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Archive for the ‘Cardiac Stem Cells’ Category

Researcher: Unexpected fountain of youth found in …

LONDON Cardiac stem cells derived from young hearts helped reverse the signs of aging when directly injected into the old hearts of elderly rats, a studypublished Monday in the European Heart Journal demonstrated.

The old rats appeared newly invigorated after receiving their injections.

As hoped, the cardiac stem cells improved heart function yet also provided additional benefits.

The rats fur fur, shaved for surgery, grew back more quickly than expected, and their chromosomal telomeres, which commonly shrink with age, lengthened.

The old rats receiving the cardiac stem cells also had increased stamina overall, exercising more than before the infusion.

Its extremely exciting, said Dr. Eduardo Marban, primary investigator on the research and director of the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute.

Witnessing the systemic rejuvenating effects, he said, its kind of like an unexpected fountain of youth.

Weve been studying new forms of cell therapy for the heart for some 12 years now, Marban said.

Some of this research has focused on cardiosphere-derived cells.

Theyre progenitor cells from the heart itself, Marban said.

Progenitor cells are generated from stem cells and share some, but not all, of the same properties.

For instance, they can differentiate into more than one kind of cell like stem cells, but unlike stem cells, progenitor cells cannot divide and reproduce indefinitely.

From hisown previous research, Marban discovered that cardiosphere-derived cells promote the healing of the heart after a condition known as heart failure with preserved ejection fraction, which affects more than 50 percent of all heart failure patients.

Since heart failure with preserved ejection fraction is similar to aging, Marban decided to experiment on old rats, ones that suffered from a type of heart problem thats very typical of what we find in older human beings: The hearts stiff, and it doesnt relax right, and it causes fluid to back up some.

He and his team injected cardiosphere-derived cells from newborn rats into the hearts of 22-month-old rats thats elderly for a rat.

Similar old rats received a placebo injection of saline solution. Then, Marban and his team compared both groups to young rats that were 4 months old. After a month, they compared the rats again.

Even though the cells were injected into the heart, their effects were noticeable throughout the body, Marban said

The animals could exercise further than they could before by about 20 percent, and one of the most striking things, especially for me (because Im kind of losing my hair) the animals regrew their fur a lot better after theyd gotten cells compared with the placebo rats, Marban said.

The rats that received cardiosphere-derived cells also experienced improved heart function and showed longer heart cell telomeres.

The working hypothesis is that the cells secrete exosomes, tiny vesicles that contain a lot of nucleic acids, things like RNA, that can change patterns of the way the tissue responds to injury and the way genes are expressed in the tissue, Marban said.

It is the exosomes that act on the heart and make it better as well as mediating long-distance effects on exercise capacity and hair regrowth, he said.

Looking to the future, Marban said hes begun to explore delivering the cardiac stem cells intravenously in a simple infusion instead of injecting them directly into the heart, which would be a complex procedure for a human patient and seeing whether the same beneficial effects occur.

Dr. Gary Gerstenblith, a professor of medicine in the cardiology division of Johns Hopkins Medicine, said the study is very comprehensive.

Striking benefits are demonstrated not only from a cardiac perspective but across multiple organ systems, said Gerstenblith, who did not contribute to the new research.

The results suggest that stem cell therapies should be studied as an additional therapeutic option in the treatment of cardiac and other diseases common in the elderly.

Todd Herron, director of the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Centers Cardiovascular Regeneration Core Laboratory, said Marban, with his previous work with cardiac stem cells, has led the field in this area.

The novelty of this bit of work is, they started to look at more precise molecular mechanisms to explain the phenomenon theyve seen in the past, said Herron, who played no role in the new research.

One strength of the approach here is that the researchers have taken cells from the organ that they want to rejuvenate, so that makes it likely that the cells stay there in that tissue, Herron said.

He believes more extensive study, beginning with larger animals and including long-term followup, is needed before this technique could be used in humans.

We need to make sure theres no harm being done, Herron said, adding that extending the lifetime and improving quality of life amounts to a tradeoff between the potential risk and the potential good that can be done.

Capicor, the company that grows these special cells, is focused solely on therapies for muscular dystrophy and heart failure with ongoing clinical trials involving human patients, Marbn said.

Capicor hasnt announced any plans to do studies in aging, but the possibility exists.

After all, the cells have been proven completely safe in over 100 human patients, so it would be possible to fast-track them into the clinic, Marban explained: I cant tell you that there are any plans to do that, but it could easily be done from a safety viewpoint.

Original post:
Researcher: Unexpected fountain of youth found in …

Cardiac stem cells rejuvenate rats’ aging hearts, study says – CNN

The old rats appeared newly invigorated after receiving their injections. As hoped, the cardiac stem cells improved heart function yet also provided additional benefits. The rats’ fur fur, shaved for surgery, grew back more quickly than expected, and their chromosomal telomeres, which commonly shrink with age, lengthened.

The old rats receiving the cardiac stem cells also had increased stamina overall, exercising more than before the infusion.

“It’s extremely exciting,” said Dr. Eduardo Marbn, primary investigator on the research and director of the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute. Witnessing “the systemic rejuvenating effects,” he said, “it’s kind of like an unexpected fountain of youth.”

“We’ve been studying new forms of cell therapy for the heart for some 12 years now,” Marbn said.

Some of this research has focused on cardiosphere-derived cells.

“They’re progenitor cells from the heart itself,” Marbn said. Progenitor cells are generated from stem cells and share some, but not all, of the same properties. For instance, they can differentiate into more than one kind of cell like stem cells, but unlike stem cells, progenitor cells cannot divide and reproduce indefinitely.

Since heart failure with preserved ejection fraction is similar to aging, Marbn decided to experiment on old rats, ones that suffered from a type of heart problem “that’s very typical of what we find in older human beings: The heart’s stiff, and it doesn’t relax right, and it causes fluid to back up some,” Marbn explained.

He and his team injected cardiosphere-derived cells from newborn rats into the hearts of 22-month-old rats — that’s elderly for a rat. Similar old rats received a placebo injection of saline solution. Then, Marbn and his team compared both groups to young rats that were 4 months old. After a month, they compared the rats again.

Even though the cells were injected into the heart, their effects were noticeable throughout the body, Marbn said

“The animals could exercise further than they could before by about 20%, and one of the most striking things, especially for me (because I’m kind of losing my hair) the animals … regrew their fur a lot better after they’d gotten cells” compared with the placebo rats, Marbn said.

The rats that received cardiosphere-derived cells also experienced improved heart function and showed longer heart cell telomeres.

Why did it work?

The working hypothesis is that the cells secrete exosomes, tiny vesicles that “contain a lot of nucleic acids, things like RNA, that can change patterns of the way the tissue responds to injury and the way genes are expressed in the tissue,” Marbn said.

It is the exosomes that act on the heart and make it better as well as mediating long-distance effects on exercise capacity and hair regrowth, he explained.

Looking to the future, Marbn said he’s begun to explore delivering the cardiac stem cells intravenously in a simple infusion — instead of injecting them directly into the heart, which would be a complex procedure for a human patient — and seeing whether the same beneficial effects occur.

Dr. Gary Gerstenblith, a professor of medicine in the cardiology division of Johns Hopkins Medicine, said the new study is “very comprehensive.”

“Striking benefits are demonstrated not only from a cardiac perspective but across multiple organ systems,” said Gerstenblith, who did not contribute to the new research. “The results suggest that stem cell therapies should be studied as an additional therapeutic option in the treatment of cardiac and other diseases common in the elderly.”

Todd Herron, director of the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center’s Cardiovascular Regeneration Core Laboratory, said Marbn, with his previous work with cardiac stem cells, has “led the field in this area.”

“The novelty of this bit of work is, they started to look at more precise molecular mechanisms to explain the phenomenon they’ve seen in the past,” said Herron, who played no role in the new research.

One strength of the approach here is that the researchers have taken cells “from the organ that they want to rejuvenate, so that makes it likely that the cells stay there in that tissue,” Herron said.

He believes that more extensive study, beginning with larger animals and including long-term followup, is needed before this technique could be used in humans.

“We need to make sure there’s no harm being done,” Herron said, adding that extending the lifetime and improving quality of life amounts to “a tradeoff between the potential risk and the potential good that can be done.”

Capicor hasn’t announced any plans to do studies in aging, but the possibility exists.

After all, the cells have been proven “completely safe” in “over 100 human patients,” so it would be possible to fast-track them into the clinic, Marbn explained: “I can’t tell you that there are any plans to do that, but it could easily be done from a safety viewpoint.”

See the article here:
Cardiac stem cells rejuvenate rats’ aging hearts, study says – CNN

‘Unexpected fountain of youth’ found in cardiac stem cells, says researcher – fox6now.com

Cardiac stem cells derived from young hearts helped reverse the signs of aging when directly injected into the old hearts of elderly rats, astudypublished Monday in the European Heart Journal demonstrated.

The old rats appeared newly invigorated after receiving their injections. As hoped, the cardiac stem cells improved heart function yet also provided additional benefits. The rats fur, shaved for surgery, grew back more quickly than expected, and their chromosomal telomeres, which commonly shrink with age, lengthened.

The old rats receiving the cardiac stem cells also had increased stamina overall, exercising more than before the infusion.

Its extremely exciting, said Dr. Eduardo Marbn, primary investigator on the research and director of the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute. Witnessing the systemic rejuvenating effects, he said, its kind of like an unexpected fountain of youth.

Weve been studying new forms of cell therapy for the heart for some 12 years now, Marbn said.

Some of this research has focused on cardiosphere-derived cells.

Theyre progenitor cells from the heart itself, Marbn said. Progenitor cells are generated from stem cells and share some, but not all, of the same properties. For instance, they can differentiate into more than one kind of cell like stem cells, but unlike stem cells, progenitor cells cannot divide and reproduce indefinitely.

From hisown previous research, Marbn discovered that cardiosphere-derived cells promote the healing of the heart after a condition known as heart failure with preserved ejection fraction, which affects more than 50% of all heart failure patients.

Since heart failure with preserved ejection fraction is similar to aging, Marbn decided to experiment on old rats, ones that suffered from a type of heart problem thats very typical of what we find in older human beings: The hearts stiff, and it doesnt relax right, and it causes fluid to back up some, Marbn explained.

He and his team injected cardiosphere-derived cells from newborn rats into the hearts of 22-month-old rats thats elderly for a rat. Similar old rats received a placebo injection of saline solution. Then, Marbn and his team compared both groups to young rats that were 4 months old. After a month, they compared the rats again.

Even though the cells were injected into the heart, their effects were noticeable throughout the body, Marbn said

The animals could exercise further than they could before by about 20%, and one of the most striking things, especially for me (because Im kind of losing my hair) the animals regrew their fur a lot better after theyd gotten cells compared with the placebo rats, Marbn said.

The rats that received cardiosphere-derived cells also experienced improved heart function and showed longer heart cell telomeres.

The working hypothesis is that the cells secrete exosomes, tiny vesicles that contain a lot of nucleic acids, things like RNA, that can change patterns of the way the tissue responds to injury and the way genes are expressed in the tissue, Marbn said.

It is the exosomes that act on the heart and make it better as well as mediating long-distance effects on exercise capacity and hair regrowth, he explained.

Looking to the future, Marbn said hes begun to explore delivering the cardiac stem cells intravenously in a simple infusion instead of injecting them directly into the heart, which would be a complex procedure for a human patient and seeing whether the same beneficial effects occur.

Dr. Gary Gerstenblith, a professor of medicine in the cardiology division of Johns Hopkins Medicine, said the new study is very comprehensive.

Striking benefits are demonstrated not only from a cardiac perspective but across multiple organ systems, said Gerstenblith, who did not contribute to the new research. The results suggest that stem cell therapies should be studied as an additional therapeutic option in the treatment of cardiac and other diseases common in the elderly.

Todd Herron, director of the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Centers Cardiovascular Regeneration Core Laboratory, said Marbn, with his previous work with cardiac stem cells, has led the field in this area.

