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Stem cell therapy shows promise in fight against HIV

SACRAMENTO UC Davis Health System researchers are a step closer to launching human clinical trials involving the use of an innovative stem cell therapy to fight the virus that causes AIDS.

In a paper published in the May issue of the Journal of Virology, the UC Davis HIV team demonstrated both the safety and efficacy of transplanting anti-HIV stem cells into mice that represent models of infected patients. The technique, which involves replacing the immune system with stem cells engineered with a triple combination of HIV-resistant genes, proved capable of replicating a normally functioning human immune system by protecting and expanding HIV-resistant immune cells. The cells thrived and self-renewed even when challenged with an HIV viral load.

"We envision this as a potential functional cure for patients infected with HIV, giving them the ability to maintain a normal immune system through genetic resistance," said lead author Joseph Anderson, an assistant adjunct professor of internal medicine and a stem cell researcher at the UC Davis Institute for Regenerative Cures. "Ideally, it would be a one-time treatment through which stem cells express HIV-resistant genes, which in turn generate an entire HIV-resistant immune system."

To establish immunity in mice whose immune systems paralleled those of patients with HIV, Anderson and his team genetically modified human blood stem cells, which are responsible for producing the various types of immune cells in the body.

Building on work that members of the team have pursued over the last decade, they developed several anti-HIV genes that were inserted into blood stem cells using standard gene-therapy techniques and viral vectors (viruses that efficiently insert the genes they carry into host cells). The resulting combination vector contained:

These engineered blood stem cells, which could be differentiated into normal and functional human immune cells, were introduced into the mice. The goal was to validate whether this experimental treatment would result in an immune system that remained functional, even in the face of an HIV infection, and would halt or slow the progression toward AIDS.

The results were successful on all counts.

"After we challenged transplanted mice with live HIV, we demonstrated that the cells with HIV-resistant genes were protected from infection and survived in the face of a viral challenge, maintaining normal human CD4 levels," said Anderson.

CD4+ T-cells are a type of specialized immune cell that HIV attacks and uses to make more copies of HIV.

"We actually saw an expansion of resistant cells after the viral challenge, because other cells which were not resistant were being killed off, and only the resistant cells remained, which took over the immune system and maintained normal CD4 levels," added Anderson.

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Study using stem cell therapy shows promise in fight against HIV

Public release date: 1-May-2012 [ | E-mail | Share ]

Contact: Charles Casey charles.casey@ucdmc.ucdavis.edu 916-734-9048 University of California - Davis Health System

UC Davis Health System researchers are a step closer to launching human clinical trials involving the use of an innovative stem cell therapy to fight the virus that causes AIDS.

In a paper published in the May issue of the Journal of Virology, the UC Davis HIV team demonstrated both the safety and efficacy of transplanting anti-HIV stem cells into mice that represent models of infected patients. The technique, which involves replacing the immune system with stem cells engineered with a triple combination of HIV-resistant genes, proved capable of replicating a normally functioning human immune system by protecting and expanding HIV-resistant immune cells. The cells thrived and self-renewed even when challenged with an HIV viral load.

"We envision this as a potential functional cure for patients infected with HIV, giving them the ability to maintain a normal immune system through genetic resistance," said lead author Joseph Anderson, an assistant adjunct professor of internal medicine and a stem cell researcher at the UC Davis Institute for Regenerative Cures. "Ideally, it would be a one-time treatment through which stem cells express HIV-resistant genes, which in turn generate an entire HIV-resistant immune system."

To establish immunity in mice whose immune systems paralleled those of patients with HIV, Anderson and his team genetically modified human blood stem cells, which are responsible for producing the various types of immune cells in the body.

Building on work that members of the team have pursued over the last decade, they developed several anti-HIV genes that were inserted into blood stem cells using standard gene-therapy techniques and viral vectors (viruses that efficiently insert the genes they carry into host cells). The resulting combination vector contained:

a human/rhesus macaque TRIM5 isoform, which disrupts HIV from uncoating in the cytoplasm a CCR5 short hairpin RNA (shRNA), which prevents certain strains of HIV from attaching to target cells a TAR decoy, which stops HIV genes from being expressed inside of the cell by soaking up a critical protein needed for HIV gene expression These engineered blood stem cells, which could be differentiated into normal and functional human immune cells, were introduced into the mice. The goal was to validate whether this experimental treatment would result in an immune system that remained functional, even in the face of an HIV infection, and would halt or slow the progression toward AIDS.

