World Stem Cell Summit 2010

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Stem Cell Action News - December 9, 2008

Stem Cell Action News

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Stem Cell Action

Stem Cell Report

December 9, 2008

Welcome to issue number 3 of Stem Cell Action News, dedicated to informing the stem cell community on the latest and most important developments impacting the Pro-Cures Movement.


Stem cell stakeholders, mark your calendars. The Genetics Policy Institute announced that the 2009 World Stem Cell Summit will take place in Baltimore, Maryland at the Baltimore Convention Center on September 21-23, 2009. Co-hosted by Johns Hopkins University and the University System of Maryland, the Summit will unite the international stem cell community of researchers, leaders from the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, non-profit representatives, advocates, investors, philanthropists, healthcare professionals, law and policy experts, bioethicists, regulators, institutional oversight members and policy-makers.

The diverse summit agenda will feature multiple panels discussing updates on the influence of stem cells upon a broad range of medical conditions. Educational programs will focus on all cell types including human embryonic stem cells, adult stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells. In addition, the Summit will address funding opportunities (federal, public and private), commercialization, venture capital, market trends, regulatory issues, ethical and societal issues, philanthropic opportunities, medical tourism, cell banking, intellectual property, insurance, international perspectives, clinical use and the 2009-10 advocacy agenda.

New to the 2009 World Stem Cell Summit will be an advanced science track featuring some of the world’s most prominent scientists addressing the latest discoveries in basic research, translational and preclinical findings, bioengineering and cellular scaffold initiatives, clinical trials updates, and an in depth look at the pharmaceutical industry’s short term and long term vision for stem cells. Visit to learn more about the industry’s flagship event!


Attention patients, physicians and stem cell consumers – the International Society for Stem Cell Research took strong action against unsafe stem cell clinics last week by publishing Guidelines for the Clinical Translation of Stem Cells. GPI encourages all stakeholders to download, read and share these principal guidelines. Visit to download the document and access the Cell Stem Cell summarizing article. 

Breast cancer research continues to progress. Canadian scientists at the B.C. Cancer Agency took normal human breast stem cells and transplanted them into immunodeficient mice to prevent cellular graft rejection. Subsequently, the human breast stem cells grew into complete, miniature milk producing mammary glands. This critical breakthrough gives scientists a better understanding of how normal human breast stem cells morph into cancer stem cells – a devastating scientific phenomenon taking the lives of too many loved ones (full article link).

Meanwhile, on November 25th, Novocell’s CEO Alan Lewis, was named chief executive of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.   Lewis will lead the 600-person organization in their ambitious fundraising efforts to finance and support the top scientific research projects (full article link).

Traveling abroad? Scientists, think twice before carrying stem cells onboard your next flight. Claudin Castillo’s landmark windpipe transplant suffered an alarming hiccup when the airline, EasyJet, refused to transport 1.5liters of stem cells needed for the pioneering operation. Fortunately, Philip Jungebluth, the medical student in charge of the cells called for a private jet from Bristol to Barcelona and saved stem cell history (full article link).

If you ripped your hair out over this news…..relax and sit back. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine isolated stem cells responsible for hair follicle growth in mice. Four weeks after transplantation, the cells grew new hair follicles and healthy hair. Ultimately, the discovery could add hair to skin grafts for burn patients (full article link).

Also last week, in a scientific trial led by Professor Brinker of the International Neuroscience Institute in Hanover, physicians injected a 49 year-old male with engineered mesenchymal stem cells to produce cell death inhibiting proteins – this technique could limit neurological damage after stroke. In this study, allogeneic encapsulated stem cells avoided the immune system and acted as a protein delivery tool, not as replacement tissue (full article link). Pharmaceutical companies view stem cells as powerful drug discovery and delivery tools, not just therapeutic agents…learn more about this topic at the 2009 World Stem Cell Summit.

For the first time, a heart attack patient had autologous bone marrow derived stem cells injected into his heart via angioplast surgery within 5 hours of the attack. Led by Dr. Anthony Mathur and Professor John Martin, the procedure occurred at the London Chest Hospital and was funded by the UK Stem Cell Foundation (full article link). Also in cardiac stem cell application, University of Wisconsin launched a study sponsored by the Cellular Therapies unit of Baxter Healthcare Corporation. Fifteen to twenty additional research institutes will participate in the study. Lastly, researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburg repaired damaged heart muscle in an animal model using a population of stem cells derived from human skeletal muscle tissue (full article link).