The novelty of this bit of work is, they started to look at more precise molecular mechanisms to explain the phenomenon theyve seen in the past, said Herron, who played no role in the new research.

One strength of the approach here is that the researchers have taken cells from the organ that they want to rejuvenate, so that makes it likely that the cells stay there in that tissue, Herron said.

He believes that more extensive study, beginning with larger animals and including long-term followup, is needed before this technique could be used in humans.

We need to make sure theres no harm being done, Herron said, adding that extending the lifetime and improving quality of life amounts to a tradeoff between the potential risk and the potential good that can be done.

Capicor, the company that grows these special cells, is focused solely on therapies for muscular dystrophy and heart failure with ongoing clinical trials involving human patients, Marbn said.

Capicor hasnt announced any plans to do studies in aging, but the possibility exists.

After all, the cells have been proven completely safe in over 100 human patients, so it would be possible to fast-track them into the clinic, Marbn explained: I cant tell you that there are any plans to do that, but it could easily be done from a safety viewpoint.

See the rest here:
‘Unexpected fountain of youth’ found in cardiac stem cells, says researcher – fox6now.com

Scientists discovered how to rejuvenate rats by injecting stem cells … – Pulse Headlines

On Monday, a group of scientists at Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles, CA, discovered througha world-first experimenta form to rejuvenate elder rats old hearts by injecting cardiac stem cells from much younger rats with healthier hearts. They hope this process might eventually become useful to humans.

The first time an experiment like this was carried out was in 2009 by the same Los Angeles-based team. Now, they also proved the possibility of reversing aging in old hearts.

Heart failure is a typical cause of death in humans. Around 48 percent of women and 46 percent of men die a year from heart attacks and other heart-related diseases. They are the first reason of death worldwide, and a leading cause of death in the United States, killing over 375,000 Americans a year. Nearly half of all African-American population suffers from heart diseases.

Researchers took stem cells from the hearts of 4-month-old rats, shaped them into cardiosphere-derived cells and injected them into the hearts of other rats of 22 monthsold, an age that makes them be considered as old. They carried out a similar process to another group of rats but injected saline instead. Scientists later compared both groups.

After receiving the stem cells injection, researchers noted a significant change in the way old rats continued to live. They turned much more active and improved their functionalities. Not just their heart rates got better and faster, but also the way they ran and breathed. Their hair started to grow faster, their chromosomal telomeres which commonly shrink with age lengthened, plus other benefits. The rodents began to progressively improve their capacity of exercise along with their stamina overall.

The animals could exercise further than they could before by about 20%, and one of the most striking things, especially for me (because Im kind of losing my hair) the animals regrew their fur a lot better after theyd gotten cells compared with the placebo rats, said Dr Eduardo Marbn, director of the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute and lead author, who is also extremely excited for having witnessed the unexpected fountain of youth.

In 2009, his team successfully repaired the damaged heart of a man who had suffered a heart attack, using his own heart tissue.

Stem cells are a really basic type of cells that can be molded and converted into other much-specialized cells through a process called differentiation, which is basicallyshaping them into any kind of body cell.They form in embryos like embryonic stem cells -, which help in the growth process of babies, along with the millions of other different cell types they need before their birth.

One of many cells scientists generated from stem cells is called progenitor cell, which shares some of the same properties. But unlike the original cells, progenitor cells are not able to divide and reproduce indefinitely. Dr. Marbn also said they discovered cardiosphere-derived cells, which tend to promote the healing of a condition that affects more than 50 percent of patients suffering from heart failure.

Our previous lab studies and human clinical trials have shown promise in treating heart failure using cardiac stem cell infusions, said Dr Marbn. Now we find that these specialized stem cells could turn out to reverse problems associated with aging of the heart.

According to Dr. Marbn, stem cells secrete exosomes, tiny vesicles which contain a lot of nucleic acids, things like RNA, that can change patterns of the way the tissue responds to injuries, and the way genes are expressed in the tissue. They are placed into the heart, and act to transform it into a better organ, helping it at the same time to improve exercise capacity and hair regrowth, he explained.

Now, Dr. Marbn is exploring a much easier way to deliver the stem cells intravenously, instead of injecting them directly into the heart. Thus avoiding surgeries, which tend to be more complicated and expensive for the patient.

Striking benefits are demonstrated not only from a cardiac perspective but across multiple organ systems, said Dr. Gary Gerstenblith, a professor of medicine in the cardiology division of Johns Hopkins Medicine, who did not contribute to the new research. The results suggest that stem cell therapies should be studied as an additional therapeutic option in the treatment of cardiac and other diseases common in the elderly.

Now, scientistsneed to make more extensive studies before using the technique in humans.

Source: CNN

The rest is here:
Scientists discovered how to rejuvenate rats by injecting stem cells … – Pulse Headlines

Stem Cells in the Treatment of Heart Failure MyHeart

The use of stem cells in the treatment of heart failure cases is currently being investigated. Cardiovascular disease is the #1 killer in the United States accounting forone third ofall deaths.Heart disease kills more people than cancer, HIV, diabetesor trauma. Many advances in medical and surgical treatment of heart disease have contributed to a growing number of patients in their 70s and 80s with congestive heart failure. An estimated 1% of the Western world has congestive heart failure, including over 5 million Americans with an additional 550,000 new cases each year. Patients with advanced heart failure who require hospitalization, have a 50% mortality within the first fiveyears.

The patients with significant coronary artery disease can sometimes undergo coronary artery bypass surgery or percutaneous coronary intervention to open up blocked arteries. In addition, current medical treatment of patients with congestive heart failure include proven beneficial medicine such as beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, angiotensinIIreceptor blockers, angiotensin IIreceptor blocker Neprilysin inhibitors and diuretics. When appropriate, resynchronization of the right and left ventricles can be accomplished with special types of pacemaker. However, even after following all of these guideline proven therapies, some patients still run out of options and continue to have severe and debilitating congestive heart failure. Heart transplant is a last resort for end stage heart disease.There is a very low number of donor hearts and transplant programs have very restricted eligibility criteria leaving a large number patients with very few options.

An example of a normal LV-gram.

An example of a normal echocardiogram.

There are reasons to believe that regenerative therapy could really help patients with congestive heart failure. Multi-potent cardiac stem cells exist in the heart and participate in the normal turnover of heart muscle cells and small blood vessels.A heart attack kills heart muscle which is made of millions of heart cells. The question is: Would regenerative therapy be able to replace those heart cells or cardiac myocytes?

Thousands of patients have been enrolled in clinical trials to address this question. Regenerative or stem cell therapy has been shown to be safe. Modest benefits have been demonstrated but the mechanism has not been completely elucidated. So far, there is no evidence that cells regenerate from the transplanted stem cells. Animal studies have shown that only 1% of the stem cells injected into the heart tissue are detectable after 1 month. The clinical benefits observed appeared to be due to arelease of growth factors which triggers endogenous repair of the heart cells and inhibits cell death and fibrosis resulting in increased performance of the heart muscle.

An example of an abnormal LV-gram.

An example of an abnormal echocardiogram.

Adult stem cells derived from the bone marrow of healthyyoung donors have been used in clinical trials of heart failure. In the Dream-HF clinical trial, we are using immuno-selected mesenchymalstem cells from healthy adult allogeneic donors. The cells are obtained from their bone marrow, expandedin a manufacturing facility and arecryopreserved until use. These cells are shipped to clinical sites and used for the study.

Allogeneic mesenchymal stem cells have been evaluated in multiple nonclinical and clinical studies, several of which were initiated by Mesoblast, the phase 3 study sponsor. Therapeutic indications under evaluation included heart failure, myocardial infarction, rheumatoid arthritis and graft versus host disease. Currently, results from clinical studies suggest that allogeneic stem cells are generally well tolerated. Moreover,in a phase 2 study ofpatients with heart failure, mesenchymal precursor cell therapy was associated withimprovement inreduction in heart failure hospitalization events and improvementsin functional exercise capacity.

Stem cells from healthy normal volunteers are administered as a 1 time dose of 150 million cells. Myocardial locations are defined within the left ventricle byLeft Ventriculogram (LV-gram)imaging and electromechanical mapping as viable for cell delivery. The cells are administered via a trans-endocardial injection at 15-20 sites inside the heart cavity using a Myostar injection catheter and a NOGA cardiac mapping system. Dr Mendelsohn is the interventional cardiologist performing the injections at BBH Princeton hospital. Only he knows which patients received the stem cells, and he doesnt follow them. The other heart failure specialists follow the patients in the research clinic.

The patients that are injected with stem cells are compared to a group of patient who undergo a Sham or placebo treatment. The treatment arm is not known to the patient or to the heart failure specialist such as myself. This is the only way to find out whether the treatment with stem cells really works. All the patients will be followed by their study team and will be monitored for the clinical effects of stem-cell treatment in patients with congestive heart failure.

No matter how many cases of congestive heart failure we treat, I am still captivated by each and every persons story. One such patient, is a young lady that was treated for heart failure and had a defibrillator placed in 2009. She sought our help and was inquiring about stem cell treatment for her heart. She was only in her early 40s and was desperate to try something new. She was on maximal medical therapy and did not qualify at that time because she was stable. In 2015 however, a clinical deterioration lead to several cardiac procedures including ablation of ventricular arrhythmias and an upgrade of her pacemaker/defibrillator. I thought we were going to lose her. At some point, she was going into incessant ventriculartachycardias and required several prolonged hospitalizations. We referred her to a transplant center and she was evaluated by the transplant team. At the same time, she enrolled in our stem cell research Dream-HF program at the end of 2015.Because she is still part of the research study, I am not sure whether she received stem cells or not. She is amongst one of the many patients that are participating ina stem cell research program that is evaluating cutting edge technology in heart failure. The Dream-HF study is still enrolling patients with chronic systolic heart failure of either ischemic or nonischemic etiology.

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Stem Cells in the Treatment of Heart Failure MyHeart

‘Unexpected fountain of youth’ found in cardiac stem cells, says researcher – CNN

The old rats appeared newly invigorated after receiving their injections. As hoped, the cardiac stem cells improved heart function yet also provided additional benefits. The rats’ fur fur, shaved for surgery, grew back more quickly than expected, and their chromosomal telomeres, which commonly shrink with age, lengthened.

The old rats receiving the cardiac stem cells also had increased stamina overall, exercising more than before the infusion.

“It’s extremely exciting,” said Dr. Eduardo Marbn, primary investigator on the research and director of the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute. Witnessing “the systemic rejuvenating effects,” he said, “it’s kind of like an unexpected fountain of youth.”

“We’ve been studying new forms of cell therapy for the heart for some 12 years now,” Marbn said.

Some of this research has focused on cardiosphere-derived cells.

“They’re progenitor cells from the heart itself,” Marbn said. Progenitor cells are generated from stem cells and share some, but not all, of the same properties. For instance, they can differentiate into more than one kind of cell like stem cells, but unlike stem cells, progenitor cells cannot divide and reproduce indefinitely.

Since heart failure with preserved ejection fraction is similar to aging, Marbn decided to experiment on old rats, ones that suffered from a type of heart problem “that’s very typical of what we find in older human beings: The heart’s stiff, and it doesn’t relax right, and it causes fluid to back up some,” Marbn explained.

He and his team injected cardiosphere-derived cells from newborn rats into the hearts of 22-month-old rats — that’s elderly for a rat. Similar old rats received a placebo injection of saline solution. Then, Marbn and his team compared both groups to young rats that were 4 months old. After a month, they compared the rats again.

Even though the cells were injected into the heart, their effects were noticeable throughout the body, Marbn said

“The animals could exercise further than they could before by about 20%, and one of the most striking things, especially for me (because I’m kind of losing my hair) the animals … regrew their fur a lot better after they’d gotten cells” compared with the placebo rats, Marbn said.

The rats that received cardiosphere-derived cells also experienced improved heart function and showed longer heart cell telomeres.

Why did it work?

The working hypothesis is that the cells secrete exosomes, tiny vesicles that “contain a lot of nucleic acids, things like RNA, that can change patterns of the way the tissue responds to injury and the way genes are expressed in the tissue,” Marbn said.