The results were successful on all counts.

"After we challenged transplanted mice with live HIV, we demonstrated that the cells with HIV-resistant genes were protected from infection and survived in the face of a viral challenge, maintaining normal human CD4 levels," said Anderson. CD4+ T-cells are a type of specialized immune cell that HIV attacks and uses to make more copies of HIV.

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University of Miami’s Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute Awarded $10 Million Grant from Starr Foundation

MIAMI--(BUSINESS WIRE)--

The University of Miami Miller School of Medicines Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute (ISCI) today announced that it received a $10 million grant from The Starr Foundation, one of the largest private foundations in the United States. The grant will support ISCI in broadening its preclinical and clinical research on stem cells, and help accelerate its pipeline of translational research and programs for a wide range of debilitating conditions including cardiac disease, cancer, wound healing, stroke, glaucoma and chronic kidney and gastrointestinal diseases.

This is a momentous and transformative gift for the Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute, said Joshua M. Hare, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.H.A., Louis Lemberg Professor of Medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and director of ISCI. We are so gratified that the level of science being conducted here was recognized by this very generous grant from The Starr Foundation. With this award, we join the ranks of the other major top-tier universities funded by The Starr Foundation. This support, along with our growing NIH funding, technology transfer, and other philanthropic efforts guarantees the stability of ISCI through the end of the decade, and will allow us to continue to push the boundaries of regenerative medicine with the goal of improving human health.

Stem cells and regenerative medicine are poised to transform the way we practice medicine, cure disease and treat injuries. To realize this potential, the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine is performing world-leading research at ISCI, said Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs and Dean of the Miller School of Medicine, and Chief Executive Officer of the University of Miami Health System. We are extremely proud of this recognition by The Starr Foundation that ISCI, and the Miller School of Medicine, are leading the way for stem cell and regenerative medicine breakthroughs.

Donna E. Shalala, President of the University of Miami, said the grant from the foundation will have long-reaching implications for future medicine. The team at ISCI is making new discoveries on a number of fronts and this substantial support from The Starr Foundation propels that work forward, both in the laboratory and in clinical trials.

For more on the grant, click here.

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BioRestorative Therapies Announces Next Generation of Stem Cell Disc Delivery Device

JUPITER, Fla., May 3, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --BioRestorative Therapies, Inc. ("BRT" or the "Company") (BRTX.PK), a life sciences company focused on adult stem cell-based therapies, announced today that the latest version of its stem cell disc delivery device, which is to be used in the treatment of bulging and herniated discs, has shown improvements when compared to earlier versions.

The first generation of the device had shown the potential to reduce disc bulges and avoid lower back surgery with a simple injection procedure. The latest generation has shown improvements, and testing of the device will continue to be done to obtain improved disc penetration and steering for optimal cell placement.

The patent-pending delivery device to be used by medical practitioners is a specifically designed needle/catheter delivery system that will inject cells directly into the annular tear that is causing the bulge or herniation.

On April 11, 2012, the Company announced the closing of its licensing agreement with Regenerative Sciences, Inc. pursuant to which BRT was granted, among other things, the exclusive right to license and sell the stem cell delivery device worldwide.

Mark Weinreb, CEO of BRT, commented, "The delivery device's novel design and unique capability of delivering cells, specifically where they are most effective, is a necessary component of the treatment regimen. As our disc restoration program advances and we receive all necessary approvals, we look forward to easing the pain experienced by back and disc pain sufferers."

About BioRestorative Therapies, Inc.

BioRestorative Therapies, Inc.'s goal is to become a leader in developing medical procedures using cell and tissue protocols, primarily involving a patient's own stem cells (non-embryonic), allowing patients to undergo cellular-based treatments. The Company has obtained a license for the adult stem cell treatments of disc and spine conditions, including bulging and herniated discs. The technology is an advanced stem cell injection procedure, using the patient's own cells, that may offer relief from lower back pain, buttock and leg pain, and numbness and tingling in the legs and feet. The Company has also launched a technology that involves the use of a brown fat cell-based therapeutic/aesthetic program, known as the ThermoStem Program. The ThermoStem Program will focus on treatments for obesity, weight loss, diabetes, hypertension, other metabolic disorders and cardiac deficiencies and will involve the study of stem cells, several genes, proteins and/or mechanisms that are related to these diseases and disorders. The Company also offers facial creams and products under the Stem Pearls brand.

