Volume 9.27 | Jul 14

Cell Therapy News 9.27, July 14, 2008
     In this issue: Science | Policy | Business | NIH | CBER | Regulatory
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Top Stories

Human Embryonic Stem Cells Developed From 4-cell Embryo; World First May Lessen Ethical Concerns: For the first time in the world scientists have succeeded in developing human embryonic stem cells from a single cell, or blastomere, of a 4-cell stage embryo. Dr. Hilde Van de Velde, from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium, said that their research meant that it might be possible in the future to produce hESC lines at an earlier stage without destroying the embryo.
Article

Stem Cells Used to Treat Muscular Dystrophy in Mice: Harvard Stem Cell Institute researchers at the Joslin Diabetes Center have for the first time demonstrated that transplanted muscle stem cells can both improve muscle function in mice with a form of muscular dystrophy and replenish the stem cell population for use in the repair of future muscle injuries.
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Science

Breakthrough: Artificial DNA Could Power Future Computers
Chemists claim to have created the world’s first DNA molecule made almost entirely of artificial parts.
Article

Genes That Control Embryonic Stem Cell Fate Identified
Scientists have identified about two dozen genes that control embryonic stem cell fate. The genes may either prod or restrain stem cells from drifting into a kind of limbo, they suspect.
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Kansas State Researchers Using Stem Cells from the Umbilical Cord to Transport Capsules of Anti-Cancer Drugs Directly to Tumors
Kansas State researchers are using stem cells isolated from Wharton’s jelly, the substance that cushions blood vessels in the umbilical cord, to deliver anti-cancer drugs directly to breast cancer cells via nanoparticles.
Article

Statins Have Unexpected Effect on Pool of Powerful Brain Cells
Neuroscientists found that statins, spur glial progenitor cells, which are very similar to stem cells, to shed their flexibility and become one particular type of cell.
Article

Smart Materials Get Smarter
Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have fabricated a variety of detailed three-dimensional microstructures, known as hydrogels, and have shown that they can expand and bend the hydrogels by altering the chemistry of the environment in which they were built. “This provides a significant new way of interacting with cultured cells,” says Shear, an associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry. “The microstructures can be used to capture individual cells, and once isolated, clonal colonies of those cells can be grown and studied.”
Article

University of Utah Seeks People With Severe Artery Disease To Study Whether Patients’ Own Stem Cells Can Help Prevent Leg Loss
The University of Utah recently was selected as a site in a nationwide trial of the experimental treatment and U of U medical researchers are looking for participants with critical limb ischemia, a severe obstruction of the arteries that feed blood to the legs.
Article

BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics Inc Completes Positive Study for Spinal Cord Injuries
BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics Inc. has completed a preclinical study in collaboration with the W.M. Keck Center for Collaborative Neuroscience at Rutgers in an effort to repair spinal cord injuries in animals through the transplantation of Brainstorm’s neurotrophic factor adult stem cells.
Article

Allogeneic Stem Cells Effectively Treat Eye Diseases
Mesoblast Limited recently announced highly significant preclinical trial results of the adult stem cell technology platform for the treatment of eye diseases associated with abnormal blood vessels. The results of the trial in 42 non-human primates, conducted in conjunction with Mesoblast’s New York-based sister company Angioblast Systems Inc., indicate that combining an anti-VEGF agent with the company’s proprietary stem cells may lead to improved vision and a reduction in the frequency of subsequent anti-VEGF injections into the eyes.
Article

ABSTRACTS, REVIEWS AND SPECIAL REPORTS

Efficient Hematopoietic Differentiation of Human Embryonic Stem Cells on Stromal Cells Derived from Hematopoietic Niches
Hematopoietic stem cells derived from human embryonic stem cells could provide a therapeutic alternative to bone marrow transplants, but the efficiency of currently available derivation protocols is low. In this study, the researchers investigated whether coculture with monolayers of cells derived from mouse AGM and fetal liver, or with stromal cell lines derived from these tissues, can enhance hESC hematopoietic differentiation.
Article