It is the exosomes that act on the heart and make it better as well as mediating long-distance effects on exercise capacity and hair regrowth, he explained.

Looking to the future, Marbn said he’s begun to explore delivering the cardiac stem cells intravenously in a simple infusion — instead of injecting them directly into the heart, which would be a complex procedure for a human patient — and seeing whether the same beneficial effects occur.

Dr. Gary Gerstenblith, a professor of medicine in the cardiology division of Johns Hopkins Medicine, said the new study is “very comprehensive.”

“Striking benefits are demonstrated not only from a cardiac perspective but across multiple organ systems,” said Gerstenblith, who did not contribute to the new research. “The results suggest that stem cell therapies should be studied as an additional therapeutic option in the treatment of cardiac and other diseases common in the elderly.”

Todd Herron, director of the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center’s Cardiovascular Regeneration Core Laboratory, said Marbn, with his previous work with cardiac stem cells, has “led the field in this area.”

“The novelty of this bit of work is, they started to look at more precise molecular mechanisms to explain the phenomenon they’ve seen in the past,” said Herron, who played no role in the new research.

One strength of the approach here is that the researchers have taken cells “from the organ that they want to rejuvenate, so that makes it likely that the cells stay there in that tissue,” Herron said.

He believes that more extensive study, beginning with larger animals and including long-term followup, is needed before this technique could be used in humans.

“We need to make sure there’s no harm being done,” Herron said, adding that extending the lifetime and improving quality of life amounts to “a tradeoff between the potential risk and the potential good that can be done.”

Capicor hasn’t announced any plans to do studies in aging, but the possibility exists.

After all, the cells have been proven “completely safe” in “over 100 human patients,” so it would be possible to fast-track them into the clinic, Marbn explained: “I can’t tell you that there are any plans to do that, but it could easily be done from a safety viewpoint.”

Read the rest here:
‘Unexpected fountain of youth’ found in cardiac stem cells, says researcher – CNN

Stem cell therapy for heart failure gets a gold-standard trial – Salon

In the days after a heart attack, surviving patients and their loved ones can breathe a sigh of relief that the immediate danger is over but the scar tissue that forms during the long healing process can inflict lasting damage. Too often it restricts the hearts ability to fill properly between beats, disrupting rhythm and ultimately leading to heart failure. Yet a new possible treatment may help to revitalize an injured ticker.

A cadre of scientists and companies is now trying to prevent or reverse cardiac damage by infusing a cocktail of stem cells into weakened hearts. One company, Melbourne, Australiabased Mesoblast, is already in late-stage clinical trials, treating hundreds of chronic heart failure patients with stem cell precursors drawn from healthy donors hip bones. A randomized trial that includes a placebo group is scheduled to complete enrollment next year.

Mesoblasts earlier-stage trials, published in 2015 inCirculation Research, found that patients who received injections of its cell mixture had no further problems related to heart failure.

Promising results from the new trial would be a major step forward for a field that has long been criticized for studies that are poorly designed, incomplete or lack control-group comparisons, as well as for the peddling of unproved therapies in many clinics worldwide.

Another company, Belgium-based TiGenix, hopes to attack scar tissue before it forms by treating patients with a mixture of heart stem cells within seven days of a heart attack. This approach has just completed phase II trials, but no findings have yet been published.

There are still many unanswered questions about how stem cells typically derived from bones could help heal the heart. Leading theories suggest they may help fight inflammation, revitalize existing heart cells, or drive those cells to divide or promote new blood-vessel growth, says Richard Lee, leader of the cardiovascular program at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. Other stem cell scientists, including Joshua Hare, who conducted earlier-stage Mesoblast research and directs the Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute at the University of Miami, say the cells may work in multiple ways to heal scar tissue. According to Hare, the stem cells could ultimately be a truly regenerative treatment.

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Stem cell therapy for heart failure gets a gold-standard trial – Salon

Texas Heart Institute Awarded Grant to Study Sex Differences in Cardiac Repair – Texas Medical Center (press release)

Earlier this year, Texas Heart Institute received Alpha Phi Foundations 2017 Heart to Heart Grant. The $100,000 grant will fund research led by Doris Taylor, Ph.D., director of the Regenerative Medicine Research and the Center for Cell and Organ Biotechnology at the Texas Heart Institute, to study cardiac repair in women at the cellular level.

Were just really passionate about these projects that have long-term clinical relevancy, as a women-driven organization and being committed to womens heart health, said Colleen Sirhal, vice chair of the Alpha Phi Foundation.

The study will explore sex differences in blood, bone marrow and stem cells of patients enrolled in cell therapy clinical trials.

While bone marrow cell therapy has been used to treat cardiovascular disease in clinical trials, very few studies have been conducted to assess the sex differences in efficacy and outcomes. By performing a proteomic analysis of the samples and evaluating the proteins that cells produce and secrete, the results could shed light on unanswered questions related to critical sex-specific differences in cardiovascular disease, potentially leading to improved cell therapies.

Its about time that were paying attention to sex differences, Taylor said. Were not just small men. The biology is different.

Heart disease remains the No. 1 cause of death in both men and women in the United States, yet theres a limited understanding in the scientific community as to why it affects men and women differently. For example, women 45 years old and younger have a higher likelihood than men of dying within a year of their initial heart attack.

In addition, women have a higher risk of developing small vessel disease, in which the walls of tiny vessels within the heart muscle become blocked rather than larger arteries, causing heart-related chest pain. Because the major coronary arteries may look normal, women with small vessel disease can have a heart attack go undiagnosed and untreated.

We know heart disease happens differently in men and women, Taylor said. More young women than men die of heart disease. Why is that? Is there something that happens early? If we only look at these women who are older, are we missing something major? By looking at healthy, normal younger women, were going to be able to do comparisons across time, comparisons by disease, and comparisons by sex. I think thats really exciting.

Historically, women and minorities have largely been underrepresented in research and clinical trials, especially pertaining to cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Taylors colleague at the Texas Heart Institute, Stephanie Coulter, M.D., a cardiologist and the director of the Center for Womens Heart and Vascular Health at Texas Heart Institute and a recipient of the 2013 Heart to Heart Grant, is actively recruiting younger women to participate in her research registry.

Since women are typically affected by heart disease a decade or more later than men, age may also have played a role in this underrepresentation, Coulter said. Our Womens Center research is focusing on women age 18 and older to address this very issue.

Coulter added that trials focusing on prevention in women, such as the Womens Health Initiative and Womens Health Study, have, in fact, had clinical impact. However, the percentage of women enrolling in clinical trials continues to be disproportionate to the prevalence of cardiovascular disease in women, but we are seeing improvements thanks to multiple initiatives in the U.S. that continue to address the issue of women in clinical trials.

Its easy for people to assume that if you study men, itll apply to women, but it seems anathema to people to assume that if you study women it might benefit men, Taylor said. At the end of the day, when it comes time to look at the data and ask, How does this treatment work in women? How does this treatment work in men?, oftentimes there arent enough women enrolled in the trials to split that out. Statistically, youd be doing yourself a disservice.

Taylor has spent nearly two decades studying key contributors to cardiac repair at the cellular level, specifically looking at proteins cells produce and secrete based on gender as a new frontier in cell therapy.

Early on in Taylors career, she studied how bone marrow cells behaved based on gender. She extracted cells from male mice and administered them to female mice and vice versa, allowing her to track the Y chromosome. The results showed that only the males treated with female cells improved. This phenomenon raised the question of whether or not the bone marrow cells were the same.

After measuring the bone marrow cells that were present in males and females, Taylor discovered that the cells were inherently different: In the male mice, there were more inflammatory cells, fewer progenitor and stem cells and a different number of immune cells than in the female mice. In addition, when the bone marrow cells were placed in a petri dish, the female cells produced more growth factors responsible for recruiting repair cells after an injury.

Taylor conducted follow-up experiments in which she gave female and male cells to both female and male mice. The results confirmed her hunch: The only cells that were reparative were the female cells.

It made me realize a critical detail for the first time:Every time we take bone marrow from a different person with the intention of delivering it back to them as a therapy, if we look at the cells present in the marrow, theyd be different, Taylor said. Which means, every time were doing an autologous cell therapytrial, in which you take bone marrow and deliver it back to an individual, you are giving each person a completely different or unique drug in that trial.

Through the Heart to Heart grant, the data from Taylors research will allow her to build upon her early research on sex differences and, hopefully, identify a way to optimize cell therapy.

Already cells are as good as some drugs. If we optimize them and choose the right cells for the right patient at the right time, maybe well hit the home run, Taylor said.

Read more:
Texas Heart Institute Awarded Grant to Study Sex Differences in Cardiac Repair – Texas Medical Center (press release)

Techshot system headed to space – Evening News and Tribune

GREENVILLE Onboard the next SpaceX cargo spacecraft launching to the International Space Station (ISS) from Pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center will be a commercial research system owned and operated by Techshot Inc. The equipment will conduct regenerative medicine experiments onboard the station before returning to Earth in the same capsule for a splashdown off the coast of Southern California approximately 30 days later.

Techshots ADvanced Space Experiment Processor (ADSEP) is a device approximately the size of a microwave oven that contains three separate modules, each of which simultaneously can process experiments in three separate on-orbit replaceable automated mini-laboratory cassettes. Two of the three cassettes on the mission will conduct research for a team led by Robert Schwartz, Ph.D., from the University of Houston.

Funded by the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), the study will evaluate a new approach to growing human tissue for transplant. The microgravity environment onboard the ISS could improve cell growth and development and 3D tissue formation, enabling discoveries that will advance translational disease treatments. Previous studies on Earth by Schwartz and his collaborators at the Texas Heart Institute and the Baylor College of Medicine have found that low gravity environments help specially programmed stem cells move toward becoming new heart muscle cells, which may be used to repair damaged hearts on Earth.

The third cassette contains an experiment conducted by and for Techshot itself. The company is developing a 3D bioprinter for the ISS known as the Techshot BioFabrication Facility (BFF), which it expects to launch to the station near the end of 2018. Critical to the success of the printer will be the ability to provide nutrients and mechanical stress for organs and tissues it manufactures in space strengthening them and keeping them viable for transplantation back on Earth.

Approximately 36 hours prior to launch, Techshot scientists in a laboratory at the Kennedy Space Center will 3D print a one centimeter thick construct consisting of stem cells and heart muscle cells. Theyll then place it inside the prototype BFF cell culturing subsystem, which for this mission is temporarily housed inside an ADSEP cassette. The printer used in the lab will be the same modified nScrypt unit that was the first to 3D print cardiac constructs with adult human stem cells in microgravity aboard an aircraft in parabolic flight. Video captured inside the cassette during the month-long experiment, and the tissue itself which is expected to have developed its own micro blood vessels will be evaluated for effectiveness after return from space.

Techshots space bioprinting program leverages its terrestrially based technologies for cell isolation and vascular graft development, and its decades long experience culturing cells in space, said Techshot Chief Scientist Eugene Boland, Ph.D., in a news release. Being able to test our novel approach for culturing 3D printed cells more than a year before we fly the whole BFF is invaluable. The data from this mission will get us one step closer toward our goal of helping eliminate organ shortages.

Founded in 1988, Techshot Inc., develops technologies used in the aerospace, defense and medical industries. Through its Space Act Agreement with NASA, and its role as an official CASIS Implementation Partner, the company provides equipment and services that help federal, institutional and industrial customers live and work in space. http://www.Techshot.space

Submitted

More here:
Techshot system headed to space – Evening News and Tribune

Stem-cell treatment may harm heart disease patients – ISRAEL21c

For patients with severe and end-stage heart failure there are few treatment options left apart from transplants and stem-cell therapy. But a new Israeli study finds that stem-cell therapy may harm heart-disease patients.

The research, led by Prof. Jonathan Leor of Tel Aviv Universitys Sackler Faculty of Medicineand Sheba Medical Center and conducted by TAUs Dr. Nili Naftali-Shani, explores the current practice of using cells from the host patient to repair tissue and contends that this can prove toxic for patients.

