Volume 9.20 | May 26

Cell Therapy News 9.20, May 26, 2008
     In this issue: Science | Policy | Business | NIH | CBER | Regulatory
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Top Stories

Transfusable Blood From a Stem Cell: A new technique for growing blood cells in vitro may reduce the need for blood donors.


Embryonic Stem Cells Are Self-Sufficient
Scientists have shown for the first time that embryonic stem cells are able to self-renew without the natural chemicals that scientists have so far used to maintain them and grow stem cell lines.

Experiment Advances Understanding of Cell Reprogramming
In a paper in the latest issue of Current Biology, Hochedlinger, an assistant professor in Harvard’s new Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology, reports genetically marking pancreatic beta cells – the cells that produce insulin – before successfully reprogramming them into iPS cells.

Pioneering Induction Of Bone Formation Using Embryonic Stem Cells
Researchers at the University of Twente break new ground by successfully creating bone tissue “in vivo”, using embryonic stem cells. They imitated bone formation in embryos and children, which uses cartilage as a template.

Current Regenerative Medical Techniques Hold Great Promise For Bladder Regeneration
Bladder regeneration via a neo-bladder replacement may prove to be effective in humans. The results of a new study, conducted in large mammals, suggest that this process could result in a regenerated bladder with similar characteristics of the native bladder and without the risks associated with a donated organ or other undesirable outcomes associated with current surgical interventions.

Many Paths, Few Destinations: How Stem Cells Decide What They’ll Be
A new study suggests that the conventional view, which assumes that cells are “instructed” to progress along prescribed signaling pathways, is too simplistic. Instead, it supports the idea that cells differentiate through the collective behavior of multiple genes in a network that ultimately leads to just a few endpoints.

Simple Model Cell is Key to Understanding Cell Complexity
A team of Penn State researchers has developed a simple artificial cell with which to investigate the organization and function of two of the most basic cell components: the cell membrane and the cytoplasm – the gelatinous fluid that surrounds the structures in living cells.

Researchers Develop First Transgenic Monkey Model of Huntington’s Disease
Scientists have developed the first genetically altered monkey model that replicates some symptoms observed in patients with Huntington’s disease, according to a new study funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Turning Back the Clock for Schwann Cells
Myelin-making Schwann cells have an ability every aging Hollywood star would envy: they can become young again. Parkinson et al. have pinned down a protein that returns the cells to their youth, a finding that might help researchers understand why myelin production falters in some diseases.

NCI Scientists Visualize Gene Regulation in Living Cells
A research team led by scientists at the National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, has applied advanced imaging methods and computer simulations to be able to glance at the regulation of a cancer-related gene in a living cell.

Stem Cells Might Contribute To Vascular Disease
Physician-scientists believe that stem cells might play a harmful role in the body’s reaction to trauma following common vascular surgery, like angioplasty.

Discovery of Cell Linked to Learning and Memory
Australian researchers have discovered stem cells in the brain that are vital for learning and memory. They have also worked out how to activate the cells so they produce new neurons, a discovery that could eventually lead to better treatments for degenerative brain conditions of ageing, such as dementia.

Researchers Expand Natural Killer Cells In Cord Blood To Fight Leukemia
Researchers from The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center have found a therapy that effectively kills human leukemia cells in mice using natural killer cells from umbilical cord blood.

ImmuneRegen(R) Announces Preliminary Results on Dermatological Testing: Homspera(R) Accelerates Wound Healing in vivo and Shows Immune Enhancing Activity on Subcutaneous Administration
ImmuneRegen BioSciences, Inc. recently announced that preliminary results from ongoing studies in dermatological applications support Management’s goals in pursuing licensure for accelerated wound healing as well as subcutaneous immunomodulation and vaccine adjuvant activity.

Muscle-Derived Stem Cells Prove Effective in Repairing Sphincter Damage to Restore Continence
Transplantation of muscle-derived stem cells may provide a safe and effective treatment for patients suffering from urinary incontinence following a surgical procedure. Two studies presented recently show that patients with incontinence resulting from iatrogenic sphincter damage may benefit from this therapy.

Maxi-K Gene Transfer May Prove to be Safe and Effective Erectile Dysfunction Treatment
Maxi-K therapy is a unique, locally administrated gene-transfer technology to treat erectile dysfunction. The safety and the restorative effects of the treatment have been shown by data from participants in a phase I trial. In some men, the effect lasted up to six months.


The Ground State of Embryonic Stem Cell Self-Renewal
Here the researchers show that extrinsic stimuli are dispensable for the derivation, propagation and pluripotency of ES cells. Self-renewal is enabled by the elimination of differentiation-inducing signalling from mitogen-activated protein kinase.

Decreased Proliferation of Mesenchymal Stem Cells in Corticosteroid-induced Osteonecrosis of Femoral Head
The ability of self-repair in patients with corticosteroid-induced osteonecrosis of the femoral head is limited, and it has been suggested the cause is likely relevant to the poor proliferation activity of mesenchymal stem cells in the femoral head region. This study measured the number and proliferation activity of human mesenchymal stem cells in patients both with and without corticosteroid-induced osteonecrosis of the femoral head.

