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Study says some stem cells dangerous for heart patients | The Times … – The Times of Israel

By JoanneRUSSELL25

A new study at Tel Aviv University shows that stem cell therapy, one of the few treatments available to patients with severe and end-stage heart failure, can actually harm them unless it is done differently.

We concluded that stem cells used in cardiac therapy should be drawn from healthy donors or be better genetically engineered for the patient, said lead researcher Jonathan Leor of the universitys Sackler Faculty of Medicine and Sheba Medical Center.

Doctors use tissue or adult stem cells to replace damaged tissue, which encourages regeneration of blood vessel cells and new heart muscle tissue. But cardiac stem cells from a diseased heart can lead to a toxic interaction via a molecular pathway between the heart and the immune system, the study found.

We found that, contrary to popular belief, tissue stem cells derived from sick hearts do not contribute to heart healing after injury, Leor said. 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.

The findings could suggest a way to make stem cell therapy safer for heart disease patients. The treatment is often a last resort, apart from getting a transplant.

Researchers discovered a molecular pathway involved in the toxic interaction while studying stem cells in mice with heart disease. By deleting the gene that makes the pathway, the cells ability to regenerate healthy tissue can be restored, they found.

The researchers are now testing a gene editing technique to delete the problem gene.

We hope our engineered stem cells will be resistant to the negative effects of the immune system, Leor said.

The study was conducted by TAUs Dr. Nili Naftali-Shani and published in the journal Circulation.

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Stem Cell Clinics List | Stem Cells Freak

By NEVAGiles23

Here we have compiled a list of several clinics offering stem cell treatments. Please note that the "conditions treated" refers to the conditions that THEY claim to treat. Most, if not all, stem cell treatments (except hematopoietic stem cell transplantation) aren't FDA approved, meaning that they haven't been clincally tested for safety or efficacy. Please be aware that receiving an unapproved medical treatment isrisky and may cause serious complications and possibly death.

It was only a few years ago when Europe's most popular stem cell clinic (XCell-center) was forced to close after one of the treatments caused the death of a boy. In the past, we have also covered the case of a woman that had serious adverse effects following an unapproved cosmetic stem cell treatment(facelift).

We have not included clinics offering hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, as this treatment is medically approved and offered virtually in any country that has an above the average hospital.

The stem cell clinics are categorised by alphabetical order. We are not paid by any of them and we have listed them for your ease. We have probably missed a few ones, feel free to leave a comment and we will add them asap.

Stem cell clinics list

Beijing Puhua International Hospital

Conditions Treated:Diabetes, Epilepsy, Stroke, Ataxia, Spinal Cord Injuries, Parkinson's Disease, Brain Injury, Multiple Sclerosis, Batten's Disease

Interview of a patient treated in Beijing Puhua International Hospital. The video is from the hospital's official youtube channel, so it may be biased

Elises International

Conditions Treated: No info available at their website

Advertisement video ofElises International

EmCell

Conditions Treated:ALS, Alzheimer's,Anemia, Cancer, Eye Diseases, Diabetes, Liver Diseases, Multiple Sclerosis Parkinson, and other

Location:Ukraine

EmCell Advertisement

Global Stem Cells

Conditions Treated:Type 2 Diabetes, Hepatitis C, Osteoarthritis, joint pain, hair regrowth, cosmetic anti-aging, ulcerative colitis, heart disease

Location:Bangkok Thailand

MD Stem Cells

New Zealand Stem Cell Clinic

Stem Cell Institute

Video of a patient treated in theStem Cell Institute. The video is taken from the clinic's official youtube channell,so it may be biased.

Okyanos Heart Institute

Conditions Treated:Cardiac conditions

Okyanos Promotinal Video

Stemedix, Inc

Conditions Treated:Multiple sclerosis, COPD, ALS, Alzheimers Disease, Parkinsons, Diabetes, Rheumatoid Arthritis and other

Location:Florida, United States

StemGenex

Conditions Treated: Multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer, Parkinson, Diabetes, Rheumatoid Arthritis and other

Location:San Diego, California.

Stem Cells Thailand

Conditions Treated:Alzheimer, Autism, Diabetes, Erectile Dysfunction, Face lift, Multiple Sclerosis, Arthritis and other

Regennex

Conditions Treated: Regennex mainly offers treatments for bone and cartilage regeneration in all major joints like knee, ankle, hip, back, shoulder etc

Dr. Centeno, founder of the clinic, talking about Regenexx

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‘Yoga, meditation counters gene expression changes that cause stress’ – Daily Times

By NEVAGiles23

In a new study, researchers have uncovered a molecular explanation for the stress-relieving effects of such practices.

Study leader Ivana Buric, of the Centre for Psychology at Coventry University in the United Kingdom, and colleagues found that mind-body interventions (MBIs) "reverse" changes in DNA that cause stress.

For their study, the researchers looked at whether MBIs influence gene expression, the process by which genes create proteins and other molecules that affect cellular function.

From their analysis, the researchers found that people who practice MBIs experience reduced production of a molecule called nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kB), which is known to regulate gene expression.

The researchers explain that stressful events trigger activity in the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), which is responsible for the "fight-or-flight" response.

This SNS activity leads to the production of NF-kB, which produces molecules called cytokines that promote cellular inflammation. If this molecular reaction is persistent, it can lead to serious physical and mental health problems, such as depression and cancer.

The study suggests that MBIs, however, lower the production of NF-kB and cytokines. This not only helps to alleviate stress, but it also helps to stave off the associated health conditions.

"Millions of people around the world already enjoy the health benefits of mind-body interventions like yoga or meditation, but what they perhaps don't realize is that these benefits begin at a molecular level and can change the way our genetic code goes about its business," says Buric.

"These activities are leaving what we call a molecular signature in our cells, which reverses the effect that stress or anxiety would have on the body by changing how our genes are expressed. Put simply, MBIs cause the brain to steer our DNA processes along a path which improves our well-being."

The team says that future studies should explore how the molecular effects of MBIs on stress compare with other interventions, such as exercise and diet.

"But this is an important foundation to build on to help future researchers explore the benefits of increasingly popular mind-body activities," Buric concludes.