We found that, contrary to popular belief, tissue stem cells derived from sick hearts do not contribute to heart healing after injury, said Leor. Furthermore, we found that these cells are affected by the inflammatory environment and develop inflammatory properties. The affected stem cells may even exacerbate damage to the already diseased heart muscle.

Tissue or adult stem cells blank cells that can act as a repair kit for the body by replacing damaged tissue encourage the regeneration of blood vessel cells and new heart muscle tissue. Faced with a worse survival rate than many cancers, many heart-failure patients have turned to stem-cell therapy as a last resort.

But our findings suggest that stem cells, like any drug, can have adverse effects, said Leor. We concluded that stem cells used in cardiac therapy should be drawn from healthy donors or be better genetically engineered for the patient.

The researchers, who published their study in the journal Circulation, also discovered the molecular pathway involved in the negative interaction between stem cells and the immune system as they isolated stem cells in mouse models of heart disease. Afterward, they focused on cardiac stem cells in patients with heart disease.

The results could help improve the use of autologous stem cells those drawn from the patients themselves in cardiac therapy, Leor said.

We showed that the deletion of the gene responsible for this pathway can restore the original therapeutic function of the cells, said Leor. Our findings determine the potential negative effects of inflammation on stem-cell function as theyre currently used. The use of autologous stem cells from patients with heart disease should be modified. Only stem cells from healthy donors or genetically engineered cells should be used in treating cardiac conditions.

The researchers are currently testing a gene editing technique (CRISPER) to inhibit the gene responsible for the negative inflammatory properties of the cardiac stem cells of heart disease patients. We hope our engineered stem cells will be resistant to the negative effects of the immune system, said Leor.

Read the rest here:
Stem-cell treatment may harm heart disease patients – ISRAEL21c

VistaGen Receives Notice of Allowance from US Patent and Trademark Office for US Patent regarding Breakthrough … – Marketwired (press release)

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, CA–(Marketwired – August 08, 2017) – VistaGen Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: VTGN), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing new generation medicines for depression and other central nervous system (CNS) disorders, announced today that the Company has received a Notice of Allowance from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for U.S. Patent Application No. 14/359,517 regarding proprietary methods for producing hematopoietic precursor stem cells, which are stem cells that give rise to all of the blood cells and most of the bone marrow cells in the body, with potential to impact both direct and supportive therapy for autoimmune disorders and cancer.

The breakthrough technology covered by the allowed U.S. patent was discovered and developed by distinguished stem cell researcher, Dr. Gordon Keller, Director of the UHN’s McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine in Toronto, one of the world’s leading centers for stem cell and regenerative medicine research and part of the University Health Network (UHN), Canada’s largest research hospital. Dr. Keller is a co-founder of VistaGen and a member of the Company’s Scientific Advisory Board. VistaGen holds an exclusive worldwide license from UHN to the stem cell technology covered by the allowed U.S. patent.

“We are pleased to report that the USPTO has allowed another important U.S. patent relating to our stem cell technology platform, stated Shawn Singh, Chief Executive Officer of VistaGen. “Because the technology under this allowed patent involves the stem cells from which all blood cells are derived, it has the potential to reach the lives of millions battling a broad range of life-threatening medical conditions, including cancer, with CAR-T cell applications and foundational technology we believe ultimately will provide approaches for producing bone marrow stem cells for bone marrow transfusions. As we continue to expand the patent portfolio of VistaStem Therapeutics, our stem cell technology-focused subsidiary, we enhance our potential opportunities for additional regenerative medicine transactions similar to our December 2016 sublicense of cardiac stem cell technology to BlueRock Therapeutics, while focusing VistaStem’s internal efforts on using stem cell technology for cost-efficient small molecule drug rescue to expand our drug development pipeline.”

About VistaGenVistaGen Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: VTGN), is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing new generation medicines for depression and other central nervous system (CNS) disorders. VistaGen’s lead CNS product candidate, AV-101, is in Phase 2 development, initially as a new generation oral antidepressant drug candidate for major depressive disorder (MDD). AV-101’s mechanism of action is fundamentally different from all FDA-approved antidepressants and atypical antipsychotics used adjunctively to treat MDD, with potential to drive a paradigm shift towards a new generation of safer and faster-acting antidepressants. AV-101 is currently being evaluated by the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in a small Phase 2 monotherapy study in MDD being fully funded by the NIMH and conducted by Dr. Carlos Zarate Jr., Chief, Section on the Neurobiology and Treatment of Mood Disorders and Chief of Experimental Therapeutics and Pathophysiology Branch at the NIMH. VistaGen is preparing to launch a 180-patient Phase 2 study of AV-101 as an adjunctive treatment for MDD patients with an inadequate response to standard, FDA-approved antidepressants. Dr. Maurizio Fava of Harvard University will be the Principal Investigator of the Company’s Phase 2 adjunctive treatment study. AV-101 may also have the potential to treat multiple CNS disorders and neurodegenerative diseases in addition to MDD, including neuropathic pain, epilepsy, Huntington’s disease, and levodopa-induced dyskinesia associated with Parkinson’s disease and other disorders where modulation of the NMDA receptors, activation of AMPA pathways and/or key active metabolites of AV-101 may achieve therapeutic benefit.

About VistaStemVistaStem Therapeutics is VistaGen’s wholly-owned subsidiary focused on applying human pluripotent stem cell (hPSC) technology, internally and with third-party collaborators, to discover, rescue, develop and commercialize (i) proprietary new chemical entities (NCEs), including small molecule NCEs with regenerative potential, for CNS and other diseases and (ii) cellular therapies involving stem cell-derived blood, cartilage, heart and liver cells. VistaStem’s internal drug rescue programs are designed to utilize CardioSafe 3D, its customized cardiac bioassay system, to develop small molecule NCEs for VistaGen’s pipeline. To advance potential regenerative medicine (RM) applications of its cardiac stem cell technology, in December 2016, VistaStem exclusively sublicensed to BlueRock Therapeutics LP, a next generation regenerative medicine company established in 2016 by Bayer AG and Versant Ventures, rights to certain proprietary technologies relating to the production of cardiac cells for the treatment of heart disease. In a manner similar to its exclusive sublicense agreement with BlueRock Therapeutics, VistaStem may pursue additional collaborations and potential RM applications of its stem cell technology platform, including using blood, cartilage, and/or liver cells derived from hPSCs, for (i) cell-based therapy, (ii) cell repair therapy, and/or (iii) tissue engineering.

For more information, please visit http://www.vistagen.com and connect with VistaGen on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Forward-Looking StatementsThe statements in this press release that are not historical facts may constitute forward-looking statements that are based on current expectations and are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual future results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such statements. Those risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, risks related to the successful launch, continuation and results of the NIMH’s Phase 2 (monotherapy) and/or the Company’s planned Phase 2 (adjunctive therapy) clinical studies of AV-101 in MDD, and other CNS diseases and disorders, including neuropathic pain and L-DOPA-induced dyskinesia associated with Parkinson’s disease, the potential for the Company’s stem cell technology to produce NCEs, cellular therapies, regenerative medicine or bone marrow stem cells to treat any medical condition, including autoimmune disorders and cancer, protection of its intellectual property, and the availability of substantial additional capital to support its operations, including the AV-101 clinical development activities described above. These and other risks and uncertainties are identified and described in more detail in VistaGen’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). These filings are available on the SEC’s website at http://www.sec.gov. VistaGen undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements.

Read the original post:
VistaGen Receives Notice of Allowance from US Patent and Trademark Office for US Patent regarding Breakthrough … – Marketwired (press release)

Camp gives rural students taste of lab – Indiana Gazette

MADISON, Wis. Its goggles, gloves and lab coats right now, Dan Murphy, outreach coordinator for the Morgridge Institute for Research, shouted, rallying participants in Summer Science Camp at the Institutes for Discovery on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus earlier this week.

There was excitement as campers, all students from high schools in rural Wisconsin, prepared and conducted an experiment testing the effect of medication on cardiac muscle cells, or cardiomyocytes.

Its pretty cool, said Tanner Oyen, a student at Lancaster High School in Grant County in southwestern Wisconsin, about the experiment in which students counted the beats made by stem-cell-derived cardiomyocytes before and after exposing them to verapamil, a calcium channel blocker.

The rural summer science camp, now in its 11th year, has brought more than 400 students from more than 70 high schools to the UW-Madison campus for a taste of what studying and maybe, someday, working in a university laboratory would be like.

Its mission is in part the Wisconsin Idea, bringing knowledge developed at UW-Madison to other parts of the state, Murphy said. Its also an opportunity for students from rural Wisconsin to know that going to a UW System school is possible for them.

And they see scientists not very much older than them model those aspirations, Murphy said.

Students from 10 state high schools participated in one of two science camps this month: Kickapoo Area School District in Viola; the North Crawford School District in Soldiers Grove; Iola-Scandinavia School District in Iola; Black Hawk School District in South Wayne; Chetek-Weyerhauser School District in Chetek; Lancaster High School; Phillips High School; Bruce High School; Coleman High School; and Hillsboro High School.

The students and their accompanying teachers spend four days on campus, staying in DeJope Residence Hall, and participate in a variety of educational and social activities.

On Wednesday, students heard a talk about how cardiac stem cells are developed and tested for use in medicine from Tim Kamp, a professor and researcher at the School of Medicine and Public Health. After hearing about the sometimes circuitous academic paths of graduate students who led the experiments, students got down to the business of calculating concentrations of verapamil and observing its effect on cardiomyocytes under the microscope.

Students chuckled at the idea of having the kind of equipment like the bio-safety cabinet that filtered the air around their cell samples and microscopes at their high schools.

Thats one reason why the summer camp is so educational. Its a great opportunity to get to work with new things, said Emma Peterson of Phillips High School in north central Wisconsin.

Her classmate, Kate Lochner, said the camp is giving her new appreciation for the potential of stem cell use, something she thinks will burgeon in the next few years. I think thats going to be really helpful in all fields of research, said Lochner.

Both girls see science and UW-Madison as possibilities in their futures.

Its a great school, said Lochner. A lot of kids from Phillips end up going here.

A lot percentage-wise can mean just a few students from small schools like Phillips, with an enrollment of 228 this past year.

Aaron Destiche, a middle and high school teacher in the Coleman School District, said the camp makes going to UW-Madison to pursue a career in science a tangible thing, not something off in the distance.

About 60 percent of Coleman graduates attend Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in nearby Green Bay, and 20 to 30 percent go on to a four-year college Destiche said. A handful of them, four or six a year, usually attend UW-Madison, he said.

Students on Wednesday noted that the beating of the cells slowed after the introduction of verapamil.

Does the drug affect the calcium? asked Annabelle Kolecki, a student at Coleman.

Thats a good hypothesis, replied graduate student Angelica de Lourdes, who comes from Puerto Rico.

Kolecki said the experiment energized the learning process. Its easier when you are getting hands-on experience, she said.

It was really cool to see actual heart cells, enthused classmate Kaily Klimek.

Both girls were excited about their week on campus. Being here gives us the chance to try new things, Klimek said.

The summer camp is free of charge to students and teachers attending, and is supported by several grants, including an endowment established by the family of Kathleen Smith, a former trustee of both the Morgridge Institute and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation.

Its hoped that the experience also provides professional development for teachers who accompany their students, Murphy said. To promote experimentation back in the classroom, teachers receive funding of $25 per student they bring to camp to purchase science supplies, he said.

Hillsboro High School teacher Deb Freitag returned this year with a new group of students after the camp was a big hit with those who attended three years ago.

My students dont get to work with this kind of equipment or with other students who have the same capabilities and excitement over science, she remarked. The school in Vernon County in western Wisconsin has about 170 students.

They were able to become nerds, as they put it, and be comfortable about it, Freitag said.

Students in the camp create posters on what they learn that Freitag displayed in her classroom. Seeing their names and what they did made them proud of who they are, she said, and started a buzz about science camp that had other students eager to attend.

Murphy said that camp organizers have just begun surveying students in the years after camp about what affect it had on their educational and career choices to gauge its impact scientifically.

