Volume 6.02 | Jan 19

ESC & iPSC News 6.02, January 19, 2011.
In this issue:  Science News |  Current Publications |  Industry News |  Policy News |  Events
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TOP STORY

Patient-Derived Stem Cells Could Help Test Cardiac Disease Treatments 

Scientists turned skin cells into induced pluripotent stem cells, then coaxed these stem cells to become cardiac cells. The newborn heart cells showed an abnormal electrical activity in the laboratory, recapitulating clinical presentation of the long QT syndrome patient, making them useful for studying this potentially lethal disorder. [Press release from the American Technion Society discussing online prepublication in Nature]

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SCIENCE NEWS

Skin Provides Australia’s First Adult Stem Cells for Rare Genetic Disease
Scientists have developed Australia’s first adult induced pluripotent stem cell lines using skin biopsies from patients with the rare genetic disease Friedreich Ataxia. [Press release from the University of Melbourne discussing online prepublication in Stem Cell Reviews and Reports]

Scientists Bring New Hopes to Translate Human Stem Cell Technologies to the Clinic
Scientists have successfully generated new human induced pluripotent stem cells that are free from animal products. [University of Hong Kong Press Release]

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CURRENT PUBLICATIONS (Ranked by Impact Factor of the Journal)

Modeling the Long QT Syndrome with Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells
Researchers report the development of a patient/disease-specific human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) line from a patient with type-2 long QT syndrome (which is due to the A614V missense mutation in the KCNH2 gene). The generated iPSCs were coaxed to differentiate into the cardiac lineage. [Nature]
 
Efficient Human iPS Cell Derivation by a Non-Integrating Plasmid from Blood Cells with Unique Epigenetic and Gene Expression Signatures
The analysis suggested that newborn cord blood and adult peripheral blood mononuclear cells (MNCs) display unique signatures that are closer to induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and human embryonic stem cells (ESCs) than age-matched fibroblasts to iPSCs/ESCs, thus making blood MNCs an attractive cell choice for the generation of integration-free iPSCs. [Cell Res]

Myod Gene Suppression by Oct4 Is Required for Reprogramming in Myoblasts to Produce Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells
Results indicate that suppression of MyoD gene expression by Oct4 is required for the initial reprogramming step in the development of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from myoblasts. This data suggests that the skeletal muscle system provides a well-defined differentiation model to further elaborate on the effects of iPSC reprogramming in somatic cells. [Stem Cells]

Germline Competency of Parthenogenetic Embryonic Stem Cells from Immature Oocytes of Adult Mouse Ovary
Researchers report efficient generation of germline competent parthenogenetic embryonic stem cell (pESC) lines (named as IVM pESCs) from parthenogenetic embryos developed from immature oocytes of adult mouse ovaries following in vitro maturation (IVM) and artificial activation. [Hum Mol Genet]

Smad-Interacting Protein-1 and MicroRNA 200 Family Define a Nitric Oxide-Dependent Molecular Circuitry Involved in Embryonic Stem Cell Mesendoderm Differentiation
The results are the first demonstrating that the microRNA 200 family and Smad-interacting protein-1 (Sip1/ZEB2) transcription factor are regulated by nitric oxide, indicating an unprecedented molecular circuitry important for telomerase regulation and early differentiation of mES. [Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol]

Generation of Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Lines from Friedreich Ataxia Patients
Researchers demonstrate that following in vitro differentiation the patient-derived induced pluripotent stem (FA-iPS) cells give rise to the two cell types primarily affected in Friedreich ataxia (FRDA), peripheral neurons and cardiomyocytes. The FA-iPS cell lines have the potential to provide valuable models to study the cellular pathology of FRDA and to develop high-throughput drug screening assays. [Stem Cell Rev Rep]

Multi-Scale Biomimetic Topography for the Alignment of Neonatal and Embryonic Stem Cell-Derived Heart Cells
Researchers present a tunable culture platform comprised of biomimetic ‘wrinkles’ that simulate the heart’s complex anisotropic and multi-scale architecture for facile and robust cardiac cell alignment. They demonstrate the cellular and sub-cellular alignment of both neonatal mouse cardiomyocytes as well as those derived from human embryonic stem cells. [Tissue Eng Part C Methods]