Separately, a new study has found that the treatment can be more harmful than helpful if cardiac stem cells are involved.

Researchers found that using patients' own cardiac stem cells to repair damaged heart tissue may not only be ineffective, but that the stem cells may also develop inflammatory properties that cause further heart damage.

Study leader Prof Jonathan Leor, of the Sackler Faculty of Medicine and Sheba Medical Center at Tel Aviv University in Israel, and colleagues recently reported their findings in the journal Circulation.

Prof Leor and colleagues came to their findings by isolating stem cells derived from the cardiac tissue of mice that had left ventricular dysfunction caused by a heart attack.

The team then injected the stem cells back into the hearts of the mice and assessed how they affected heart remodelling and function, compared with a saline solution.

Instead of repairing the rodents' damaged heart tissue, the researchers found that the transplanted stem cells developed inflammatory properties, which may increase heart damage."We found that, contrary to popular belief, tissue stem cells derived from sick hearts do not contribute to heart healing after injury," explained Prof 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."

An increasing number of end-stage heart failure patients are turning to stem cell therapy as a "last resort," but the researchers believe that the treatment should be approached with caution.

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

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Israeli Scientists: Stem Cell Therapy Not Good for All Heart … – The Jewish Press – JewishPress.com

By JoanneRUSSELL25

Photo Credit: Nati Shohat / Flash 90

Patients with severe and end-stage heart failure have few treatment options available to them apart from transplants and miraculous stem cell therapy. But a new Tel Aviv University study has found that stem cell therapy may in fact harm patients with heart disease.

The research, led by Prof. Jonathan Leor of TAUs Sackler Faculty of Medicine and 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 deleterious or toxic for patients. The study was recently published in the journal Circulation.

We found that, contrary to popular belief, tissue stem cells derived from sick hearts do not contribute to heart healing after injury, said Prof. 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, a number of patients with heart failure 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 Prof. Leor. We concluded that stem cells used in cardiac therapy should be drawn from healthy donors or be better genetically engineered for the patient.

Hope for improved cardiac stem cell therapy

In addition, the researchers 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. After exploring the molecular pathway in mice, the researchers 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, Prof. Leor said.

We showed that the deletion of the gene responsible for this pathway can restore the original therapeutic function of the cells, said Prof. 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 Prof. Leor.

Meanwhile, for those unable to profit from stem cell therapy, researchers at Ben Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) have developed a revolutionary new drug that may reverse the damage and repair the diseased heart.

The newly developed drug is a polymer which reduces the inflammation in cardiovascular tissue and stops plaque build-up in arteries. Then it goes one step further and removes existing plaque in the heart, leaving healthy tissue behind.

Professor Ayelet David, a researcher at BGU revealed the drug might also help people suffering from diabetes, hypertension and other conditions associated with old age.

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How 3D Printing Can Help Mend a Broken Heart – Newsweek

By raymumme

Each year, more than 700,000 people suffer myocardial infarction, aka a heart attack. Thanks to medical advances, there are myriad ways for a doctor to get the blood properly pumping and save a persons life. A cardiologist might give a patient medication to clear or loosen blockages. Or a doctor might insert a catheter to remove the clot, or place stents in the artery so it stays open.

These interventions have vastly improved survival rates, but they dont heal the damage caused by a cardiac event. The heart is really just one big muscle, and trauma to any muscle does some damage, which becomes scar tissue. Scar tissue on the heart means it functions far less optimally, which eventually leads to heart failure.

Short of a transplant, there isnt a long-term option to fix a damaged ticker. But a team of researchers say theyve come up with a high-tech solution that could revolutionize cardiology. Using 3-D printing technology, Brenda Ogle, an associate professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, has created a patch a doctor could apply to mend a patients broken heart.

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A false-color scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a blood clot protruding from an arterial entrance in a heart chamber. This type of clot, known as coronary thrombosis, is the usual cause of myocardial infarction (heart attack). P. Motta/G. Macchiarelli/Sapienza University/Science Photo Libary/Getty

The concept is to imprint proteins that are native to the body, says Ogle. Weve used stem cellderived cardiac musclecardiac myocytesand actually mixed those with other cell types needed for blood vessels. This, she says, prevents what would otherwise happen naturally: The formation of a different type cells known as fibroblasts, which secrete scar tissue.

Ogle and her team of 3-D printing experts, clinical cardiologists and stem cell engineers have successfully tried the patch on mice. First, the team induced cardiac arrest in the rodents. When they then placed the cell patch on a mouse, researchers saw a significant increase in the functional capacity of the organ after just four weeks. We generated the continuous electric signal across the patch, and we can pace it: We can increase the frequency of beating up to three hertz, which is similar to a mouse heart, says Ogle who, this past January, published the findings of their experiment in Circulation Research, a journal from the American Heart Association.

The results of the experiment were so inspiring that in June 2016 the National Institutes of Health awarded her team a grant of more than $3 million, so they can now give pigs heart attacks and fix them with the patch. However, it will take some time to see their innovation in surgical departments, since using biological products such as cells requires a long regulatory process and, of course, quality assurance.

The replacement of muscle has been the holy grail for some time, says Ogle. Now we finally have the ability to take stem cells out of the body and develop the protocols to do that.

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Hair dyes, relaxers tied to raised breast cancer risk – The Nation

By NEVAGiles23

islamabad - New research finds evidence of a link between use of certain hair products, such as dyes and relaxers, and raised risk of breast cancer in women.

In their study report, the researchers explain that there is conflicting evidence on whether use of hair products, some of which contain cancer-causing chemicals, or carcinogens, can raise the risk of breast cancer in women.

Some of the evidence comes from animal testing, and some of it comes from studies in defined human populations. However, research in human populations has tended to focus on hair dyes, with mixed results.

The researchers investigated links between raised risk of breast cancer and use of hair products, with particular focus on the use of hair dyes, use of products for relaxing or straightening hair, and use of creams containing cholesterol or placenta for deep conditioning of hair.

When they analysed the data, the researchers found some significant links between raised risk for breast cancer and use of hair dyes and chemical relaxers, or straighteners, and that the patterns of risk differed between white women and black women.

For example, for black women, they found that use of dark shades of hair dye was linked to an overall higher risk of breast cancer, and an even higher risk of estrogen positive breast cancer.