But we hear anecdotally from teachers that students are coming to UW-Madison because of these experiences, he said.

View original post here:
Camp gives rural students taste of lab – Indiana Gazette

What’s Propelling Vistagen Therapeutics Incorporated (NASDAQ:VTGN) After Higher Shorts Reported? – BZ Weekly

August 8, 2017 – By Peter Erickson

The stock of Vistagen Therapeutics Incorporated (NASDAQ:VTGN) registered an increase of 11.81% in short interest. VTGNs total short interest was 90,900 shares in August as published by FINRA. Its up 11.81% from 81,300 shares, reported previously. With 28,700 shares average volume, it will take short sellers 3 days to cover their VTGNs short positions. The short interest to Vistagen Therapeutics Incorporateds float is 1.75%.

The stock decreased 2.22% or $0.04 on August 7, reaching $1.76. About shares traded. Vistagen Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:VTGN) has declined 50.00% since August 8, 2016 and is downtrending. It has underperformed by 66.70% the S&P500.

VistaGen Therapeutics, Inc. is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company. The company has market cap of $16.74 million. The Firm is engaged in developing and commercializing product candidates for patients with diseases and disorders involving the central nervous system . It currently has negative earnings. The Companys lead product candidate, AV-101, is an orally available prodrug candidate in Phase II development, initially for the adjunctive treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD) in patients with an inadequate response to standard antidepressants approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

More notable recent Vistagen Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:VTGN) news were published by: Prnewswire.com which released: VistaGen Therapeutics Reports Second Quarter 2017 Financial Results and on November 14, 2016, also Finance.Yahoo.com with their article: VistaGen Therapeutics Receives European Patent Office Notice of Intention to published on March 29, 2017, Prnewswire.com published: VistaGen Therapeutics Grants Exclusive Sublicense of Cardiac Stem Cell on December 14, 2016. More interesting news about Vistagen Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:VTGN) were released by: Prnewswire.com and their article: VistaGen Therapeutics to Present at Biotech Showcase 2017 published on January 05, 2017 as well as Prnewswire.coms news article titled: VistaGen Therapeutics Provides Business Outlook and Sets Corporate Milestones with publication date: September 22, 2016.

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Original post:
What’s Propelling Vistagen Therapeutics Incorporated (NASDAQ:VTGN) After Higher Shorts Reported? – BZ Weekly

Funding debate aside, this is why we need a new heart hospital – The Sydney Morning Herald

Current debate about the future of the Victorian Heart Hospital, which when completed will be Australia’s first cardiac hospital,focuses on issues such as cost and contracts. And, in these tight economic times, it is right to ask these questions.

However, Australia’s first dedicated specialist heart hospital will be so much more. Thehospital will be in the same league as some of the great cardiac hospitals, such as the Barts Heart Centre in London and the Montreal Heart Institute in Canada.

More Victorians, men and women, die from heart disease than any other cause. People are living longer long enough to have, and survive, heart attacksthat may become heart disease and heart failure further down the line.

In the catchment area that will feed into the Victorian Heart Hospital the population projections for people at risk of heart disease are even worse. Aboutone-quarter (or eight out of 31) of the metropolitan local government areas with above average heart attack rates fall into the catchment area of the new hospital. This is an area whose population needs a facility like this.

But the hospitalwill be so much more than a hospital for patients with cardiovascular disease and events. Much has been said about the dedicated areas for Monash University and Monash Health researchers devoted to cardiac research.

Having the researchers sitting in the midst of the clinicians and patients, and in many cases being situated within the hospital means the problems the scientists address are the ones that are identified by those at the coalface, the clinicians and health professionals.

One of the hospital’score research areas, for example, will be stem cell research. We have recruited some of the best stem cell scientists in the world. They will work with Monash University’s Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute and heart hospital clinicians to develop cellular patches that can be created from a patient’s own cells to replace the areas of the heart left dead by a heart attack. This damaged tissue, currently cannot be fixed, and often leads to heart failure, so the need for this sort of research is paramount.

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Monash Health has an outstanding international reputation for attracting clinical trials into new heart procedure techniques, with more than 30 trials currently being conducted. As an example, the international medical device makerMedtronicchose Monash Heart cardiologists to conduct the first trial of a new way to replace mitral valves in the hearts of patients whose health would not withstand traditional open-heart surgery. These trial patients have had their life saved by this device.

This is translational research at its best taking new discoveries and therapies and making sure they are safe in patients. These innovations then become, as fast as possible, treatments we can offer all Victorians. It is no surprise that many of Australia’s largest medical device manufacturers and innovators are situated around Monash University and benefit from the strong biomedical focus the university offers.

Co-location of the Victorian Heart Hospital at the Monash University campus will strengthen the nexus between industry, biomedical research and clinical care, including clinical trials that will result in Victorians benefiting from the best advances in cardiac care.

The Victorian Heart Hospitalis a way for Victoria to future-proof its citizens against heart disease for the next five decades. It will be where we develop new technologies, devices and treatments that can be used to deal with the patients that come throughour doors.

There will be more non-surgical alternatives and prevention strategies developed and offered. We will provide a health and wellness department that assists patients in dealing with the depression that can follow cardiac surgery, as well as assisting patients in techniques that can help them lower their risk of further cardiac events.

The hospitalwill not only put Victoria on the world map, it will be a groundbreaking commitment to the health of Victorians.

Sarah Newton is deputy dean, external relations, Monash University’s faculty of medicine, nursing and health sciences.

See the original post here:
Funding debate aside, this is why we need a new heart hospital – The Sydney Morning Herald

Beloit Daily News – Wisconsin News, Science camp gives rural … – Beloit Daily News

MADISON, Wis. (AP) “It’s goggles, gloves and lab coats right now,” Dan Murphy, outreach coordinator for the Morgridge Institute for Research, shouted, rallying participants in Summer Science Camp at the Institutes for Discovery on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus earlier this week.

There was excitement as campers, all students from high schools in rural Wisconsin, prepared and conducted an experiment testing the effect of medication on cardiac muscle cells, or cardiomyocytes, The Capital Times (http://bit.ly/2u2dD9H ) reported.

“It’s pretty cool,” said Tanner Oyen, a student at Lancaster High School in Grant County in southwestern Wisconsin, about the experiment in which students counted the beats made by stem-cell-derived cardiomyocytes before and after exposing them to verapamil, a calcium channel blocker.

The rural summer science camp, now in its 11th year, has brought more than 400 students from more than 70 high schools to the UW-Madison campus for a taste of what studying and maybe, someday, working in a university laboratory would be like.

Its mission is in part the Wisconsin Idea, bringing knowledge developed at UW-Madison to other parts of the state, Murphy said. It’s also an opportunity for “students from rural Wisconsin to know that going to a UW System school is possible for them.”

“And they see scientists not very much older than them model those aspirations,” Murphy said.

Students from 10 state high schools participated in one of two science camps this month: Kickapoo Area School District in Viola; the North Crawford School District in Soldiers Grove; Iola-Scandinavia School District in Iola; Black Hawk School District in South Wayne; Chetek-Weyerhauser School District in Chetek; Lancaster High School; Phillips High School; Bruce High School; Coleman High School; and Hillsboro High School.

The students and their accompanying teachers spend four days on campus, staying in DeJope Residence Hall, and participate in a variety of educational and social activities.

On Wednesday, students heard a talk about how cardiac stem cells are developed and tested for use in medicine from Tim Kamp, a professor and researcher at the School of Medicine and Public Health. After hearing about the sometimes circuitous academic paths of graduate students who led the experiments, students got down to the business of calculating concentrations of verapamil and observing its effect on cardiomyocytes under the microscope.

Students chuckled at the idea of having the kind of equipment like the bio-safety cabinet that filtered the air around their cell samples and microscopes at their high schools.

That’s one reason why the summer camp is so educational. “It’s a great opportunity to get to work with new things,” said Emma Peterson of Phillips High School in north central Wisconsin.

Her classmate, Kate Lochner, said the camp is giving her new appreciation for the potential of stem cell use, something she thinks will burgeon in the next few years. “I think that’s going to be really helpful in all fields of research,” said Lochner.

Both girls see science and UW-Madison as possibilities in their futures.

“It’s a great school,” said Lochner. “A lot of kids from Phillips end up going here.”

A “lot” percentage-wise can mean just a few students from small schools like Phillips, with an enrollment of 228 this past year.

Aaron Destiche, a middle and high school teacher in the Coleman School District, said the camp makes going to UW-Madison to pursue a career in science “a tangible thing, not something off in the distance.”

About 60 percent of Coleman graduates attend Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in nearby Green Bay, and 20 to 30 percent go on to a four-year college Destiche said. A handful of them, four or six a year, usually attend UW-Madison, he said.

Students on Wednesday noted that the beating of the cells slowed after the introduction of verapamil.

“Does the drug affect the calcium?” asked Annabelle Kolecki, a student at Coleman.

“That’s a good hypothesis,” replied graduate student Angelica de Lourdes, who comes from Puerto Rico.

Kolecki said the experiment energized the learning process. “It’s easier when you are getting hands-on experience,” she said.

“It was really cool to see actual heart cells,” enthused classmate Kaily Klimek.

Both girls were excited about their week on campus. “Being here gives us the chance to try new things,” Klimek said.

The summer camp is free of charge to students and teachers attending, and is supported by several grants, including an endowment established by the family of Kathleen Smith, a former trustee of both the Morgridge Institute and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation.

It’s hoped that the experience also provides professional development for teachers who accompany their students, Murphy said. To promote experimentation back in the classroom, teachers receive funding of $25 per student they bring to camp to purchase science supplies, he said.

Hillsboro High School Deb Freitag returned this year with a new group of students after the camp was a big hit with those who attended three years ago.

“My students don’t get to work with this kind of equipment or with other students who have the same capabilities and excitement over science,” she remarked. The school in Vernon County in western Wisconsin has about 170 students.

“They were able to become ‘nerds,’ as they put it, and be comfortable about it,” Freitag said.

Students in the camp create posters on what they learn that Freitag displayed in her classroom. “Seeing their names and what they did made them proud of who they are,” she said, and started a buzz about science camp that had other students eager to attend.

Murphy said that camp organizers have just begun surveying students in the years after camp about what affect it had on their educational and career choices to gauge its impact scientifically.

“But we hear anecdotally from teachers that students are coming to UW-Madison because of these experiences,” he said.

___

Information from: The Capital Times, http://www.madison.com/tct

Read more:
Beloit Daily News – Wisconsin News, Science camp gives rural … – Beloit Daily News

UW-Madison summer science camp gives rural students a taste of life in the lab – Madison.com

Its goggles, gloves and lab coats right now, Dan Murphy, outreach coordinator for the Morgridge Institute for Research, shouted, rallying participants in Summer Science Camp at the Institutes for Discovery on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus earlier this week.

There was excitement as campers, all students from high schools in rural Wisconsin, prepared and conducted an experiment testing the effect of medication on cardiac muscle cells, or cardiomyocytes.

Its pretty cool, said Tanner Oyen, a student at Lancaster High School in Grant County in southwestern Wisconsin, about the experiment in which students counted the beats made by stem-cell-derived cardiomyocytes before and after exposing them to verapamil, a calcium channel blocker.

Angelica Rodriguez (left) and Suehelay Acevedo, both graduate students, work with Hunter Landrath, a student at Hillsboro High School, on an experiment during Summer Science Camp at UW-Madison.

The rural summer science camp, now in its 11th year, has brought more than 400 students from more than 70 high schools to the UW-Madison campus for a taste of what studying and maybe, someday, working in a university laboratory would be like.

Its mission is in part the Wisconsin Idea, bringing knowledge developed at UW-Madison to other parts of the state, Murphy said. Its also an opportunity for students from rural Wisconsin to know that going to a UW System school is possible for them.”

And they see scientists not very much older than them model those aspirations, Murphy said.

