Volume 15.04 | Feb 3

Issue 15.04 February 3, 2014
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TOP STORY
Blood and Lymphatic Capillaries Grown for the First Time in the Lab
Researchers have engineered skin cells for the very first time containing blood and lymphatic capillaries. They succeeded in isolating all the necessary types of skin cells from human skin tissue and engineering a skin graft that is similar to full-thickness skin. [Press release from University Children’s Hospital Zurich discussing online prepublication in Science Translational Medicine] Press Release | Abstract
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PUBLICATIONS (Ranked by impact factor of the journal)
Tumor-Specific IL-9-Producing CD8+ Tc9 Cells Are Superior Effector than Type-I Cytotoxic Tc1 Cells for Adoptive Immunotherapy of Cancers
Because cytokine-priming signals direct CD8+ T cells to acquire unique profiles that affect their ability to mediate specific immune responses, scientists generated IL-9-skewed CD8+ T (Tc9) cells by priming with Th9-polarized condition. [Proc Natl Acad Sci USA] Abstract

Delayed Transplantation of Precursor Cell-Derived Astrocytes Provides Multiple Benefits in a Rat Model of Parkinson’s
In addition to dopaminergic neuron loss, it is clear that Parkinson’s disease includes other pathological changes, including loss of additional neuronal populations. As a means of addressing multiple pathological changes with a single therapeutically-relevant approach, researchers employed delayed transplantation of a unique class of astrocytes, GDAsBMP, that are generated in vitro by directed differentiation of glial precursors. [EMBO Mol Med] Full Article | Press Release

Combination of Engineered Schwann Cell Grafts to Secrete Neurotrophin and Chondroitinase Promotes Axonal Regeneration and Locomotion after Spinal Cord Injury
Researchers transplanted Schwann cells genetically modified to secrete a bifunctional neurotrophin and chondroitinase ABC into a subacute contusion injury in rats. [J Neurosci] Abstract

NK Cells Are Required for Dendritic Cell-Based Immunotherapy at the Time of Tumor Challenge
Using the B16-OVA melanoma model and an optimized Gram-positive bacteria-dendritic cell (DC) vaccination strategy, scientists determined that in vivo depletion of NK cells at time of tumor challenge abolished the benefit of DC immunotherapy. [J Immunol] Abstract

Biointerface Control of Electrospun Fiber Scaffolds for Bone Regeneration: Engineered Protein Link to Mineralized Surface
Investigators engineered the interface of biopolymer electrospun fiber matrices with a fusion protein of fibronectin 9-10 domain and osteocalcin, aiming to stimulate mesenchymal stem cell functions, including initial adhesion, growth and osteogenic differentiation. In vivo study in a rat calvarium model confirmed a higher quantity of neo-bone formation in the fiber linked with fusion protein, and a further increase was noticed when the MSCs were tissue-engineered with the fusion protein-linked fiber. [Acta Biomater] Abstract

Mannitol-Enhanced Delivery of Stem Cells and Their Growth Factors Across the Blood Brain Barrier
A limiting factor in the success of stem cell treatments is the delivery of the cells and their by-products (neurotrophic factors) into the injured brain. Scientists demonstrated that mannitol, a drug with the potential to transiently open the blood brain barrier and facilitate the entry of stem cells and trophic factors, is a possible solution to the delivery problem. [Cell Transplant] Abstract

Preliminary Study of Autologous Bone Marrow Nucleated Cells Transplantation in Children with Spinal Cord Injury
Scientists assessed the safety and efficacy of transplanting bone marrow nucleated cells to treat children with complete interruption of spinal cord continuity. [Stem Cells Transl Med] Abstract | Press Release

Astrocyte-Like Cells Derived from Human Oral Mucosa Stem Cells Provide Neuroprotection In Vitro and In Vivo
Investigators induced human oral mucosa stem cell differentiation into cells showing an astrocyte-like morphology that expressed characteristic astrocyte markers as glial fibrillary acidic protein, S100β, and the excitatory amino acid transporter 1 and secreted neurotrophic factors such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor, vascular endothelial growth factor, glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor, and insulin-like growth factor 1. [Stem Cells Transl Med] Abstract