For white women, the analysis found that use of relaxers, or straighteners, either alone or together with hair dyes, was linked to raised risk of breast cancer.

Among white women, there was also a raised risk of estrogen positive breast cancer with use of dark hair dyes and raised risk of estrogen negative breast cancer with use of relaxers.

The authors conclude that these findings support the idea of a relationship between use of certain hair products and a raised risk of breast cancer. They suggest: Further examination of hair products as important exposures contributing to breast cancer carcinogenesis are necessary.

Meanwhile, a new study, however, finds that the treatment could be more harmful than helpful if cardiac stem cells are involved.

Researchers found that using patients own cardiac stem cells to repair damaged heart tissue may not only be ineffective, but that the stem cells may also develop inflammatory properties that cause further heart damage.

Prof. Leor and colleagues came to their findings by isolating stem cells derived from the cardiac tissue of mice that had left ventricular dysfunction caused by a heart attack.

The team then injected the stem cells back into the hearts of the mice and assessed how they affected heart remodeling and function, compared with a saline solution.

Instead of repairing the rodents damaged heart tissue, the researchers found that the transplanted stem cells developed inflammatory properties, which may increase heart damage.

We found that, contrary to popular belief, tissue stem cells derived from sick hearts do not contribute to heart healing after injury, explains Prof 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.

An increasing number of end-stage heart failure patients are turning to stem cell therapy as a last resort, but the researchers believe that the treatment should be approached with caution.

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

While the findings may come as a blow for many heart failure patients, the study did uncover some information that could help to improve autologous stem cell therapy.

By studying stem cells derived from the heart tissue of mouse models and humans with heart disease, the team was able to identify the gene that causes the stem cells to develop inflammatory properties.

Furthermore, the researchers found that deleting this gene, called TLR4, can shift the stem cells back to a reparative state, a discovery that the team believes could be used to transform autologous stem cell therapy for patients with heart failure.

Our findings determine the potential negative effects of inflammation on stem cell function as theyre currently used, says Prof. Leor. The use of autologous stem cells from patients with heart disease should be modified.

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Station Crew Researches Mold, Rodents and Stem Cells as Cargo Ship Chases Station – Space Fellowship

By daniellenierenberg

Russias Progress 67 (67P) cargo craft is orbiting Earth and on its way to the International Space Station Friday morning carrying over three tons of food, fuel and supplies. Meanwhile, the three member Expedition 52 crew researched a variety of space science on Thursday while preparing for the arrival of the 67P.

Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin and Flight Engineer Jack Fischer will monitor the automated docking of the 67P to the Zvezda service module Friday at 7:42 a.m. EDT. NASA TV will broadcast live the resupply ships approach and rendezvous beginning at 7 a.m. The 67Ps docking will mark four spaceships attached to the space station.

Fischer spent the morning photographing mold and bacteria samples on petri dishes as part of six student-led biology experiments that are taking place inside a NanoRacks module. In the afternoon, he removed protein crystal samples from a science freezer, let them thaw and observed the samples using a specialized microscope.

Flight Engineer Peggy Whitson tended to rodents Thursday morning cleaning their habitat facilities and restocking their food. In the afternoon, she moved to human research swapping out samples for the Cardiac Stem Cells study that is exploring why living in space may accelerate the aging process.

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Cardiac stem cells from heart disease patients may be harmful – Medical Xpress

By raymumme

June 15, 2017

Patients with severe and end-stage heart failure have few treatment options available to them apart from transplants and "miraculous" stem cell therapy. But a new Tel Aviv University study finds that stem cell therapy may, in fact, harm heart disease patients.

The research, led by Prof. Jonathan Leor of TAU's Sackler Faculty of Medicine and Sheba Medical Center and conducted by TAU's Dr. Nili Naftali-Shani, explores the current practice of using cells from the host patient to repair tissueand contends that this can prove deleterious or toxic for patients. The study was recently published in the journal Circulation.

"We found that, contrary to popular belief, tissue stem cells derived from sick hearts do not contribute to heart healing after injury," said Prof. 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 tissueencourage 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 Prof. Leor. "We concluded that stem cells used in cardiac therapy should be drawn from healthy donors or be better genetically engineered for the patient."

Hope for improved cardiac stem cell therapy

In addition, the researchers 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. After exploring the molecular pathway in mice, the researchers focused on cardiac stem cells in patients with heart disease.

The results could help improve the use of autologous stem cellsthose drawn from the patients themselvesin cardiac therapy, Prof. Leor said.

"We showed that the deletion of the gene responsible for this pathway can restore the original therapeutic function of the cells," said Prof. Leor. "Our findings determine the potential negative effects of inflammation on stem cell function as they're 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 Prof. Leor.

Explore further: Adult stem cell types' heart repair potential probed

More information: Nili Naftali-Shani et al, Left Ventricular Dysfunction Switches Mesenchymal Stromal Cells Toward an Inflammatory Phenotype and Impairs Their Reparative Properties Via Toll-Like Receptor-4Clinical Perspective, Circulation (2017). DOI: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.116.023527

Journal reference: Circulation

Provided by: Tel Aviv University

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Domainex, Imperial College London Extend Cardiac Therapy Collaboration – Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News

By daniellenierenberg

Domainex will expand its two-year-old collaboration with Imperial College London to discover new therapies that reduce heart muscle damage during heart attacks, the partners said today.

Domainex and Imperial aim to discover a treatment that inhibits the enzyme MAP4K4, which is linked to cell death following heart attacks. Since the collaboration was launched in 2015, the partners said, they have discovered novel, potent, and selective MAP4K4 inhibitors using human cardiac muscle grown from human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs).

The inhibitors have shown promise in protecting these cells against oxidative stress, a trigger for cell death during heart attacks, Domainex and Imperial said.

As a result of the progress, Imperial College London said, its Professor Michael Schneider, Ph.D., has secured a follow-on award of 4.5 million (nearly $5.8 million) from the Wellcome Trusts Seeding Drug Discovery initiative to continue the research.