Students from 10 state high schools participated in one of two science camps this month: Kickapoo Area School District in Viola; the North Crawford School District in Soldiers Grove; Iola-Scandinavia School District in Iola; Black Hawk School District in South Wayne; Chetek-Weyerhauser School District in Chetek; Lancaster High School; Phillips High School; Bruce High School; Coleman High School; and Hillsboro High School.

The students and their accompanying teachers spend four days on campus, staying in DeJope Residence Hall, and participate in a variety of educational and social activities.

Benjamin Gastfriend, graduate student, (far left) works with students on an experiment during UW-Madison’s Summer Science Camp.

On Wednesday, students heard a talk about how cardiac stem cells are developed and tested for use in medicine from Tim Kamp, a professor and researcher at the School of Medicine and Public Health. After hearing about the sometimes circuitous academic paths of graduate students who led the experiments, students got down to the business of calculating concentrations of verapamil and observing its effect on cardiomyocytes under the microscope.

Students chuckled at the idea of having the kind of equipment like the bio-safety cabinet that filtered the air around their cell samples and microscopes at their high schools.

Thats one reason why the summer camp is so educational. Its a great opportunity to get to work with new things, said Emma Peterson of Phillips High School in north central Wisconsin.

Her classmate, Kate Lochner, said the camp is giving her new appreciation for the potential of stem cell use, something she thinks will burgeon in the next few years. I think thats going to be really helpful in all fields of research, said Lochner.

Both girls see science and UW-Madison as possibilities in their futures.

Its a great school, said Lochner. A lot of kids from Phillips end up going here.

A lot percentage-wise can mean just a few students from small schools like Phillips, with an enrollment of 228 this past year.

Angelica Rodriguez and Suehelay Acevedo, both graduate students, work with high school students on an experiment during UW-Madison’s Summer Science Camp.

Aaron Destiche, a middle and high school teacher in the Coleman School District, said the camp makes going to UW-Madison to pursue a career in science a tangible thing, not something off in the distance.

About 60 percent of Coleman graduates attend Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in nearby Green Bay, and 20 to 30 percent go on to a four-year college Destiche said. A handful of them, four or six a year, usually attend UW-Madison, he said.

Students on Wednesday noted that the beating of the cells slowed after the introduction of verapamil.

Does the drug affect the calcium? asked Annabelle Kolecki, a student at Coleman.

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Thats a good hypothesis, replied graduate student Angelica de Lourdes, who comes from Puerto Rico.

Kolecki said the experiment energized the learning process. Its easier when you are getting hands-on experience, she said.

It was really cool to see actual heart cells, enthused classmate Kaily Klimek.

Both girls were excited about their week on campus. Being here gives us the chance to try new things, Klimek said.

The summer camp is free of charge to students and teachers attending, and is supported by several grants, including an endowment established by the family of Kathleen Smith, a former trustee of both the Morgridge Institute and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation.

Its hoped that the experience also provides professional development for teachers who accompany their students, Murphy said. To promote experimentation back in the classroom, teachers receive funding of $25 per student they bring to camp to purchase science supplies, he said.

Hillsboro High School Deb Freitag returned this year with a new group of students after the camp was a big hit with those who attended three years ago.

My students dont get to work with this kind of equipment or with other students who have the same capabilities and excitement over science, she remarked. The school in Vernon County in western Wisconsin has about 170 students.

They were able to become nerds, as they put it, and be comfortable about it, Freitag said.

Students in the camp create posters on what they learn that Freitag displayed in her classroom. Seeing their names and what they did made them proud of who they are, she said, and started a buzz about science camp that had other students eager to attend.

Murphy said that camp organizers have just begun surveying students in the years after camp about what affect it had on their educational and career choices to gauge its impact scientifically.

But we hear anecdotally from teachers that students are coming to UW-Madison because of these experiences, he said.

Share your opinion on this topic by sending a letter to the editor totctvoice@madison.com. Include your full name, hometown and phone number. Your name and town will be published. The phone number is for verification purposes only. Please keep your letter to 250 words or less.

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UW-Madison summer science camp gives rural students a taste of life in the lab – Madison.com

India needs biannual amendment to Stem Cell Rules, Section 8 of Rules controversial: Dr Totey – pharmabiz.com

India needs stem cell guidelines which can be amended biannually, said Dr Satish Totey, founder, chairman & managing director, Aureostem Research Pvt Ltd.

There cannot be a permanent set of guidelines. Every year we should make new draft guideline and seek public opinion. This must be discontinued immediately since valuable time and money are invested in the same. Instead it should be amended biannually, Totey told Pharmabiz.

Although the recent guidelines are comprehensive and may ensure patients get reliable and safe stem cell products in India in near future, yet the controversial section of this is Section 8. The section defines level of stem cell manipulation as minimum and major which is absolutely unnecessary and gives clear escape route to push unapproved stem cell for therapy by the clinicians, he said.

Desperate patients do not understand this terminology and often misled by the clinicians. For instance adipose derived stromal vascular fraction (AD-SVF) or bone marrow derived mononuclear cells (BM-MNC) which is minimal manipulated cells are being extensively used by the clinicians and giving impression to the patients that it do not require any clinical trials.

Now several clinicians use minimal manipulated cells for transplanting in retinas or in the brain without knowing its safety and efficacy. Much of what is being injected through minimum manipulated cells are not even stem cells. Moreover, one that come from fat or bone marrow are not capable of living in the human body for more than a day. There are several reports that patients become blind after such transplants, explained Dr Totey.

Another aspect which was totally ignored in the guideline is stem cell devices. Several clinicians use stem cell devices routinely in India which has limited approval from US FDA even for specific clinical conditions in the US. Therefore, such devices cannot be used in India. But clinicians are seen to mislead patients and giving impression that they have US FDA approval for stem cell therapy. This is a most dangerous procedure where, clinician can treat any condition without even having clinical speciality. For example, cosmetologists are now treating neurological or cardiac conditions. One of the key issues are oversight. But in these cases it is not just about desperate patients losing money but the genuine and tangible harms being done in the absence of oversight, he said.

Real progress in stem cell research and the development of cellular pharmaceuticals is not going to result from clinics making dramatic marketing claims. True progress requires extensive basic and pre-clinical research. It should be backed by carefully designed and properly conducted randomized clinical trials to ensure high-quality safety and efficacy data is generated.

Conducting such research in an ethical, scientific, and legal manner is difficult, costly, time-consuming, but necessary. More than 300 stem cell clinics that are operating in India are making dramatic advertising claims about stem cell treatments, but in most cases they have no evidence to support their hard-sell marketing, said Dr Totey.

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India needs biannual amendment to Stem Cell Rules, Section 8 of Rules controversial: Dr Totey – pharmabiz.com

3D bioprinted cardiac patches are biomaterial free – Medical Physics Web (subscription)

Advances in medical imaging enable bespoke tissues and organs to be developed for transplant or engraftment with remarkable resolution and definition using 3D bioprinting. The incorporation of stem cell therapies into these 3D tissue constructs is incredibly promising for the delivery of pioneering stem cell regenerative therapies. Typically, 3D bioprinting requires use of a biomaterial to aid with deposition, which can cause negative host responses. To avoid such problems, US researchers have developed a biomaterial-free cardiac patch (Scientific Reports 7 4566).

Heart disease affects thousands of people every year and effective repair of cardiac tissue would reduce a large medical health care burden. Researchers from the Narutoshi Hibino lab at Johns Hopkins Hospital and Johns Hopkins University have devised a 3D-bioprinting procedure that allows for the biofabrication of cardiac tissue patches to deliver regenerative stem cells, without using biomaterials. The process utilises aggregated balls of cardiac cells (cardiospheroids), which are directly printed into a cardiac patch construct. The cardiospheroids are identified, picked up by a vacuum and bioprinted directly onto a needle microarray (a video of the 3D-bioprinting process used is available from JOVE). This novel method allows the patch to be constructed with cells alone and will avoid detrimental effects induced by biomaterial grafts.

Stem cell techniques for tissue regeneration typically rely on biomaterial scaffolds to provide structure and support for cells during grafting. The grafting or introduction of biomaterials to a patient induces an immune response, or can create scar tissue from the graft, potentially damaging the region of tissue intended to be repaired. Through developing a biomaterial-free graft, it is possible to avoid these detrimental factors. And by using a patient’s own stem cells it is possible to create native tissue that is fully biocompatible.

3D bioprinting was crucial to the development of effective cardiac patches, with specific spatial distribution being crucial to mechanical integrity. Cardiospheres without specific placement to overlap with other cardiospheres disintegrated after removal from the needle array; although partially disintegrated regions were able to fuse back together eventually. This effect removed the structural definition of the patch, negating the advantages of using bioprinting for developing a cardiac patch of specified dimensions.

The researchers grafted patches onto rat hearts and after a week saw signs of blood vessel formation, with viable cells and red blood cells present in the cardiac patch. Tissue protein stains showed that collagen was present in the patch, indicating the deposition of a native extracellular matrix from the cells, crucial to cell integration. Further staining showed the presence of human nucleic acid in rat tissue, implying that the human cell derived patch had successfully grafted with the rat tissue.

This biomaterial-free cardiac patch was developed using pluripotent cardiomyocyte stem cells, cardiac fibroblasts and human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs), which were aggregated into cardiospheroids for bioprinting. Cardiospheroids were able to develop a functional phenotype after 48 hours, with spontaneous beating and electrical conductivity a week after bioprinting. Cardiomyocytes alone were not able to reproduce this functional phenotype.

This process demonstrates a novel approach to eliminating biomaterial-induced damage. Further development of this 3D bioprinting technique in conjunction with stem cell therapies could progress biomaterial-free cardiac patches into the popular domain.

3D printers help build a better cranial nerve4D bioprinting: adding dynamic actuationThe first laser-printed 3D cellular tubes3D-printed polymer stents evolve

Geoffrey Potjewyd is a PhD Student contributor to medicalphysicsweb, working in the Division of Neuroscience and Experimental Psychology, as part of the CDT in Regenerative Medicine at The University of Manchester. He is studying the neurovascular unit in relation to vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, using biofabrication, biomaterials and stem cell based techniques.

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3D bioprinted cardiac patches are biomaterial free – Medical Physics Web (subscription)

CDI ditches move to Verona – Madison.com

Cellular Dynamics International, the stem cell company founded by UW-Madison stem cell pioneer James Thomson, is backing off on moving its headquarters to a big, new building in Verona and will stay in Madison, at least for now, as it prepares to push forward with its first potential stem cell-based treatment in early 2018.

CDI president Kaz Hirao said Thursday the company is shelving plans to shift operations to a $40 million, 133,700-square-foot building that was to be built for CDI on Kettle Moraine Trail in Verona. The building was expected to house 280 employees, with so-called clean rooms, quality-control labs, processing rooms and offices.

Instead, CDIs main offices and labs will remain at 525 Science Drive in University Research Park and the company will remodel an existing building whose site has not yet been determined to house several clean rooms that will meet government standards for manufacturing stem cells for use in clinical drug trials.

Fujifilm (CDIs parent company) has a very strong commitment and wants to see (the) Madison (site) grow in the future. Strategy-wise, that has not changed, Hirao said. Madison has a great ecosystem for our businesses.

He said the National Eye Institute plans to submit an application to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in January 2018 for a retinal cell therapy it has been developing with CDI for age-related macular degeneration, an eye disease that can lead to blindness. The National Eye Institute has conducted animal studies on the drug, Hirao said.

It is the first of a series of stem cell-based drugs the company is working on. CDI expects to file investigational new drug applications for treating Parkinsons disease and for cardiac disease in 2019, he said.

In order to make stem cells that meet government standards for use in human clinical trials, Hirao said the company will establish clean rooms that meet regulations for current good manufacturing practices. He said he expects to designate a location in the next month or two, within about a 15-minute drive of CDI headquarters, to handle the companys stem cell manufacturing needs for the immediate future.

Next year, CDI will review its plans again, Hirao said, and will again consider a move to a larger, consolidated building. If it decides to go ahead with that, Verona would be one of the preferred options, he said.

CDI had obtained up to $6 million in financial incentives from the city of Verona for the building that was to be built and owned by developer John K. Livesey.