Transplantation of Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Mesoangioblast-Like Myogenic Progenitors in Mouse Models of Muscle Regeneration
Scientists describe transplantation and functional measurements required to evaluate the engraftment and differentiation of induced pluripotent stem cell-derived mesoangioblasts (a type of muscle progenitors) in mouse models of acute and chronic muscle regeneration. [J Vis Exp] Full Article

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REVIEWS
Is Graphene a Promising Nano-Material for Promoting Surface Modification of Implants or Scaffold Materials in Bone Tissue Engineering?
The authors review recent studies on the effects of graphene on surface modifications of implants or scaffold materials. The ability of graphene to improve the mechanical and biological properties of implants or scaffold materials, such as nitinol and carbon nanotubes, and its ability to promote the adhesion, proliferation and osteogenic differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells or osteoblasts, have been demonstrated in several studies. [Tissue Eng Part B Rev] Abstract

Visit our reviews page to see a complete list of reviews in the cell, gene and immunotherapy research field.

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SCIENCE NEWS
Dendreon Announces Presentation of PROVENGE® (Sipuleucel-T) Data
Dendreon Corporation announced the presentation of four PROVENGE® (sipuleucel-T) abstracts and one abstract for DN24-02, an investigational active cellular immunotherapy, from ongoing clinical trials. [Press release from Dendreon Corporation discussing research presented at the 2014 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium (ASCO GU), San Francisco] Press Release

Mologen AG: Final Results from Renal Cancer Trial with MGN1601 Presented
Final results from the Phase I/II clinical study with MGN1601 (ASET trial) have been presented. The trial evaluated safety and tolerability of MGN1601 in 19 heavily pretreated patients with advanced renal cancer which had no other treatment options. The monotherapy with tumor cell-based cancer vaccine MGN1601 was well tolerated and safe. [Press release from Mologen AG discussing research presented at the 2014 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium (ASCO GU), San Francisco] Press Release

Strategies to Inhibit GvHD while Sparing the Graft-versus-Tumor Response: Finding the Sweet Spot
 
POLICY
Row Over Controversial Stem-Cell Procedure Flares Up Again
Top scientists in Italy have called on the health minister Beatrice Lorenzin to reconsider the composition of the new scientific advisory committee she has proposed to assess a controversial stem-cell therapy offered by the Stamina Foundation. [Nature News] Editorial

Hollande Pledges to Avoid Cuts to France’s Science Funding
French President François Hollande promised to spare the research and higher education budget from savings of €50 billion that his government has pledged to find over the next three years to reign in its massive public deficit. [Nature News] Editorial

Obama Promises Action and Seeks a Science-Funding Boost
US President Barack Obama says 2014 will be a “year of action” in which he plans to use his executive authority to enact new policies, while seeking greater cooperation from the sharply divided Congress. [Nature News] Editorial

Elsevier Opens Its Papers to Text-Mining
Academics: prepare your computers for text-mining. Publishing giant Elsevier says that it has now made it easy for scientists to extract facts and data computationally from its more than 11 million online research papers. Other publishers are likely to follow suit this year, lowering barriers to the computer-based research technique. [Nature News] Editorial

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BUSINESS
Ablynx Announces Worldwide Cancer Immunotherapy Discovery Collaboration and Licensing Agreement with Merck
Ablynx announced that the company has entered into a second research collaboration and licensing agreement with a subsidiary of Merck & Co. This new exclusive collaboration and licensing agreement is focused on the discovery and development of several predefined Nanobody candidates directed toward so called “immune checkpoint modulators,” proteins believed to provide potential targets for the development of cancer immunotherapies, a rapidly emerging approach to the treatment of a wide range of cancer types. [Ablynx]
Press Release

BrainStorm Signs Definitive Agreement with Mayo Clinic for ALS Clinical Trial and NurOwn Manufacturing
BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics announced that it has signed a definitive agreement with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota to conduct its Phase II clinical trial of NurOwn™ in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), pending FDA approval. [BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics, Inc.] Press Release

Oxford University and Syncona Announce the Formation of Nightstar, a Company Developing Retinal Gene Therapies
Syncona LLP announced a £12 million investment in NightstaRx Ltd a spin-out from the University of Oxford and its research commercialization company Isis Innovation. Nightstar will focus on the development and commercialization of therapies for retinal dystrophies (degenerative conditions affecting vision). [Syncona LLP] Press Release