From its Medicines Research Centre near Cambridge, U.K., Domainex said, its researchers will continue to provide integrated drug discovery servicesincluding further biochemical, cellular and biophysical assay screening, and structure-guided medicinal chemistry coupled with drug metabolism, safety, and pharmacokinetic assessment of promising candidates.

Domainex and Imperial said they aim to advance potential treatments into preclinical development and ultimately to clinical evaluation.

"We have already identified a number of very exciting, novel inhibitors through structure-based drug design," Domainex CSO Trevor Perrior said in a statement. The innovative cardiac muscle assay developed by the team here at Domainex working in partnership with Imperial College London, is enabling early testing on human cardiac muscle cells, which will make cardiac drug discovery more efficient and effective in identifying efficacious candidate drugs.

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Human Heart Tissue Grown from Stem Cells Improves Drug Testing – Technology Networks

By raymumme

Researchers at the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) of A*STAR have engineered a three-dimensional heart tissue from human stem cells to test the safety and efficacy of new drugs on the heart.

Cardiotoxicity, which can lead to heart failure and even death, is a major cause of drug withdrawal from the market. Antibiotics, anticancer and antidiabetic medications can have unanticipated side effects for the heart. So it is important to test as early as possible whether a newly developed drug is safe for human use. However, cardiotoxicity is difficult to predict in the early stages of drug development, said Professor Jackie Y. Ying, Executive Director at IBN.

A big part of the problem is the use of animals or animal-derived cells in preclinical cardiotoxicity studies due to the limited availability of human heart muscle cells. Substantial genetic and cardiac differences exist between animals and humans. There have been a large number of cases whereby the tests failed to detect cardiovascular toxicity when moving from animal studies to human clinical trials*.

Existing screening methods based on 2D cardiac structure cannot accurately predict drug toxicity, while the currently available 3D structures for screening are difficult to fabricate in the quantities needed for commercial application.

To solve this problem, the IBN research team fabricated their 3D heart tissue from cellular self-assembly of heart muscle cells grown from human induced pluripotent stem cells. They also developed a fluorescence labelling technology to monitor changes in beating rate using a real-time video recording system. The new heart tissue exhibited more cardiac-specific genes, stronger contraction and higher beating rate compared to cells in a 2D structure.

Using the 3D heart tissue, we were able to correctly predict cardiotoxic effects based on changes in the beating rate, even when these were not detected by conventional tests. The method is simple and suitable for large-scale assessment of drug side effects. It could also be used to design personalized therapy using a patients own cells, said lead researcher Dr Andrew Wan, who is Team Leader and Principal Research Scientist at IBN.

The researchers have filed a patent on their human heart tissue model, and hope to work with clinicians and pharmaceutical companies to bring this technology to market.

This article has been republished frommaterialsprovided by A*STAR. Note: material may have been edited for length and content. For further information, please contact the cited source.

Reference:

Lu, H. F., Leong, M. F., Lim, T. C., Chua, Y. P., Lim, J. K., Du, C., & Wan, A. C. (2017). Engineering a functional three-dimensional human cardiac tissue model for drug toxicity screening. Biofabrication, 9(2), 025011. doi:10.1088/1758-5090/aa6c3a

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Human heart tissue grown from stem cells improves drug testing – Medical Xpress

By JoanneRUSSELL25

June 8, 2017 This image shows human heart muscle cells growing in the 3D tissue structure. The cells have been stained with fluorescent molecules to identify the nuclei in blue, and cardiac-specific protein, in green. Credit: Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore

Researchers at the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) of A*STAR have engineered a three-dimensional heart tissue from human stem cells to test the safety and efficacy of new drugs on the heart.

"Cardiotoxicity, which can lead to heart failure and even death, is a major cause of drug withdrawal from the market. Antibiotics, anticancer and antidiabetic medications can have unanticipated side effects for the heart. So it is important to test as early as possible whether a newly developed drug is safe for human use. However, cardiotoxicity is difficult to predict in the early stages of drug development," said Professor Jackie Y. Ying, Executive Director at IBN.

A big part of the problem is the use of animals or animal-derived cells in preclinical cardiotoxicity studies due to the limited availability of human heart muscle cells. Substantial genetic and cardiac differences exist between animals and humans. There have been a large number of cases whereby the tests failed to detect cardiovascular toxicity when moving from animal studies to human clinical trials.

Existing screening methods based on 2-D cardiac structure cannot accurately predict drug toxicity, while the currently available 3-D structures for screening are difficult to fabricate in the quantities needed for commercial application.

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To solve this problem, the IBN research team fabricated their 3-D heart tissue from cellular self-assembly of heart muscle cells grown from human induced pluripotent stem cells. They also developed a fluorescence labelling technology to monitor changes in beating rate using a real-time video recording system. The new heart tissue exhibited more cardiac-specific genes, stronger contraction and higher beating rate compared to cells in a 2-D structure.

"Using the 3-D heart tissue, we were able to correctly predict cardiotoxic effects based on changes in the beating rate, even when these were not detected by conventional tests. The method is simple and suitable for large-scale assessment of drug side effects. It could also be used to design personalized therapy using a patient's own cells," said lead researcher Dr Andrew Wan, who is Team Leader and Principal Research Scientist at IBN.

The researchers have filed a patent on their human heart tissue model, and hope to work with clinicians and pharmaceutical companies to bring this technology to market.

This finding was reported recently in the Biofabrication journal.

Explore further: Stem cell-based screening methods may predict heart-related side effects of drugs

More information: Hong Fang Lu et al. Engineering a functional three-dimensional human cardiac tissue model for drug toxicity screening, Biofabrication (2017). DOI: 10.1088/1758-5090/aa6c3a

Coaxing stem cells from patients to become heart cells may help clinicians personalize drug treatments and prevent heart-related toxicity.

Scientists at The University of Queensland have taken a significant step forward in cardiac disease research by creating a functional 'beating' human heart muscle from stem cells.

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A team of biomedical engineering researchers, led by the University of Minnesota, has created a revolutionary 3D-bioprinted patch that can help heal scarred heart tissue after a heart attack. The discovery is a major step ...

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Human heart tissue grown from stem cells improves drug testing - Medical Xpress

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Stem cells regenerate external layer of a human heart – Today’s Medical Developments

By NEVAGiles23

Activating stem cells Wnt signaling pathways can drive cardiac progenitor cells to become epicardium instead of myocardium cells.