Verona planning and development director Adam Sayre called CDIs decision to pull back on the plans unfortunate, but said city officials will keep in contact with Cellular Dynamics over the coming months.

The city would continue to welcome them with open arms, Sayre said. Well see what the next year brings.

At University Research Park, CDI occupies about 55,000 square feet, director Aaron Olver said. Weve recently provided CDI with some additional space to help them grow, he said.

CDI is one of the true gems among companies powered by UW-Madison research, and we would certainly do anything we could to help them find clean room space to continue their work, Olver said.

Founded in 2004, CDI was acquired by Fujifilm Holdings Corp. for $307 million in April 2015.

The company has 165 employees, including about 125 in Madison. Hirao said he expects to add employees, but said its too soon to estimate how many, or how quickly the company will grow.

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CDI ditches move to Verona – Madison.com

Renowned Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Zain Khalpey, MD, PhD, FETCS, FACS will be Honorably Mentioned in The … – PR NewsChannel (press release)

The International Association of HealthCare Professionals is pleased to welcome Zain Khalpey, MD, PhD, FETCS, FACS, a prominent Cardiothoracic Surgeon to their prestigious organization with his upcoming publication in The Leading Physicians of the World. Dr. Khalpey is a highly trained and qualified surgeon with a vast expertise in all facets of his work and an international reputation for his work with Artificial Hearts remodeling scars in hearts with laser therapy, stem cells and liquid matrices to build a program for heart recovery and regenerative medicine, using precision medicine, but more specifically metabolomics with new artificial intelligence platforms in cardiac surgery to change outcomes for the better. Dr. Khalpey is currently serving as an Associate Professor of surgery, medical imaging, physiological sciences, biomedical engineering, cell & molecular medicine, regenerative & translational medicine, and pharmacology at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson, Arizona. He also serves as Co-Director of the Heart Transplant and Perfusion Science Programs, Director of the Mechanical Circulatory Support and Artificial Heart Programs, and Director of Robotic Mitral Valve Program in the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Banner University Medical Center. Furthermore, Dr. Khalpey is an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University.

Dr. Khalpey was educated at the University of London, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude with his Medical Degree in 1998. He then gained his PhD in cardiothoracic surgery, bioenergetics, and cardiac transplantation from Imperial College London. Dr. Khalpey completed extensive postgraduate training in both the United Kingdom and the United States. In the United Kingdom, Dr. Khalpey was awarded a very prestigious Winston Churchill Medal for his research as well as a highly prestigious lifetime Hunterian Professorship from the Royal College of Surgeons of England, where he remains a member. His research training to end his PhD was completed at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, and Massachusetts General Hospital at Harvard in Boston. He then went on to finish his clinical general surgery residency and cardiothoracic heart surgery fellowship at the Brigham and Womens Hospital, also at Harvard in Boston. He went on to New York where he completed a Super-Fellowship in Heart Transplants and Mechanical Circulatory Support Therapies for Advanced Heart Failure, at New York Presbyterian Hospital at Columbia University. He is certified by the American Board of Thoracic Surgery, and has earned the coveted title of Fellow of the European Board of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery and Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.

Dr. Khalpey is a distinguished member of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery, the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, the American Academy of Regenerative Medicine and the Board of Regenerative Medicine. For his extensive expertise and important work, he has been awarded the prestigious Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Medical Sciences in Europe Award. Awards in the Fulbright Distinguished Chairs Program in Europe are viewed as among the most prestigious accolades in the Fulbright Scholar Program. Dr Khalpey holds the coveted Endowed Tony S. Marnell Sr. Chair in Cardiovascular Research at the University of Arizona for his metabolic and stem cell research within the surgical tissue and stem cell biobank he created. Furthermore, Dr. Khalpey is the surgical director of the Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenator Program, which is the only mobile ECMO service in the state of Arizona. Alongside his exceptional operative team of perfusionists and clinical fellows, Dr. Khalpey helped save NHL hockey player, Tucson Roadrunners Captain, Craig Cunninghams life after sudden cardiac arrest. Dr. Khalpey is the only person on the west coast who is routinely placing left ventricular assist devices (LVADS) through minimally invasive incisions, without the use of a bypass machine, and also strives to revolutionize organ transplantation. Dr. Khalpeys passion for what he does is unparalleled. He is renowned for his innovative and groundbreaking work, and has dedicated his life to providing the best solutions for his patients and community.

View Dr. Zain Khalpeys Profile Here:

https://www.findatopdoc.com/doctor/8137416-Zain-Khalpey-Cardiac-Surgeon-85755

Learn more about Dr. Khalpey here:

https://profiles.arizona.edu/person/zkhalpey and be sure to read his upcoming publication in The Leading Physicians of the World.

About FindaTopDoc.com

FindaTopDoc.com is a hub for all things medicine, featuring detailed descriptions of medical professionals across all areas of expertise, and information on thousands of healthcare topics. Each month, millions of patients use FindaTopDoc to find a doctor nearby and instantly book an appointment online or create a review. FindaTopDoc.com features each doctors full professional biography highlighting their achievements, experience, patient reviews and areas of expertise. A leading provider of valuable health information that helps empower patient and doctor alike, FindaTopDoc enables readers to live a happier and healthier life. For more information about FindaTopDoc, visit: http://www.findatopdoc.com

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Renowned Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Zain Khalpey, MD, PhD, FETCS, FACS will be Honorably Mentioned in The … – PR NewsChannel (press release)

J&J drops stem cell partner Capricor – BioPharma Dive

Dive Brief:

While the loss of the deal has made a hole on the company’s value, Capricor is looking on the bright side.

“Over the last few years, and during the term of the Janssen option period, we believe that significant value for our CAP-1002 asset has been created through the demonstration of clinical proof-of-concept to treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) and also from the progress that has been made towards the development of a commercial-scale manufacturing process for the cells,” said Linda Marbn, Capricor’s president and CEO.

The company also suggested that a potential upside of the loss of the agreements is that it “resolves uncertainty concerning the scope of the license for CAP-1002 and provides Capricor the freedom to enter into new licensing and/or business development opportunities.”

Although, as most investors know, it’s generally a bad sign when your big pharma partner bails and, typically, hurts prospects for gaining another commercialization partner.

Capricor has faced some challenges in 2017. In February, it pulled out of an agreement with the Mayo Clinic, which included scrapping development of a Phase 2 heart failure drug, cenderitide, in order to focus on cell and exosome-based therapeutics. And then in May, it faced problems with CAP-1002 in the ALLSTAR Phase 1/2 trial. These topline results showed that CAP-1002 had only a small chance of meeting the primary endpoint of significantly reducing cardiac scarring in adults who had had a major heart attack. This resulted in a reduction in the scope of the company’s options, including its workforce size.

The focus for this product, which is manufactured from donated heart tissue, is now in young men with Duchenne muscular dystrophy-associated cardiomyopathy, and the HOPE Phase 1/2 trial is ongoing. Six-month results were presented late last month at the 2017 Patient Project Muscular Dystrophy (PPMD) Annual Connect Conference, showing improved cardiac systolic wall thickening, and improved performance of upper limb in treated patients.

“We discussed potential product registration strategies for this indication at our recent meeting with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. We expect to commence a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial of repeat administrations of intravenous CAP-1002 in boys and young men with DMD in the second half of this year, subject to regulatory approval,” said Marbn.

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J&J drops stem cell partner Capricor – BioPharma Dive

Santa Monica’s NASA Astronaut Randy Bresnik Live Interviews Before Space Station Mission – Santa monica Observed

Among the experiments: How microgravity affects stem cells and the factors that govern stem cell activity

Santa Monica’s NASA astronaut Randy Bresnik, who is making final preparations for his launch to the International Space Station later this month, will be participating in live satellite interviews from 9 to 10 a.m. EDT Friday, July 14, at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia.

The interviews will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website and will be preceded at 8:30 a.m. by a video feed of highlights from Bresnik’s mission training and previous spaceflight.

Bresnik will arrive at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan Sunday, July 16, for final pre-launch training. He and his crewmates, cosmonaut Sergey Ryazanskiy of the Russian space agency Roscosmos and Paolo Nespoli of ESA (European Space Agency), will launch on the Russian Soyuz MS-05 spacecraft at 11:41 a.m. on July 28. They are scheduled to return to Earth in December.

Their flight plan calls for an arrival at the station about six hours after launch, where they will join Expedition 52 Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin of Roscosmos, and Flight Engineers Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer of NASA. The crew members will continue several hundred experiments in biology, biotechnology, physical science and Earth science currently underway and scheduled to take place aboard humanity’s only permanently occupied orbiting lab.

Among the experiments is Cardiac Stem Cells, which investigates how microgravity affects stem cells and the factors that govern stem cell activity, including physical and molecular changes. The Cosmic-Ray Energetics and Mass experiment is also scheduled to arrive at the station during the crew’s stay and will measure the charges of cosmic rays ranging from hydrogen up through iron nuclei, over a broad energy range.

Bresnik was born in Fort Knox, Kentucky, but considers Santa Monica, California, to be his hometown.

He graduated from The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina, and was commissioned in the Marine Corps in May 1989. NASA selected him as an astronaut in May 2004. This will be his second trip to the International Space Station and his first long-duration mission. Previously he flew aboard space shuttle Atlantis to the station in 2009.

For details about his experiences in space, follow Bresnik on social media at:

https://www.facebook.com/AstroKomrade

https://www.instagram.com/astrokomrade

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Santa Monica’s NASA Astronaut Randy Bresnik Live Interviews Before Space Station Mission – Santa monica Observed

Dragon splashes down in Pacific with time-critical experiments – SpaceFlight Insider

Derek Richardson

July 3rd, 2017

The CRS-11 Dragon capsule re-enters Earths atmosphere. Photo Credit: Jack Fischer / NASA

SpaceXs CRS-11 Dragon capsule splashed down at 8:12 a.m. EDT (12:12 GMT) on July 3, 2017, in the Pacific Ocean just off the coast of Baja California after some 28 days attached to the International Space Station.

After being unberthed using the robotic Canadarm2, the craft was moved to a location some 33 feet (10 meters) below the Destiny laboratory module. It was officially released at 2:41 a.m. EDT (6:41 GMT) on July 3 by Expedition 52 astronauts Jack Fischer and Peggy Whitson of NASA.

The CRS-11 Dragon capsule is positioned for release beneath the ISS. Photo Credit: Jack Fischer / NASA

Dragons been an incredible spacecraft, Fischer said after release. I could even say it was slathered in awesome sauce. This baby has had almost no problems, which is an incredible feat considering its the first reuse of a Dragon vehicle.

The CRS-11 Dragon capsule pressure vessel was the same one used during the CRS-4 mission in 2014.

And the science weve done oh my, the science, Fischer said. Most of the 6,000 pounds [2,700 kilograms] of cargo carried was science, and almost all of the return cargo are precious samples for discoveries we cant wait to see.

Fischer explained that Dragon also brought up various external experiments too, including an external platform for science, a neutron star analyzer and an experimental solar array that was rolled out like a party horn on New Years Eve.

The science on this mission has been non-stop, and we think the scientists will be extremely happy with the volumes of data we gathered for them up here in space in our floating world-class laboratory we call home, Fischer said. For the whole SpaceX team, thank you for building such a great vehicle and for finding us some good weather today to allow us to bring home the science on time. Godspeed and fair winds, Dragon-11.

The spacecraft had originally been planned to splash down on July 2, but due to a forecast of unacceptable sea conditions at the recovery zone, mission managers decided on June 30 to postpone the capsules departure from the station.

Three separate departure burns were performed by the Dragon capsule once the robotic arm released the spacecraft. This gradually pushed the vehicle away from the outpost and outside the 656-foot (200-meter) Keep-Out Sphere (KOS).

Some five hours later, Dragon, using its Draco thrusters, performed a 10-minute de-orbit burn. Minutes after that, its trunk, which is not recoverable, was jettisoned.

