RegMed Daily Dialogue, 7/8/11, trepidation with smaller upward movements
US stocks closed lower Friday for just the 2nd time in 2 weeks as a disappointing monthly jobs report prompted investors to “dial back” recent optimism about the economic recovery but recovered much of their losses by the close, cementing gains for the week. After losing more than 100 points in the wake of a disappointing report on US jobs; US equities were trading decidedly lower following the disappointing nonfarm report. All major sectors were in negative territory. Industrials and financials are leading declines.
Regenerative medicine/stem cell universe is “SPECULATING” with … some smaller upward movement to neutralize … quick trigger short traders on Friday (7/8/11) … The NASDAQ is DOWN -12.85 (-0.45%) to 2,859.81. The Dow is also DOWN -62.29 (-0.49%) to 12,657.20. Staying above 12K is soothing …
Advanced Cell Technology (ACTC.OB), Athersys (ATHX), BioMimetic (BMTI), Cytori (CYTX), Geron (GERN), ImmunoCellular Therapeutics (IMUC.OB), NeoStem (AMEX: NBS), Osiris (OSIR), ThermoGenesis (KOOL), StemCells (STEMD), Pluristem (PSTI) and ReNeuron (LSE: RENE.L) are up
Today’s Sermon: Hanging tough in this “time frame” – “Never give in and never give up” – appreciation is on the way …
What’s driving the regenerative medicine/stem cell market – It is Friday, a summer doldrums day – TGIF but, research centers abound, science briefs are becoming more relevant … in animal models … only!
Synthetic Biology: Creating New Forms of Life: When leading genomic scientist, J. Craig Venter announced in May 2010 that he’d created the first self-replicating organism with a totally synthetic genome (the genetic material of an organism), it was the first time many people had heard of synthetic biology. Venter did not actually create a synthetic living organism—rather his research team created a synthetic copy of a bacterium’s DNA, which, when transplanted into an organism, took over its operation. Nonetheless it was a giant step for synthetic biology, a cutting-edge area of science that combines engineering with biology to construct living organisms from chemical ingredients, much like electrical engineers build computer chips. The bottom line, but scientists don’t yet fully understand how living cells work so inserting synthesized DNA into live host cells can be unpredictable.
The National Institutes of Health offers the list of Universities and Institutions at which stem cell research is currently underway: Harvard Stem Cell Institute: Supports research into all aspects of stem cell biology, with special emphasis on those areas with the greatest potential for improving human health; McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine: Established for University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center scientists and clinical faculty working to develop tissue engineering, cellular therapies, biosurgery, and artificial and biohybrid organ devices; National Neural Stem Cell Resource: Provides neural stem cells harvested from the post-natal, post-mortem, human brain to the research community for stem cell research; New York Stem Cell Science (NYSTEM): Supports basic, applied, translational or other research and development activities that will advance scientific discoveries in fields related to stem cell biology; Pittsburgh Development Center of Magee-Women’s Research Institute: Explores the molecular biology of cell function, including the potential of stem cells for treating human disease; New York Stem cell Science: Part of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, the world’s oldest and largest private institution devoted to patient care, education, and research into cancer. Stanford University School of Medicine/Institute for Cancer/Stem Cell Biology and Medicine: Explains Stanford’s involvement and perspective on stem cell issues, with links to related sites. Texas Heart Institute Stem Cell Center: Dedicated to the study of adult stem cells and their role in treating cardiovascular disease, including clinical trials (in human patients), as well as many preclinical studies (in the laboratory) using stem cells. Tulane University Center for Gene Therapy: Prepares and distributes well-characterized marrow stromal cells (MSCs) derived from adult human and rodent bone marrow using standardized protocols. University of California, San Francisco/Developmental and Stem Cell Biology Program: Highlights of UCSF human embryonic stem cell research. University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine’s Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute: ISCI’s goal is to spearhead cell based therapies for a host of untreatable diseases. Its focus includes research in basic cell biology, hematology, oncology, cardiology, dermatology, diabetes and endocrinology, neurology, orthopedics, pediatrics, and ethics and science policy. University of Minnesota: Stem Cell Institute: Works to enhance understanding of stem cells’ potential to improve human and animal health. University of Wisconsin/Embryonic Stem Cell Research: Scientists at UW-Madison were the first to successfully isolate and culture human embryonic stem cells.