A process using human stem cells can generate epicardium cells that cover the external surface of a human heart, according to a multidisciplinary team of researchers.

In 2012, we discovered that if we treated human stem cells with chemicals that sequentially activate and inhibit the Wnt signaling pathway, they become myocardium muscle cells, says Xiaojun Lance Lian, assistant professor of biomedical engineering and biology, who is leading the study at Pennsylvania State University (Penn State). Myocardium, the middle of the hearts three layers, is the thick, muscular part that contracts to drive blood through the body. The Wnt signaling pathway is a group of signal transduction pathways made of proteins that pass signals into a cell using cell-surface receptors.

We needed to provide the cardiac progenitor cells with additional information in order for them to generate into epicardium cells, but prior to this study, we didnt know what that information was, Lian says. Now, we know that if we activate the cells Wnt signaling pathway again, we can re-drive these cardiac progenitor cells to become epicardium cells, instead of myocardium cells.

Lance Lian/Penn State

The groups results bring researchers one step closer to regenerating an entire heart wall. Through morphological assessment and functional assay, the researchers found that the generated epicardium cells were similar to epicardium cells in living humans and those grown in the laboratory.

The last piece is turning cardiac progenitor cells to endocardium cells (the hearts inner layer), and we are making progress on that, Lian says.

The groups method of generating epicardium cells could be useful in clinical applications, for patients who suffer a heart attack.

Heart attacks occur due to blockage of blood vessels, Lian says. This blockage stops nutrients and oxygen from reaching the heart muscle, and muscle cells die. These muscle cells cannot regenerate themselves, so there is permanent damage, which can cause additional problems. These epicardium cells could be transplanted to the patient and potentially repair the damaged region.

In addition to generating the epicardium cells, researchers can keep them proliferating in the lab after treating them with a cell-signaling pathway Transforming Growth Factor Beta (TGF) inhibitor.

After 50 days, our cells did not show any signs of decreased proliferation. However, the proliferation of the control cells without the TGF Beta inhibitor started to plateau after the tenth day, Lian says.

Pennsylvania State University http://www.psu.edu

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SpaceX launches CU-built heart, bone health experiments to space station – CU Boulder Today

By Dr. Matthew Watson

Editors note: The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket scheduled to launch today from Florida was delayed due to weather conditions. The launch occured on Saturday, June 3.

A SpaceX rocket wasslated to launch two University of Colorado Boulder-built payloads to the International Space Station (ISS) from Florida on Thursday, including oneto look at changes in cardiovascular stem cells in microgravity that may someday help combat heart disease on Earth.

The Dragon spacecraft

The second payload will be used for rodent studies testing a novel treatment for bone loss in space, which has been documented in both astronauts and mice. The two payloads were developed by BioServe Space Technologies, a research center within the Ann and H.J Smead Department of Aerospace Engineering,

We have a solid relationship with SpaceX and NASA that allows us to regularly fly our flight hardware to the International Space Station, said BioServe Director Louis Stodieck. The low gravity of space provides a unique environment for biomedical experiments that cannot be reproduced on Earth, and our faculty, staff and students are very experienced in designing and building custom payloads for our academic, commercial and government partners.

The experiments will be launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and carried to the ISS on the companys Dragon spacecraft. The SpaceX-CRS-11 mission launching Thursday marks BioServes 55th mission to space.

The cardiovascular cell experiments, designed by Associate Professor Mary Kearns-Jonker of the Loma Linda University School of Medicine in Loma Linda, California, will investigate how low gravity affects stem cells, including physical and molecular changes. While spaceflight is known to affect cardiac cell structure and function, the biological basis for such impacts is not clearly understood, said BioServe Associate director Stefanie Countryman.

As part of the study, the researchers will be comparing changes in heart muscle stem cells in space with similar cells simultaneously cultured on Earth, said Countryman. Researchers are hopeful the findings could help lead to stem cell therapies to repair damaged cardiac tissue. The findings also could confirm suspicions by scientists that microgravity speeds up the aging process, Countryman said.

For the heart cell experiments, BioServe is providing high-tech, cell-culture hardware known as BioCells that will be loaded into shoebox-sized habitats on ISS. The experiments will be housed in BioServes Space Automated Bioproduct Lab (SABL), a newly updated smart incubator that will reduce the time astronauts spend manipulating the experiments.

The second experiment, created by Dr. Chia Soo of the UCLA School of Medicine, will test a new drug designed to not only block loss of bone but also to rebuild it.

The mice will ride in a NASA habitat designed for spaceflight to the ISS. Once on board, some mice will undergo injections with the new drug while others will be given a placebo. At the end of the experiments half of the mice will be returned to Earth in SpaceXs Dragon spacecraft and transported to UCLA for further study, said Stodieck, a scientific co-investigator on the experiment.

BioServes Space Automated Byproduct Lab

In addition to the two science experiments, BioServe is launching its third SABL unit to the ISS. Two SABL units are currently onboard ISS supporting multiple research experiments, including three previous stem cell experiments conducted by BioServe in collaboration with Stanford University, the Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota.

The addition of the third SABL unit will expand BioServes capabilities in an era of high-volume science on board the ISS, said Countryman.

BioServe researchers and students have flown hardware and experiments on missions aboard NASA space shuttles, the ISS and on Russian and Japanese government cargo rockets. BioServe previously has flown payloads on commercial cargo rockets developed by both SpaceX, headquartered in Hawthorne, California, and Orbital ATK, Inc. headquartered in Dulles, Virginia.

Since it was founded by NASA in 1987, BioServe has partnered with more than 100 companies and performed dozens of NASA-sponsored investigations. Itspartners include large and small pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, universities and NASA-funded researchers, and investigations sponsored by the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, which manages the ISS U.S. National Laboratory. CU-Boulder students are involved in all aspects of BioServe research efforts, said Stodieck.

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3D-Printed Patch Mends Hearts – Photonics.com

By raymumme

Photonics.com Jun 2017 MINNEAPOLIS, June 6, 2017 A new 3D-laser-printed patch has been developed that can help heal scarred heart tissue after a heart attack.

