC in a co-culture assay with primary glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) cells to analyze how MSC from different sources can inhibit GBM growth. [Stem Cells Dev] Abstract

A Novel Alternative to Cryo-Preservation for the Short Term Storage of Stem Cells for Use in Cell Therapy Using Alginate Encapsulation
Scientists aimed to use semi-permeable alginate hydrogels (cross-linked by strontium) to encapsulate, store and release stem cells, in order to replace the conventional cryo-preservation method for the transport of therapeutic cells within world-wide distribution time-frame. [Tissue Eng Part C Methods] Abstract | Press Release

New: Directed Differentiation of Pluripotent Stem Cells. A Cell Stem Cell Poster



REVIEWS

Cell Transplantation Therapies for Spinal Cord Injury Focusing on Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells
In this review, the pre-clinical investigations of cell therapy for spinal cord injury using neural stem/progenitor cells derived from induced pluripotent stem cells, and their safety issues in vivo, are outlined. [Cell Res]
Full Article

Cardiac Stem Cells and Their Roles in Myocardial Infarction
This review focuses on the field of cardiac stem cells and discusses technical and practical issues that may involve in their clinical applications in myocardial infarction. [Stem Cell Rev] Abstract

New StemSpan(TM) SFEM II - for optimal CD34+ cell expansion of bone marrow and cord blood cells



SCIENCE NEWS

Preliminary Results from an Early Phase Trial of Gene Engineered T Cells Targeting Cancer Testis Antigens in Multiple Myeloma
Adaptimmune announced the release of preliminary results from an early phase clinical study using patients’ own T cells that have been genetically altered to attack multiple myeloma cells. [Press release from Adaptimmune discussing research presented at the 54th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology, Atlanta] Press Release

Leukemia Patients Remain in Remission More than Two Years after Receiving Genetically Engineered T Cell Therapy
Nine of twelve leukemia patients who received infusions of their own T cells after the cells had been genetically engineered to attack the patients’ tumors responded to the therapy. [Press release from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania discussing research presented at the 54th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology, Atlanta] Press Release

Potential Gene Therapy Approach to Sickle Cell Disease Highlighted at National Hematology Meeting
Researchers have taken the first preliminary steps toward developing a form of gene therapy for sickle cell disease. The research team announced that they had demonstrated in an animal model the feasibility of activating a form of hemoglobin unaffected by the sickle cell mutation. [Press release from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute discussing research presented at the 54th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology, Atlanta] Press Release


 
POLICY

Government ‘Exams’ for Italian Scientists Trigger Outcry
An unprecedented government effort to shore up the quality of Italian science by reviewing the work of individual scientists and institutions has triggered a firestorm of protest. Critics say the government review is using flawed criteria and will do little to reward the best Italian scientists. [Ministry of Education, University and Research, Italy] Press Release

Russia Shakes Up Its Universities
The Russian government plans to close struggling institutions and increase funding to the best. The move reflects the determination of Russian authorities to end support for hundreds of under-achieving institutions and to concentrate funding in a smaller number of high-performing universities. [Russian Government, Russia]
Press Release



BUSINESS

SU2C and CRI Announce New Immunology Translational Research Dream Team
Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) and the Cancer Research Institute (CRI) announced the formation of a Dream Team project dedicated to cancer immunology – “Immunologic Checkpoint Blockade and Adoptive Cell Transfer in Cancer Therapy.” [Stand Up To Cancer] Press Release

Alliance for Regenerative Medicine Forms Tissue Engineering and Biomaterials Committee
The Alliance for Regenerative Medicine announced the formation of a Tissue Engineering and Biomaterials Committee (TEBC). The TEBC has been established to assemble the companies, academic institutions, and organizations within the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine that develop and commercialize tissue engineered and biomaterial based technologies. [Alliance for Regenerative Medicine] Press Release

Research into Therapies for Preeclampsia, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, and Hearing Loss Win Funding from Stem Cell Agency
More than $36 million was awarded to research stem cell therapies for diseases that affect millions of Americans at the latest board meeting of the state’s stem cell agency, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. [California Institute for Regenerative Medicine] Press Release