Functional Comparison and Expression Profiling of Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell- and Embryonic Stem Cell-Derived Endothelial Cells 
The analysis demonstrates that gene expression variation of human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC)- endothelial cells (ECs) and human embryonic stem cell (hESC)-ECs contributes significantly to biological differences between hiPSC-ECs and hESC-ECs, as well as the “distances” among hiPSCs, hESCs, hiPSC-ECs, hESC-ECs, and human umbilical vein endothelial cells. [Stem Cells Dev]

Human Feeder Cells Can Support the Undifferentiated Growth of Human and Mouse Embryonic Stem Cells Using Their Own Basic Fibroblast Growth Factors
Human feeder cells are able to support the undifferentiated growth of human and mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs) via bFGF synthesis. Furthermore a bFGF-dependent pathway might be crucial for maintaining the undifferentiated characteristics of mouse as well as human ESCs. [Stem Cells Dev]

Pluripotency Maintenance in Mouse Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer Embryos and Its Improvement by Treatment with the Histone Deacetylase Inhibitor TSA
Researchers followed the fate of the pluripotent cells within somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) embryos, from the late blastocyst to the early epiblast prior to gastrulation. The data show a delay in development correlated with a defect in forming and maintaining a correct number of Oct4 expressing ICM and epiblast cells in SCNT embryos. [Cell Reprogram]

INDUSTRY NEWS

CIT Joins European Consortium Focusing on Improving Toxicity Testing
CIT will partake in ScreenTox, the five-year joint R&D project coordinated by Inserm, the French National Institute for Health and Medical Research. The ScreenTox project recognizes a major paradigm shift in predictive toxicology that induced pluripotent stem cells will permit in the coming years. [Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News]

$1,700,000 Funding of NeoStem’s Very Small Embryonic-Like Stem Cells Being Developed to Treat Osteoporosis Recommended by the Department of Defense Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program
NeoStem, Inc. announced that its FY2010 Technology/Therapeutic Development Award application number PR101055 has been recommended for funding by the Department of Defense Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program of the Office of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs. [NeoStem, Inc. Press Release]
 
A United and Powerful Initiative Launched to Strengthen the UK Economy
LifeSciencesUK, a new initiative representing the human healthcare industry, has been launched by the UK’s four key healthcare trade associations to build on the government’s commitment to transform the life sciences environment in the UK. [LifeSciencesUK Press Release]


Pluristem on Track to Proceed to a Phase II/III Clinical Trial in Critical Limb Ischemia (CLI) Under a Joint FDA-EMA Protocol, and a Phase II Clinical Trial in Intermittent Claudication (IC)
Pluristem Therapeutics, Inc.  announced the successful completion of a parallel scientific advisory process with the European Medical Agencies (EMA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding the Company’s planned clinical development program for PLX-PAD. [Pluristem Therapeutics, Inc. Press Release]


POLICY NEWS

Maryland Stem Cell Research Commission Receives Record Number of Applications for Funding
The Maryland Stem Cell Research Commission has received 180 applications to the Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund in response to its three 2011 Requests for Applications. [Maryland Stem Cell Research Commission, United States]

$1.5 Million Available for Exploring Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells for Substance Abuse Research
The U.S. Health and Human Services Department’s National Institutes of Health has announced that it expects to award a discretionary grant for developing and standardizing methods to generate cell types from human induced pluripotent stem cells. [National Institutes of Health, United States]

Data Exclusivity for Biologics
As part of the recently enacted health-care reform legislation in the United States, the U.S. Congress authorized an abbreviated regulatory pathway for the approval of biosimilars (also often described as follow-on biologics). [Congress, United States]

France Mulls Embryo Research Reform
France’s tight restrictions on human embryonic stem cell research might soon be eased. As parliament prepares to debate the issue next month, researchers’ calls for reform are garnering political support. [Ministry of Science, France]

Center for Scientific Review; Notice of Closed Meetings (FR Doc. 2011-629) [National Institutes of Health, United States]

Center for Scientific Review; Notice of Closed Meetings (FR Doc. 2011-871) [National Institutes of Health, United States]
 
Office of Biotechnology Activities; Recombinant DNA Research: Action Under the NIH Guidelines for Research Involving Recombinant DNA Molecules (NIH Guidelines) (FR Doc. 2011-1037) [National Institutes of Health, United States]

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