Researchers from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and University of Alabama-Birmingham used laser-based 3D bioprinting techniques to incorporate stem cells derived from adult human heart cells on a matrix that began to grow and beat synchronously in a dish in the lab.

"This is a significant step forward in treating the No. 1 cause of death in the U.S.," said Brenda Ogle, an associate professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Minnesota. "We feel that we could scale this up to repair hearts of larger animals and possibly even humans within the next several years."

The patch is modeled after a digital 3D scan of the structural proteins of native heart tissue. It is then made into a physical structure by 3D printing with proteins native to the heart and further integrating cardiac cell types derived from stem cells.

"We were quite surprised by how well it worked, given the complexity of the heart," Ogle said. "We were encouraged to see that the cells had aligned in the scaffold and showed a continuous wave of electrical signal that moved across the patch."

The researchers will soon begin working on a larger patch and testing it on a pig heart, which is similar to a human heart.

The research study is published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation Research (doi: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.116.310277).

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[ June 3, 2017 ] SpaceX rocket again set for station delivery after scientists swap mice, fruit flies Mission Reports – Spaceflight Now

By Dr. Matthew Watson

The Falcon 9 rocket is raised at launch pad 39A early Saturday for a second launch attempt. Credit: Spaceflight Now

A Falcon 9 rocket is again standing upright on launch pad 39A at NASAs Kennedy Space Center in Florida after ground teams lowered the booster Friday to swap out mice heading to the International Space Station for medical experiments.

Liftoff is set for 5:07 p.m. EDT (2107 GMT) to begin a nearly two-day journey to the space station, where the Dragon supply ship fixed to the top of the Falcon 9 rocket will arrive Monday.

The Dragon capsule, the first cargo craft SpaceX has refurbished and reused after a previous flight, is carrying nearly 6,000 pounds of experiments and equipment, including 40 mice inside specially-designed transporters for an investigation into a treatment that could combat bone loss in astronauts on long-duration space missions and osteoporosis in patients on the ground.

Once the mice arrive at the space station, astronauts will treat the rodents with NELL-1, a therapeutic treatment designed to promote bone growth, according to Chia Soo, the chief scientist for the experiment and a professor of plastic, reconstructive and orthopaedic surgery at UCLA.

Men and women past the age of 50, on the average, lose about a half-percent of bone mass per year, Soo said. But in microgravity conditions, the astronaut, on average, loses anywhere from 1 to 2 percent of bone mass per month.

She added that bone loss in astronauts has tremendous implications for humans with respect to long-term space travel or space habitation in microgravity because we end up progressively losing bone mass.

Twenty of the mice will return to Earth alive with the SpaceX Dragon supply ship in early July, the first time the commercial spacecraft has landed with live animals on-board. The 20 mice that come back alive will go to UCLAs laboratories for additional research and treatment.

The other 20 mice will remain on the space station for more observation and comparative studies with the mice on Earth. All of the animals will eventually be euthanized.

If successful, this will have tremendous implications for patients on Earth because if you look at statistics approximately one in every two to three females over the age of 50, or one in every four to five males over the age of 50, will have an osteoporosis-related fracture, Soo said.

We are hoping this study will give us some insights on how NELL-1 can work under these extreme conditions and if it can work for treating microgravity-related bone loss, which is a very accelerated, severe form of bone loss, then perhaps it can (be used) for patients one day on Earth who have bone loss due to trauma or due to aging or disease, Soo said.

After the Falcon 9 launch attempts scrub Thursday, teams lowered the launcher at pad 39A and installed a temporary white room on the Dragon capsules hatch to change out the rodent habitats and several other experiments.

The logistics are complicated, as you might imagine,Louis Stodieck, director of BioServe Space Technologies at the University of Colorado Boulder, wrote in an email to Spaceflight Now. We would normally be okay for two back-to-back launch attempts, but because orbital mechanics would not permit a launch attempt (Friday), the first scrub was automatically done for 48 hours rather than 24.

This forced us to reload with new animals and new Transporters (spaceflight habitats for the ride to space for the mice), Stodieck wrote. We plan for additional groups of mice just for such contingencies.

NASA spokesperson Dan Huot said other experiments that required a changeout for the two-day launch delay included a swarm of fruit flies launching to the space station to examine how prolonged spaceflight affects their heart function.

The hearts of the insects beat at about same rate as the human heart, making it a useful analog, scientists said.

We were back in the lab the night of the scrub setting up new egg collections and adult fly vials, said Karen Ocorr, a co-investigator on the fruit fly experiment from theSanford Burnham Research Institute. These replaced the original set of vials and have now been loaded onto the Dragon for todays attempt.

Researchers are sending between 4,000 and 6,000 fruit fly eggs to the space station, where they will hatch before coming back to Earth aboard the Dragon spacecraft.

We would like to understand the role of microgravity on astronaut heart function in order to try to prevent long-term effects when they are in space for long periods and after they come back, Ocorr said.

But there are real-world implications as well for people who are spending long periods of time in bedrest or immobilized, Ocorr said. We expect that what we find in our studies on the ISS will have implications for maintaining cardiac function in those sorts of situations.

Huot said two crystal growth expeiments and a payload to study how microgravity affects cardiac stem cells also needed to be replaced with the two-day launch delay.

Email the author.

Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @StephenClark1.

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SpaceX to launch CU-built heart, bone health experiments to space station – CU Boulder Today

By Dr. Matthew Watson

Editors note: The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket scheduled to launch today from Florida was delayed due to weather conditions. The launch has been rescheduled for Saturday, June 3.

A SpaceX rocket wasslated to launch two University of Colorado Boulder-built payloads to the International Space Station (ISS) from Florida on Thursday, including oneto look at changes in cardiovascular stem cells in microgravity that may someday help combat heart disease on Earth.

The Dragon spacecraft

The second payload will be used for rodent studies testing a novel treatment for bone loss in space, which has been documented in both astronauts and mice. The two payloads were developed by BioServe Space Technologies, a research center within the Ann and H.J Smead Department of Aerospace Engineering,

We have a solid relationship with SpaceX and NASA that allows us to regularly fly our flight hardware to the International Space Station, said BioServe Director Louis Stodieck. The low gravity of space provides a unique environment for biomedical experiments that cannot be reproduced on Earth, and our faculty, staff and students are very experienced in designing and building custom payloads for our academic, commercial and government partners.