Moments after being released by the ISS crew, the CRS-11 Dragon capsule begins its journey back to Earth. Photo Credit: Jack Fischer / NASA

A few minutes before splashing down, the capsule released drogue chutes to slow the capsule a bit and to keep a specific attitude for the three main parachutes to bedeployed. Once that occurred, along with a successful splashdown, it ensured a successful mission for the first re-flight of a commercial spacecraft to and from the ISS.

Now that Dragon is back on Earth and on a recovery ship, it will now be transported to the port of Los Angeles to offload time-sensitive cargo. The most notable include the Fruit Fly Lab-02 experiment, the Systemic Therapy of NELL-1 for osteoporosis study, and the Cardiac Stem Cells experiment.

The Fruit Fly Lab-02 experiment aims to understand the effects of prolonged microgravity exposure on the heart. According to NASA, because flies are small, have a well-known genetic makeup, and age rapidly, thatmakes them good models for heart function studies.

For the Systemic Therapy of NELL-1 for osteoporosis study, a group of rodents were used as models to test a drug that can rebuild bone and block additional bone density loss. It is hoped that this can help reduce bone density loss for astronauts on extended stays in space. Additionally, it can potentially help people with osteoporosis.

According to NASA, in-flight countermeasures, like exercise, can prevent bone density loss from getting worse, but nothing on Earth or in space can restore bone density.

Finally, the Cardiac Stem Cells experiment aims to analyze how microgravity affects stem cells and factors that govern stem cell activity. NASA says the study focuses on cardiac stem cell functions and has numerous biomedical and commercial applications.

The CRS-11 Dragon was launched June 3 from Kennedy Space Centers Launch Complex 39A in Florida. After a two-day rendezvous profile, the capsule was berthed to the Earth-facing port of the Harmony module on June 5.

The next Dragon mission will be CRS-12 on Aug. 10, 2017. It is unclear if this capsule will also be a pre-flown vessel.

Video courtesy of NASA

Tagged: CRS-11 Dragon Expedition 52 International Space Station Lead Stories NASA SpaceX

Derek Richardson has a degree in mass media, with an emphasis in contemporary journalism, from Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas. While at Washburn, he was the managing editor of the student run newspaper, the Washburn Review. He also has a blog about the International Space Station, called Orbital Velocity. He met with members of the SpaceFlight Insider team during the flight of a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 551 rocket with the MUOS-4 satellite. Richardson joined our team shortly thereafter. His passion for space ignited when he watched Space Shuttle Discovery launch into space Oct. 29, 1998. Today, this fervor has accelerated toward orbit and shows no signs of slowing down. After dabbling in math and engineering courses in college, he soon realized his true calling was communicating to others about space. Since joining SpaceFlight Insider in 2015, Richardson has worked to increase the quality of our content, eventually becoming our managing editor.

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Dragon splashes down in Pacific with time-critical experiments – SpaceFlight Insider

Dragon Splashes Down to Complete Resupply Mission – Space Daily

SpaceX’s Dragon cargo craft splashed down in the Pacific Ocean at 8:12 a.m. EDT, west of Baja California and the recovery process is underway, marking the end of the company’s eleventh contracted cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station for NASA.

Expedition 52 astronauts Jack Fischer and Peggy Whitson of NASA released the SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft from the International Space Station’s robotic arm right on schedule, at 2:41 a.m.

A variety of technological and biological studies are returning in Dragon. The Fruit Fly Lab-02 experiment seeks to better understand the effects of prolonged exposure to microgravity on the heart.

Flies are small, with a well-known genetic make-up, and age rapidly, making them good models for heart function studies. This experiment could significantly advance understanding of how spaceflight affects the cardiovascular system and could help develop countermeasures to help astronauts.

Samples from the Systemic Therapy of NELL-1 for osteoporosis will return as part of an investigation using rodents as models to test a new drug that can both rebuild bone and block further bone loss, improving crew health.

When people and animals spend extended periods of time in space, they experience bone density loss, or osteoporosis. In-flight countermeasures, such as exercise, prevent it from getting worse, but there isn’t a therapy on Earth or in space that can restore bone density.

The results from this ISS National Laboratory-sponsored investigation is built on previous research also supported by the National Institutes for Health and could lead to new drugs for treating bone density loss in millions of people on Earth.

The Cardiac Stem Cells experiment investigated how microgravity affects stem cells and the factors that govern stem cell activity. The study focuses on understanding cardiac stem cell function, which has numerous biomedical and commercial applications. Scientists will also look to apply new knowledge to the design of new stem cell therapies to treat heart disease on Earth.

The Dragon spacecraft launched June 3 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and arrived at the station June 5.

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Dragon Splashes Down to Complete Resupply Mission – Space Daily

VistaGen Therapeutics Reports Fiscal 2017 Financial Results and Provides Corporate Update – Markets Insider

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, CA–(Marketwired – June 29, 2017) – VistaGen Therapeutics Inc.(NASDAQ: VTGN), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing new generation medicines for depression and other central nervous system (CNS) disorders, today reported its financial results for its fiscal year ended March 31, 2017.

The Company also provided an update on its corporate progress, clinical status and anticipated milestones for AV-101, its orally available CNS prodrug candidate in Phase 2 development, initially as a new generation treatment for major depressive disorder (MDD).

“With a team of industry experts and a focused strategy in place, we have established a strong foundation and embarked on paths to achieve several key catalysts within the next 18 months. We anticipate our first catalyst within the next 9 months as the NIMH completes its AV-101 Phase 2 monotherapy study in MDD, a study being conducted and fully funded by the NIH. Additionally, we are working closely with the FDA and our Principal Investigator, Dr. Maurizio Fava of Harvard University Medical School, on our AV-101 Phase 2 adjunctive treatment study in MDD, which we anticipate will begin enrollment in the first quarter of 2018 and be completed by the end of 2018, with topline results available in the first quarter of 2019,” commented Shawn Singh, Chief Executive Officer of VistaGen.

In addition to MDD, AV-101 may have therapeutic potential in several other CNS indications where modulation of NMDA receptors, activation of AMPA pathways and/or active metabolites of AV-101 play a key role, including for treatment of epilepsy, as a non-opioid alternative for management of neuropathic pain, and to address certain symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease.

Mr. Singh continued, “Our MDD clinical program is our top priority, and will remain so. Additionally, however, recent peer-reviewed publications suggest that AV-101 may have significant therapeutic potential as a non-opioid treatment alternative for pain management. We are also excited about AV-101’s potential to reduce dyskinesia associated with standard levodopa, or L-DOPA, therapy for Parkinson’s disease, based on results from previous non-clinical studies. Without diverting our priority focus on MDD, we plan to expand our AV-101 Phase 2 clinical program during the next year to include these important CNS indications with significant unmet need.”

“We are also pleased to have advanced our cardiac stem cell program during fiscal 2017, through both our participation in the FDA’s CiPA initiative focused on using novel human stem cell models to predict cardiac toxicity of new drug candidates long before animal and human studies, as well as our exclusive sublicense agreement with BlueRock Therapeutics, an emerging force in cardiac regenerative medicine, founded and funded by Bayer AG and Versant Ventures. Our initial revenue-generating milestone with BlueRock Therapeutics was completed during fiscal 2017. We are optimistic about this relationship’s potential and the future of cardiac regenerative medicine. We believe these significant events over the past year have positioned us to create substantial value for our stakeholders in fiscal 2018 and beyond.”

Potential Near-Term Milestones:

Operational Highlights During Fiscal 2017:Achievements Related to Stem Cell Technologies

Advancement of AV-101 as a Potential, Non-Opioid Treatment Alternative for Chronic Pain

Bolstered Team with Industry Experts

Intellectual Property Accomplishments

Capital Market Highlights

Financial Results for the Fiscal Year Ended March 31, 2017:

Revenue for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2017 totaled $1.25 million and was attributable to a sublicense agreement with BlueRock Therapeutics, for certain rights to the Company’s proprietary technologies relating to the production of cardiac stem cells for the treatment of heart disease.

Research and development expense totaled $5.2 million for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2017, an increase of approximately 33% compared with the $3.9 million incurred for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2016. The increase in year-over-year research and development expense was attributable to increased focus on development of AV-101, including preparations to launch the Phase 2 Adjunctive Treatment Study in MDD.

General and administrative expense decreased to $6.3 million in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2017, from $13.9 million in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2016, primarily as a result of the decrease in non-cash stock compensation expense, partially offset by an increase in non-cash expense related to grants of equity securities in payment of certain professional services during fiscal 2017. Of the amounts reported, non-cash expenses, related primarily to grants or modifications of equity securities, totaled approximately $3.1 million in fiscal 2017 and $11.9 million in fiscal 2016.

Net loss for the fiscal years ended March 31, 2017 and 2016 was approximately $10.3 million and $47.2 million, respectively, the latter amount including a non-recurring, non-cash expense of approximately $26.7 million attributable to the extinguishment of approximately $15.9 million carrying value of prior indebtedness, including then-outstanding Senior Secured Convertible Notes, and conversion of such indebtedness into equity securities between May and September 2015 at a conversion price (stated value of the equity received) of $7.00 per share.

At March 31, 2017, the Company had a cash and cash equivalents balance of $2.9 million. Since late-March 2017, the Company sold units consisting of unregistered common stock and common stock warrants to accredited investors in a self-placed private placement, yielding approximately $1 million in cash proceeds to the Company.

About VistaGen

VistaGen Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: VTGN) is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing new generation medicines for depression and other central nervous system (CNS) disorders. VistaGen’s lead CNS product candidate, AV-101, is in Phase 2 development, initially as a new generation oral antidepressant drug candidate for major depressive disorder (MDD). AV-101’s mechanism of action is fundamentally differentiated from all FDA-approved antidepressants and atypical antipsychotics used adjunctively to treat MDD, with potential to drive a paradigm shift towards a new generation of safer and faster-acting antidepressants. AV-101 is currently being evaluated by the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in a Phase 2 monotherapy study in MDD being fully funded by the NIMH and conducted by Dr. Carlos Zarate Jr., Chief, Section on the Neurobiology and Treatment of Mood Disorders and Chief of Experimental Therapeutics and Pathophysiology Branch at the NIMH. VistaGen is preparing to launch a 180-patient Phase 2 study of AV-101 as an adjunctive treatment for MDD patients with inadequate response to standard, FDA-approved antidepressants. Dr. Maurizio Fava of Harvard University will be the Principal Investigator of the Company’s Phase 2 adjunctive treatment study. AV-101 may also have the potential to treat multiple CNS disorders and neurodegenerative diseases in addition to MDD, including neuropathic pain, epilepsy, Huntington’s disease, L-Dopa-induced dyskinesia associated with Parkinson’s disease and other disorders where modulation of the NMDA receptors, activation of AMPA pathways and/or key active metabolites of AV-101 may achieve therapeutic benefit.

VistaStem Therapeutics is VistaGen’s wholly owned subsidiary focused on applying human pluripotent stem cell technology, internally and with collaborators, to discover, rescue, develop and commercialize proprietary new chemical entities (NCEs), including small molecule NCEs with regenerative potential, for CNS and other diseases, and cellular therapies involving stem cell-derived blood, cartilage, heart and liver cells.

For more information, please visit http://www.vistagen.com and connect with VistaGen on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Forward-Looking Statements

The statements in this press release that are not historical facts may constitute forward-looking statements that are based on current expectations and are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual future results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such statements. Those risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, risks related to the successful financing, launch, continuation and results of the NIMH’s Phase 2 (monotherapy) and/or the Company’s planned Phase 2 (adjunctive therapy) clinical studies of AV-101 in MDD, and other CNS diseases and disorders, including neuropathic pain and L-DOPA-induced dyskinesia associated with Parkinson’s disease, protection of its intellectual property, and the availability of substantial additional capital to support its operations, including the Phase 2 clinical development activities described above. These and other risks and uncertainties are identified and described in more detail in VistaGen’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). These filings are available on the SEC’s website at http://www.sec.gov. VistaGen undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements.

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VistaGen Therapeutics Reports Fiscal 2017 Financial Results and Provides Corporate Update – Markets Insider

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