Kiadis Pharma Initiates Collaboration for Personalized Immunotherapies Using ATIR™ with Technische Universität München within Munich Biotech Cluster
Kiadis Pharma B.V. announced that it has initiated a collaboration to identify and characterize leukemia-specific T-cells in Kiadis Pharma’s lead product ATIR™, that would be responsible for the Graft-versus-Leukemia effect of the T-cell immunotherapy product. [Kiadis Pharma B.V.] Press Release

STEMSOFT Software Inc. and JAF Consulting, Inc. Announce Collaborative Partnership
STEMSOFT Software Inc. and JAF Consulting, Inc. announced their collaborative partnership. As a STEMSOFT Certified Consulting Partner, JAF will provide STEMSOFT clients the opportunity to engage in JAF’s expertise and individualized computer validation, regulatory compliance and quality systems management services. [STEMSOFT Software Inc.] Press Release

Medigene Acquires Trianta Immunotherapies
Medigene AG has acquired Trianta Immunotherapies GmbH, a spin-off of the Helmholtz Zentrum München. Trianta is developing three immunotherapy platforms with programs in clinical development to treat various tumor types. [Medigene AG] Press Release

Stem Cell Agency Funds More than $66 Million in Research Including New Genomics Initiative
A team bringing together experts and investigators from seven different major California institutions has been awarded $40 million to create a new Center of Excellence in Stem Cell Genomics, by California’s stem cell agency, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. [California Institute for Regenerative Medicine]
Press Release

Quest PharmaTech Announces Third Combinatorial Immunotherapy Clinical Trial for Oregovomab with a TLR3 Agonist, Hiltonol®
Quest PharmaTech Inc. announced that it has entered into a license agreement with U.S. based Oncovir, Inc. (Washington, DC) to evaluate the clinical utility of combining Quest’s antibody immunotherapy technology with Oncovir’s immune activator “Hiltonol®” in a twenty patient ovarian cancer Phase II clinical trial. [Quest PharmaTech Inc.] Press Release

Positive Spinal Disc Repair Trial Results Using Mesoblast Adult Stem Cells
Mesoblast Limited announced positive 12 month outcome results from the 100-patient Phase II clinical trial of its proprietary allogeneic, or “off-the-shelf”, mesenchymal precursor cells in patients with chronic moderate to severe discogenic low back pain. [Mesoblast Limited] Press Release

Experienced Stem Cell Product Developer to Join Cynata
Cynata Therapeutics Ltd announced the appointment of Dr. Kilian Kelly as Vice President, Product Development. Dr. Kelly will be a member of Cynata’s executive management team and will lead the regulatory, pre-clinical and clinical development of the Company’s proprietary Cymerus™ mesenchymal stem cell product pipeline. [Cynata Therapeutics Ltd] Press Release
 
NIH
Government-Owned Inventions; Availability for Licensing

Center for Scientific Review; Notice of Closed Meetings
 
CBER
Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee Meeting Announcement
 
REGULATORY
Food and Drug Administration (United States)

Food and Drug Administration Modernization Act of 1997: Modifications to the List of Recognized Standards, Recognition List Number: 034

European Medicines Agency (European Union)

European Medicines Agency Publishes Minutes of CHMP, CVMP and CAT Meetings for the First Time
 
EVENTS
NEW Clinical Translation of Stem Cells 2014
April 21-22, 2014
Palm Desert, United States


Visit our events page to see a complete list of events in the cell, gene and immunotherapy community.
 
JOB OPPORTUNITIES
NEW Postdoctoral Fellowships – Tissue Regeneration and Molecular Cell Engineering (MD Anderson Cancer Center)

Project Manager – Cell Therapy (University of California – Irvine)

Postdoctoral Position – Epigenetic Enzymes in Breast Cancer (University of Wisconsin – Madison)

Postdoctoral Position – Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine (RUNMC)

Postdoctoral Fellow – Morphogenetic Signaling Pathways in Development and Disease (University of Rochester Medical Center)

Scientific Affairs Coordinator (American Society of Hematology)

Postdoctoral Research Fellow (Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School)

Stem Cell Manufacturing Scientist (Paramount Recruitment)

Lab Technologist – Human Pluripotent Stem Cells (STEMCELL Technologies Inc.)


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