The experiments will be launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and carried to the ISS on the companys Dragon spacecraft. The SpaceX-CRS-11 mission launching Thursday marks BioServes 55th mission to space.

The cardiovascular cell experiments, designed by Associate Professor Mary Kearns-Jonker of the Loma Linda University School of Medicine in Loma Linda, California, will investigate how low gravity affects stem cells, including physical and molecular changes. While spaceflight is known to affect cardiac cell structure and function, the biological basis for such impacts is not clearly understood, said BioServe Associate director Stefanie Countryman.

As part of the study, the researchers will be comparing changes in heart muscle stem cells in space with similar cells simultaneously cultured on Earth, said Countryman. Researchers are hopeful the findings could help lead to stem cell therapies to repair damaged cardiac tissue. The findings also could confirm suspicions by scientists that microgravity speeds up the aging process, Countryman said.

For the heart cell experiments, BioServe is providing high-tech, cell-culture hardware known as BioCells that will be loaded into shoebox-sized habitats on ISS. The experiments will be housed in BioServes Space Automated Bioproduct Lab (SABL), a newly updated smart incubator that will reduce the time astronauts spend manipulating the experiments.

The second experiment, created by Dr. Chia Soo of the UCLA School of Medicine, will test a new drug designed to not only block loss of bone but also to rebuild it.

The mice will ride in a NASA habitat designed for spaceflight to the ISS. Once on board, some mice will undergo injections with the new drug while others will be given a placebo. At the end of the experiments half of the mice will be returned to Earth in SpaceXs Dragon spacecraft and transported to UCLA for further study, said Stodieck, a scientific co-investigator on the experiment.

BioServes Space Automated Byproduct Lab

In addition to the two science experiments, BioServe is launching its third SABL unit to the ISS. Two SABL units are currently onboard ISS supporting multiple research experiments, including three previous stem cell experiments conducted by BioServe in collaboration with Stanford University, the Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota.

The addition of the third SABL unit will expand BioServes capabilities in an era of high-volume science on board the ISS, said Countryman.

BioServe researchers and students have flown hardware and experiments on missions aboard NASA space shuttles, the ISS and on Russian and Japanese government cargo rockets. BioServe previously has flown payloads on commercial cargo rockets developed by both SpaceX, headquartered in Hawthorne, California, and Orbital ATK, Inc. headquartered in Dulles, Virginia.

Since it was founded by NASA in 1987, BioServe has partnered with more than 100 companies and performed dozens of NASA-sponsored investigations. Itspartners include large and small pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, universities and NASA-funded researchers, and investigations sponsored by the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, which manages the ISS U.S. National Laboratory. CU-Boulder students are involved in all aspects of BioServe research efforts, said Stodieck.

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Can Tiny Plumbing Fix Broken Hearts? – NC State News

By daniellenierenberg

Illustration of the heart patch using artificial capillaries.

Editors note: This is a guest post by Frances Ligler, Lampe Distinguished Professor in the Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering (BME) at NC State and UNC-Chapel Hill. This is one of a series of posts from NC State researchers that address the value of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Judging from evidence provided by Star Wars and The Six Million Dollar Man, repairing body parts seems to require a screwdriver. However, teams of scientists and engineers are exploring other ways to repair our bodies and NC State faculty and students are collaborating across colleges to perform cutting-edge experiments to further regenerative medicine therapeutics.

Before joining NC State, Michael Daniele (an assistant professor of BME and electrical and computer engineering) and I invented a method of making long strings of artificial blood capillaries by creating soft walls in between fluids streaming through a small channel. Cells present in the streams were incorporated into the capillaries to mimic the 3-D architecture of your capillaries and veins.

At NC State, we joined forces with Ke Cheng, an expert in stem cells and cardiology from the College of Veterinary Medicine, to incorporate these artificial capillaries into a degradable patch containing cardiac stem cells. Postdoctoral fellow Teng Su placed the patches on damaged areas of rat hearts and showed both repair of the rat heart tissue and return of the pumping capacity of the heart (which does not happen under the untreated condition where scar tissue forms in the damaged heart).

In another exciting collaboration, Matt Fisher from BME, Rohan Shirwaiker (an associate professor of industrial and systems engineering) and Behnam Pourdeyhimi from the College of Textiles are teaming up to reconstruct damaged knees. They are recreating the underlying fibrous scaffolds that support the cartilage in a manner that better mimics the original knee and supports the growth of the normal cell type within the new scaffolds which should improve healing and support a return to normal function in the knee.

The variety of skills required for this project include designing an entirely new device for printing fibers, understanding how to arrange the fibers and change their composition to accommodate bone or cartilage-forming cells, and learning how the new tissue develops to accommodate physical motion.

The lure of replacement body parts is widespread. There are far more people waiting for replacement organs than can be accommodated by human donors. Learning to use an individuals own cells to trigger tissue regeneration has far more long-term potential to address the ever-growing needs of accident victims and an aging population.

The key to success lies with teams of dedicated scientists, engineers, medical professionals and financial supporters that are focused on using the lessons learned across many fields to solve this grand challenge.

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SpaceX to launch heart, bone health experiments to space station – CU Boulder Today

By Sykes24Tracey

Editors note: The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket scheduled to launch today from Florida was delayed due to weather conditions. The launch has been rescheduled for Saturday, June 3.

A SpaceX rocket wasslated to launch two University of Colorado Boulder-built payloads to the International Space Station (ISS) from Florida on Thursday, including oneto look at changes in cardiovascular stem cells in microgravity that may someday help combat heart disease on Earth.

The Dragon spacecraft

The second payload will be used for rodent studies testing a novel treatment for bone loss in space, which has been documented in both astronauts and mice. The two payloads were developed by BioServe Space Technologies, a research center within the Ann and H.J Smead Department of Aerospace Engineering,

We have a solid relationship with SpaceX and NASA that allows us to regularly fly our flight hardware to the International Space Station, said BioServe Director Louis Stodieck. The low gravity of space provides a unique environment for biomedical experiments that cannot be reproduced on Earth, and our faculty, staff and students are very experienced in designing and building custom payloads for our academic, commercial and government partners.