VIDEO: Freezing, Thawing, and Packaging Cells for Transport
Cultured mammalian cells are used extensively in cell biology studies. It requires a number of special skills in order to be able to preserve the structure, function, behavior, and biology of the cells in culture. This unit describes the basic skills required to freeze and store cells and how to recover frozen stocks.
Video

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Policy

Code on Embryo Screening Planned
A code of practice to regulate the use of electronic chips to screen embryos is to be drawn up by the European Fertility Society’s ethics task force.
Article

Michigan Stem Cell Research Proposal Advances
Supporters of a ballot measure that would loosen Michigan’s restrictions on embryonic stem cell research took a big step toward placing it on the November ballot. The Stem Cell Research Ballot Question Committee said Monday it turned in more than 570,000 voter signatures backing the measure. More than 380,000 of them must be ruled valid for the proposal to reach voters.
Article

Business

Thermo Fisher Scientific Acquires Open Biosystems, Creating Unmatched RNAi Platform
Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. announced recently that it has acquired Open Biosystems, Inc., a provider of RNA interference, gene expression and protein detection products for life science research and drug discovery and development. The acquisition significantly expands Thermo Fisher Scientific’s leadership position in the growing RNAi field.
Article

International Stem Cell Corporation Announces Collaboration with Michigan State University to Study Parthenogenetic Stem Cells
International Stem Cell Corporation announced recently a new collaboration with leading stem cell researcher Jose Cibelli at Michigan State University as part of ISCO’s ongoing strategy to work with scientific leaders across the world to expand the scientific data relating to parthenogenetic stem cells.
Article

Inovio Biomedical and VGX Pharmaceuticals Sign Merger Agreement
Inovio Biomedical Corporation announced recently the signing of a definitive merger agreement, which provides for the issuance of Inovio Biomedical securities in exchange for all of the outstanding securities of VGX Pharmaceuticals.
Article

Stem Cell Sciences Granted UK Patent for New Growth Medium to Revolutionise Growth of Authentic Embryonic Stem Cells
Stem Cell Sciences plc recently announced that the UK Patent Office has granted it a patent covering the Company’s new range of stem cell culture media. The new Culticell iSTEM(TM) range uses the inhibitor based technology discovered by Professor Austin Smith and recently published in Nature journal (vol. 453, pp.519-523).
Article

California State University Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology Executive Director Dr. Susan Baxter Joins Histogen Board of Directors
Histogen, Inc. recently announced that Dr. Susan M. Baxter, Executive Director of the California State University Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology, has joined Histogen’s Board of Directors.
Article

Maryland Stem Cell Research Commission Elects Karen Rothenberg as Chair and Brenda Crabbs as Vice Chair
The Maryland Stem Cell Research Commission recently announced that it has elected Karen Rothenberg as chair and Brenda Crabbs as vice chair.
Article

NIH

NIGMS Will Consider Support of More Than One Position by Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research (PA-08-190) (NOT-GM-08-127)
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Delays in Grant Application Submission due to Fires – 2008
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Neurological Sciences Academic Development Award (NSADA) (K12)
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Social Neuroscience of Aging (R01)
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CBER

Draft Guidance for Industry: Use of Nucleic Acid Tests to Reduce the Risk of Transmission of West Nile Virus From Donors of Whole Blood and Blood Components Intended for Transfusion and Donors of Cells, Tissues, and Cellular and Tissue-Based Products; Request for Data
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FDA Critical Path Initiative (CPI) on the Move: Complexities and Challenges
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Current Licensed Establishments and Products
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Regulatory

FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION (United States)

FDA Changes Policy to Offer More Clarity on Drug Reviews
The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday announced a significant change in how it responds to drug applications, abandoning long-used bureaucratic language in order to better communicate where it stands on new medicines.
Article

MEDICINES AND HEALTHCARE PRODUCTS REGULATORY AGENCY (United Kingdom)

Making Payments to the MHRA
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UK Clinical Trial Authorisation Assessment Performance
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