Following ISSCR’s Guidelines for the Clinical Translation of Stem Cells, the MS Society is calling on the Government to regulate medical advertising. Additionally, the society is warning people with MS to avoid a current trial by a company called Integrated BioSciences (IBS website not known) due to lack of evidence to support an MS stem cell treatment. The company is approaching and seeking payment from people with MS in exchange for stem cell injections – the trial has no US or EU approval (full article link).

In Europe, regulators at the European Patent Office upheld a June decision to reject a patent application regarding the use of stem cells filed by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation in 1995. “European patent law prohibits the patenting of human stem cell cultures whose preparation necessarily involves the destruction of human embryos,” stated the European Patent Office (full article link)

Additionally, the UK National Stem Cell Network warns that lack of funding threatens the progress of UK stem cell research, especially during times of positive scientific policy change in the states (full article link)

In Japan, Kyoto University research team cultivated two additional “strains” – lines of stem cells – adding to the previous three embryonic stains. Kyoto University will soon seek approval from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology to distribute the cells to research facilities inside and outside of Japan (full article link).


Cell Stem Cell – Nimet Maherali and Konrad Hochedlinger compare currently reported iPSC protocals, identify the essential common steps, and suggest criteria for defining fully reprogrammed stem cells. Download this must-read review on the state of iPSC technology.

December 1st issue of Blood includes three progressive stem cell articles. Firstly, Advanced Cell Technology published data on large scale production of functional oxygen carrying erythrocytes from human embryonic stem cells (article link). Secondly, Si et al provide evidence that transdifferentiation of c-kit+ cells with a foamy viral vector is sufficient for functional correction of a stem cell phenotype in murine fanconi anemia model. Lastly, University of Oxford reports heme oxegenase (HO-1) plays a key role in HSC maintenance. HO-1 deficient mice showed increased cell proliferation after induced stress by 5-FU treatment. HO-1 is heme isoform produced during heme degredation.

At the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, researchers pioneered a human embryonic stem cell based system for modeling ALS. GPI salutes this ground-breaking work published in the December 4th issue of Cell Stem Cell (full article link)

In Missouri, Linheng Li’s Lab at the Stowers Institute identified the precise location of the bone marrow stem cell niche. This noteworthy accomplishment adds laser focus sight on the bone marrow micro-environment – giving physicians greater control during bone marrow transplantation (full article link).


Stem Cell Sciences share trading was suspended on November 25th. The board is currently reviewing the company's financial position and strategic options (full article link).

Osiris completed patient enrolment in its Phase III trial evaluating Prochymal for the treatment of steroid-refractory acute Graft versus Host Disease (full article link).

Three University of Wisconsin-Madison spin off companies – Cellular Dynamics International, Stem Cell Products, and iPSC Cells Inc. – are merging into one. Furthermore, Cellular Dynamics International successfully raised 18 million to translate UW stem cell research.

Advanced Cell Technologies Inc. entered a joint venture with Korean biotech CHA Biotech Co. Ltd and then formed the new Worchester, MA based company, Allied Cell Technology, to develop human blood cells (full article link)

Neuralstem announced last week its collaboration with China Medical University & Hospital of Taiwan to develop additional ALS stem cell clinical trials (full article link)

Novogen and Yale University researchers revealed their mTOR inhibitor NV-128 has the potential to act against cancer stem cells in addition to rapidly proliferating cells in established tumors (full article link).

Parthenogenetic stem cell company, International Stem Cell Corporation, formed a partnership with Absorption Systems to utilize ISCO’s parthenogenetic stem cell derived human corneal tissue to measure drug disposition, drug safety, and drug-drug interactions (full article link).   

ViaGen Inc. partnered with Monash Institute in Melbourne, Australia to access horse embryonic stem cells for the repair of tendon, ligament and cartilage in the performance horse industry (full article link).

Cyntellect entered a collaborative research agreement with the University of Florida Interdisciplinary Center for Biotechnology Research targeting cancer stem cell research. Cyntellect’s proprietary LEAP system will purify the cancer stem cells without disturbing the micro-environment (full article link).

Contact GPI
Robert E. Margolin
Associate Director


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