Bone Cells Found to Influence Blood Stem Cell Replication and Migration
Using a novel investigatory technique, researchers at the Joslin Diabetes Center have established that osteoblasts, cells responsible for bone formation, are also directly involved in the proliferation and expansion of blood-forming hematopoietic stem cells.


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British Parliament Moves to Allow Human-Animal Embryo Mix
The British Parliament has voted to allow the creation of human-animal embryos, which some scientists say are vital to find cures for diseases but which critics argue pervert the course of nature.

Stem Cell Sector Awaits Patent Ruling
The future of Scottish stem cell companies is dependent on next month’s European Patent Office ruling on whether inventions involving human embryonic stem cells can be patented, experts have claimed.

German Parliament Approves Looser Limit on Stem Cell Imports
The German parliament’s upper house on Friday approved a move to loosen slightly a law that imposes strict limits on the import of embryonic stem cells for medical research.

South Korean Parliament Passes Law Banning Type of Cloning, Broadening Embryonic Stem Cell Research
South Korea’s Parliament on Friday passed a law that bans inserting human somatic cells – or cells that can form tissues and organs – into animal eggs and allows researchers to use human embryonic stem cells to treat "general" diseases.

Bush Signs Genetics Anti-Discrimination Law
President George W. Bush on Wednesday signed a law that prohibits discrimination against anyone whose genetic information shows a predisposition to illnesses such as cancer or heart disease.

Next President Could Reshape Stem Cell Research Policy
All three major presidential candidates – Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) – have expressed support for stem cell research, but how those varying degrees of support might affect federal policy remains unclear.


Pro-Pharmaceuticals Collaborates with BioCancell Therapeutics to Deliver siRNA Through IV Administration
Pro-Pharmaceuticals, Inc. recently announced it is collaborating with BioCancell Therapeutics to target destruction of H19 genes in cancer cells by delivering small interfering Ribonucleic Acid through intravenous administration of Pro-Pharmaceuticals’ DAVANAT(R) and BioCancell’s BC-819 patient-oriented, targeted therapy.

California Stem Cell and BioFocus DPI to Collaborate in ALS Association-Funded Research Using Human Motor Neurons
California Stem Cell, Inc. recently announced that it has signed a contract to supply international drug discovery organization BioFocus DPI, the service division of Galapagos, with its MOTORPLATE(TM) 96 assay-ready well plates, containing motor neuron progenitors derived from human embryonic stem cells.

Medistem Laboratories, Inc. and Orcist Bio Inc. Enter Into Collaboration Agreement Focused on Augmenting Stem Cell Activity
Medistem Laboratories, Inc. and Orcrist Bio Inc. announced recently that the companies have entered a collaborative agreement to co-develop therapies based upon their respective core intellectual properties.

VistaGen Licenses Customized Stem Cell-Based Drug Discovery Assays to Sanwa, a Japanese Pharmaceutical Company
VistaGen Therapeutics, Inc. recently announced that Sanwa Kagaku Kenkyusho Co. Ltd. has, pursuant to the terms of the parties’ joint research and development agreement, selected to license three customized ES Cell-based beta-islet differentiation assay systems developed under the agreement. Financial terms were not disclosed.

StemCor Systems, Inc. Awarded NIH SBIR Grant for Bone Marrow Aspiration Platform
StemCor Systems, Inc. announced recently that it has received 510(k) clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to market its MarrowMiner(TM) for the harvest of bone marrow.

Einstein Receives $25-Million Gift to Support Stem Cell and Epigenomic Research and Clinical Skills Training
The Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University announced recently that it has received a major gift of $25 million – one of the largest in the College’s 53-year history – from Ruth L. and David S. Gottesman.

University of Florida Receives $1M For Research, Thanks to Naples Couple
A Naples family has donated $1 million to the University of Florida to research experimental stem cell therapy for potentially treating children with blindness.

Stem Cell Sciences Launches Novel Stem Media Based on New Understanding of Embryonic Stem Cell Self-Renewal
Stem Cell Sciences plc recently announced the launch of Culticell iSTEM, a novel, serum-free, feeder-free embryonic stem cell research media product, that maintains cells in their basal, pluripotent state. Culticell iSTEM provides researchers with a purer starting point for investigating the biological potential of ES cells.

New Self Contained Stem Cell Workstation Makes Atmospheric Control Easier – Ruskinn Launches SCI-tive Workstation
Ruskinn has announced the launch of its innovative, Stem Cell Investigations total in vitro environment workstation – SCI-tive – specifically designed for both embryonic and adult stem cell isolation, optimisation, differentiation and incubation within a totally enclosed controlled culture environment.

Disgraced Expert Seeks Funding for Pet Cloning Firm
South Korea’s disgraced cloning expert Hwang Woo-Suk is seeking foreign investors for his new pet cloning business, a scientist close to him said Thursday.

$1b Lab Complex Planned For Cambridge
A California real estate company wants to build a $1 billion laboratory complex in Cambridge over the next decade to accommodate growing life sciences companies starved for space.


New GSA Directive Affects NIH Reimbursement Process for New Reviewers and Reviewers Up for CCR Renewal


Considerations for Allogeneic Pancreatic Islet Cell Products

CBER Foreign Regulators Seminar



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