Cedars-Sinai Physician-Scientist Awarded $3 Million to Study the Most Common Inherited Neurological Disorder
A Cedars-Sinai physician-scientist has been awarded a $3 million grant from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine to study with new stem cell technology Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. They will employ induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) created at the Regenerative Medicine Institute, which conducts stem cell research and produces stem cells for study at other institutions through its iPSC Core Facility. [Cedars-Sinai] Press Release

ACT Announces Completion of Higher-Dosage Cohort in European Clinical Trial for Stargardt’s Macular Dystrophy
Advanced Cell Technology, Inc. (ACT) announced treatment of the fifth and sixth patients in the company’s European clinical trial for Stargardt’s Macular Dystrophy using retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells derived from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs), completing the second patient cohort. The patients were injected with 100,000 hESC-derived RPE cells, as compared to 50,000 cells in the first cohort. [Advanced Cell Technology, Inc.] Press Release

Milo Biotechnology Announces FDA Orphan Drug Designation for AAV1-FS344 for Treatment of Duchenne and Becker Muscular Dystrophy
Milo Biotechnology announced its AAV1-FS344 has been granted Orphan Drug designation from the FDA’s Office of Orphan Products Development for treatment of Becker and Duchenne muscular dystrophy. AAV1-FS344 is a gene therapy-delivered myostatin inhibitor that increases muscle strength. [PR Newswire Association LLC] Press Release

Precision StemCell’s Neural Reprogrammed Stem Cell Therapy Yields Better-than-Expected Results for ALS Patients
In Precision StemCell’s neural reprogrammed stem cell therapy, fat-derived stem cells are injected into the spine of the patient. Dr. Williams uses a drug called selegeline, which has been shown to be a pre-inducer of adipose-derived stem cells into neural-like cells. Dr. Williams contends that the therapy is probably one of the largest advances seen in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) therapy. [PR Newswire Association LLC] Press Release

New Facility Will Bridge Research and Stem Cell Therapies
The University of Rochester Medical Center has opened the doors on a new facility that will enable researchers to create, study, and ultimately use stem cells and their offspring in early-phase experimental human therapies. The Upstate Stem Cell cGMP Facility was created with $3.5 million in support from the Empire State Stem Cell Board. [University of Rochester Medical Center] Press Release



NIH

National Institutes of Health Tackles Major Workforce Issues
The world’s largest biomedical research funding agency announced a program of nudges, incentives and requirements intended to respond to two thorny workforce-related problems: the oversupply of young scientists who face diminishing prospects of landing academic jobs, and the lack of demographic diversity in the US biomedical workforce. Press Release

National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering; Notice of Closed Meetings (FR Doc No: 2012-30336)

National Cancer Institute; Notice of Closed Meetings (FR Doc No: 2012-29864)



CBER
January 15, 2013: Cellular, Tissue and Gene Therapies Advisory Committee Meeting Announcement


REGULATORY

Food and Drug Administration (United States)

Draft Guidance for Industry on Enrichment Strategies for Clinical Trials to Support Approval of Human Drugs and Biological Products; Availability (FR Doc No: 2012-30274)



EVENTS

NEW 2013 Gordon Conference on Stem Cells and Cancer
April 21-26, 2013
Les Diablerets, Switzerland

NEW 2013 International Cord Blood Symposium
June 6-8, 2013
San Francisco, United States

Visit our events page to see a complete list of events in the cell, gene and immunotherapy community.



JOB OPPORTUNITIES

Product Quality Scientist (STEMCELL Technologies, Inc.)

Scientist – Endothelial Cell Research (STEMCELL Technologies, Inc.)

Research Technologist – Cell Separation (STEMCELL Technologies, Inc.)

Scientist or Engineer – hPSC Bioengineer (STEMCELL Technologies, Inc.)

Postdoctoral Positions in Cell Biology, Biophysics and Neurobiology (University of Missouri – Kansas City)

Postdoctoral Position – Tumor Stem Cells (Cancer Institute of New Jersey)

Postdoctoral Position (Karolinska Institute, Department of Medicine, Huddinge)

Senior QC Analyst/Assay Development Associate (StemCells, Inc.)

Postdoctoral Position (Sandra Rotman Centre for Global Health)

Postdoctoral Fellow – Molecular Biology (Cleveland Clinic Foundation)

Faculty Position – Stem Cell, Vascular and Developmental Biology in Ophthalmology (Zhongshan Ophthalmic Center, Sun Yat-Sen University)


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