Stem cells show promise for patients with severe angina: http://www.latimes.com/health/boostershots/la-heb-stem-cells-angina-20110708,0,5223442.story?track=rss. Lead author Dr. Douglas Losordo states: “While we need to validate these results in pIII studies before definitive conclusions can be drawn, we believe this is an important milestone in considering whether the body’s own stem cells may one day be used to treat chronic cardiovascular conditions.” The bottom line, the procedure isn’t without risk. Two patients had difficulties during the injections—one recovered, but one person from the placebo group died from cardiac tamponade, in which excess fluid leads to heart compression. The study, which was conducted by researchers at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and Baxter International Inc., extracted stem cells from all participants and then divided them into three treatment groups, varying the amount of cell concentrations they received. After 6 months, those who received both high and low doses of stem cells showed fewer episodes of angina and were able to exercise significantly longer than those in the control group. “The concept of using one’s own stem cells to treat disease is highly attractive to the medical community and this research is consistent with Baxter’s commitment to driving scientific advances that can lead to promising new treatments for critically ill patients,” said Norbert Riedel, Ph.D., Baxter’s chief scientific officer. “These results provide important insights into the potential for these cells to be used in larger scale settings, and we look forward to moving into phase III studies in the near future to hopefully substantiate these results.”
Researchers identify master cell for human blood cells: Researchers at Toronto’s University Health Network reported in the journal Science that they have identified the mother cell that is responsible for generating human blood cells. The bottom line, infusing the master cell in a mouse allowed for the regeneration of a human blood supply, the researchers said. “I expect we’ll have the first blueprint of the genetic program driving these stem cells within the next two years. … In five years, we’ll have the tools to expand them from human patients,” said study leader John Dick, senior scientist at the UHN’s Ontario Cancer Institute.
Researchers replace tumor-ridden windpipe with artificial one: Doctors at the Karolinska University Hospital in Sweden have successfully replaced a patient’s cancer-ridden windpipe with an artificial one developed in a lab using synthetic materials and the patient’s stem cells. The patient has not shown signs of rejection of the artificial organ and should have a normal life expectancy, the doctors said. This is the first case of successful implantation of a wholly artificial and permanent windpipe. The bottom line, about 48 hours after the transplant, imaging and other studies showed appropriate cells in the process of populating the artificial windpipe, which had begun to function like a natural one. There was no rejection by the patient’s immune system, because the cells used to seed the artificial windpipe came from the patient’s own body. Dr. Russell of the McGowan Institute sounded a note of caution about using this technique to build more-complex organs. For example, while tissue engineering can help to build hollow organs such as a windpipe, it will likely prove a bigger challenge to use the technique for creating the heart, which has much thicker tissue. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304793504576432093996469056.html?mod=dist_smartbrief
Marker found that enables segregation of True Human Hematopoietic Stem Cells from Multipotent Progenitors: Scientists claim to have identified markers that enable the segregation of rare, truly pluripotent human hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) from multipotent progenitors (MPPS). They identified CD49f as a specific marker for pluripotent HSCs, enabling their isolation using flow cytometry. The team, at the Campbell Family Institute for Cancer Research/Ontario Cancer Institute, tracked the expression of a number of adhesion molecules in HSC-enriched subsets. They report their work in Science in a paper titled “Isolation of Single Human Hematopoietic Stem Cells Capable of Long-Term Multiline age Engraftment.” The bottom line, self-renewing human HSCs that are capable of giving rise to all the different cell types in the blood system are rare and hard to isolate from the mix of transient MPPS in stem cell populations, report John E. Dick, Ph.D., and colleagues. Although transplant and xenograft repopulation studies have suggested that the bulk of HSCs are CD34+, most CD34+ cells are actually lineage-restricted progenitors.
Liver tumors contain stem cells responsible for cancer recurrence: Mice and patients whose liver tumors have high levels of the protein CD24 on cancer stem cells were more likely to resist chemotherapy and experience cancer recurrence and metastasis than those without or with low CD24 count, Hong Kong scientists reported in the journal Cell Stem Cell. The bottom line, findings suggest that these cancer stem cells could be used as drug targets for liver cancer. http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/07/07/us-cancer-liver-stemcells-idUSTRE7661XV20110707 Liver cancers are embedded with a type of super cancer stem cells that make them resistant to chemotherapy, spread to other body parts and stage a comeback even after they are surgically removed. The discovery, published this week in the journal Cell Stem Cell, is important because it means experts can target these stem cells in their fight against liver cancer, a major blight in China and southeast Asia.