The experiments will be launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and carried to the ISS on the companys Dragon spacecraft. The SpaceX-CRS-11 mission launching Thursday marks BioServes 55th mission to space.

The cardiovascular cell experiments, designed by Associate Professor Mary Kearns-Jonker of the Loma Linda University School of Medicine in Loma Linda, California, will investigate how low gravity affects stem cells, including physical and molecular changes. While spaceflight is known to affect cardiac cell structure and function, the biological basis for such impacts is not clearly understood, said BioServe Associate director Stefanie Countryman.

As part of the study, the researchers will be comparing changes in heart muscle stem cells in space with similar cells simultaneously cultured on Earth, said Countryman. Researchers are hopeful the findings could help lead to stem cell therapies to repair damaged cardiac tissue. The findings also could confirm suspicions by scientists that microgravity speeds up the aging process, Countryman said.

For the heart cell experiments, BioServe is providing high-tech, cell-culture hardware known as BioCells that will be loaded into shoebox-sized habitats on ISS. The experiments will be housed in BioServes Space Automated Bioproduct Lab (SABL), a newly updated smart incubator that will reduce the time astronauts spend manipulating the experiments.

The second experiment, created by Dr. Chia Soo of the UCLA School of Medicine, will test a new drug designed to not only block loss of bone but also to rebuild it.

The mice will ride in a NASA habitat designed for spaceflight to the ISS. Once on board, some mice will undergo injections with the new drug while others will be given a placebo. At the end of the experiments half of the mice will be returned to Earth in SpaceXs Dragon spacecraft and transported to UCLA for further study, said Stodieck, a scientific co-investigator on the experiment.

BioServes Space Automated Byproduct Lab

In addition to the two science experiments, BioServe is launching its third SABL unit to the ISS. Two SABL units are currently onboard ISS supporting multiple research experiments, including three previous stem cell experiments conducted by BioServe in collaboration with Stanford University, the Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota.

The addition of the third SABL unit will expand BioServes capabilities in an era of high-volume science on board the ISS, said Countryman.

BioServe researchers and students have flown hardware and experiments on missions aboard NASA space shuttles, the ISS and on Russian and Japanese government cargo rockets. BioServe previously has flown payloads on commercial cargo rockets developed by both SpaceX, headquartered in Hawthorne, California, and Orbital ATK, Inc. headquartered in Dulles, Virginia.

Since it was founded by NASA in 1987, BioServe has partnered with more than 100 companies and performed dozens of NASA-sponsored investigations. Itspartners include large and small pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, universities and NASA-funded researchers, and investigations sponsored by the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, which manages the ISS U.S. National Laboratory. CU-Boulder students are involved in all aspects of BioServe research efforts, said Stodieck.

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Vistagen Therapeutics, Inc. – Seeking Alpha

By JoanneRUSSELL25

Vistagen Therapeutics, Inc.

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"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. Our lead CNS product candidate, AV-101, is a new generation oral antidepressant drug candidate in Phase 2 development. AV-101's mechanism of action is fundamentally differentiated from all FDA-approved antidepressants and atypical antipsychotics used adjunctively to treat major depressive disorder (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, and one of the world's foremost experts on the use of low dose IV ketamine and other NMDA receptor antagonists to treat MDD. VistaGen is also 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 antidepressant therapies. Dr. Maurizio Fava of Harvard University will be the Principal Investigator of the 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 chronic neuropathic pain, epilepsy, Parkinson's disease and Huntington's disease, where modulation of the NMDAR, AMPA pathway and/or key active metabolites of AV-101 may achieve therapeutic benefit. In addition to our AV-101 programs, VistaStem, VistaGens wholly owned subsidiary, is applying our human pluripotent stem cell (hPSC) technology platform and CardioSafe 3D, our customized in-vitro human cardiac cell bioassay system, to predict potential heart toxicity of new chemical entities (NCEs) long before they are tested in preclinical animal studies and human clinical studies. Having successfully assessed AV-101 and numerous other drug candidates to establish the clinically predictive capabilities of CardioSafe 3D, we are now using CardioSafe 3D to expand our pipeline through cardiac liability-focused small molecule drug rescue, and to participate, together with a select group of companies, in the FDA's Comprehensive in-vitro Proarrhythmia Assay (CIPA) initiative designed to change the landscape of preclinical drug development by providing a more complete and accurate assessment of potential drug effects on cardiac risk. We are also focused on collaborating with others to advance development and commercialization of medicine and cell therapy applications of our stem cell technology across a range of cell types, including blood, bone, cartilage, heart and liver cells. In December 2016, we entered into an exclusive sublicense agreement with BlueRock Therapeutics L.P, a next generation regenerative medicine company established by Bayer AG and Versant Ventures, for our rights to proprietary technologies relating to the production of cardiac stem cells for the treatment of heart disease."

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Station Ramps Up for Cardiac Research Loaded on Dragon … – Space Fellowship

By NEVAGiles23

The Expedition 51 crew members are awaiting a new space shipment and getting ready for new science experiments. The crew is also preparing for the departure of a pair of International Space Station flight engineers.

The Falcon 9 rocket that will launch the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft to space is resting at its launch pad today at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Dragon will lift off Thursday at 5:55 p.m. EDT on a three-day trip to the stations Harmony module.

Inside the commercial space freighter is nearly 6,000 pounds of crew supplies, station hardware and science experiments. One of those experiments, Cardiac Stem Cells, will research how stem cells affect cardiac biology and tissue regeneration in space. The stations Microgravity Science Glovebox is being readied for the study which may provide insight into accelerated aging due to living in microgravity.

On Friday, cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy will command the Soyuz MS-03 spacecraft to return him and European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet back to Earth after 196 days in space. The two crew members are packing their spacecraft with research samples, hardware and personal items for the near 3.5 hour ride home. The duo will undock from the Rassvet module at 6:47 a.m. EDT. They will then parachute to a landing in Kazakhstan at 10:10 a.m. (8:10 p.m. Kazakh time).

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Station Ramps Up for Cardiac Research Loaded on Dragon ... - Space Fellowship

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