This press release contains "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and such forward-looking statements are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. You are cautioned that such statements are subject to a multitude of risks and uncertainties that could cause future circumstances, events or results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements as a result of various factors and other risks, including those set forth in the Company's Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. You should consider these factors in evaluating the forward-looking statements included herein, and not place undue reliance on such statements. The forward-looking statements in this release are made as of the date hereof and the Company undertakes no obligation to update such statements.

Investor Contacts: KCSA Strategic Communications Philip Carlson / Josh Dver +1 212.896.1233 / +1 212.896.1239 pcarlson@kcsa.com / jdver@kcsa.com

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Cryo-Cell International Taps Leader in Stem Cell Therapy to Serve as Chief Scientific Officer

OLDSMAR, Fla., May 3, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- via PRWEB - Cryo-Cell International, Inc. announced the appointment of Linda Kelley, Ph.D., as chief scientific officer. Dr. Kelley is responsible for overseeing Cryo-Cells state-of-the art laboratory, translational medicine initiatives and quality assurance program at its stem cell and cord blood banking facility in Oldsmar, Florida. She joins the company from the Dana Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard, where she was the director of the Connell OReilly Cell Manipulation Core Facility.

Dr. Kelley is an internationally recognized, cord blood stem cell scientist whose accomplishments have helped expand the scope of stem cell therapies from bone marrow transplantation to the treatment of heart, kidney, brain and other degenerative diseases. She was a member of the board of trustees of the Foundation for Accreditation of Cellular Therapy and chaired its Standards Committee. Dr. Kelley was one of 12 scientists selected by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Science to serve on the panel that advised Congress on how to allocate $80 million in funding to optimally structure a national cord blood stem cell program.

While director of the Cell Therapy Facility at the University of Utah, she established that states first umbilical cord blood collection program that enabled families to donate their childrens cord blood to the national inventory. Dr. Kelley earned graduate and post-doctoral degrees in hematology and immunology at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., where she also served as assistant professor in the Department of Medicine.

As a leader in our field, Cryo-Cell is delighted to have someone of Dr. Kelleys caliber directing our laboratory and translational medicine initiatives. Her expertise will ensure that we continue to exceed the industrys quality standards and maintain our tradition of offering clients the absolute best in cord blood, cord tissue, and menstrual stem cell cryopreservation services, said David Portnoy, chairman and co-CEO at Cryo-Cell. Under her guidance, Cryo-Cell will be propelled to the forefront of regenerative medicine.

Kelley replaces Julie Allickson, Ph.D., who is joining the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM), where she will manage translational research. WFIRM is led by Anthony Atala, M.D., a Cryo-Cell board member and preeminent stem cell scientist.

The opportunity to work in a cutting-edge facility with a staff that is exceptionally well trained was very attractive to me, said Dr. Kelley. But equally important in my decision to join Cryo-Cell, was the commitment that co-CEOs David and Mark Portnoy have made to support the advancement of regenerative medicine through partnerships with Stanford University and private research facilities. Cryo-Cell is unique among stem cell cryopreservation firms in that regard.

About Cryo-Cell International, Inc. Cryo-Cell International, Inc. was founded in 1989. In 1992, it became the first private cord blood bank in the world to separate and store stem cells. Today, Cryo-Cell has over 240,000 clients worldwide from 87 countries. Cryo-Cell's mission is to provide clients with state-of-the-art stem cell cryopreservation services and support the advancement of regenerative medicine. Cryo-Cell operates in a facility that is compliant with Good Manufacturing Practice and Good Tissue Practice (cGMP/cGTP). It is ISO 9001:2008 certified and accredited by the American Association of Blood Banks. Cryo-Cell is a publicly traded company, OTC:QB Markets Group Symbol: CCEL. Expectant parents or healthcare professionals who wish to learn more about cord blood banking and cord blood banking prices may call 1-800-STOR-CELL (1-800-786-7235) or visit http://www.cryo-cell.com/.

Forward-Looking Statement Statements wherein the terms "believes", "intends", "projects", "anticipates", "expects", and similar expressions as used are intended to reflect "forward-looking statements" of the Company. The information contained herein is subject to various risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the results anticipated in such forward-looking statements or paragraphs, many of which are outside the control of the Company. These uncertainties and other factors include the success of the Company's global expansion initiatives and product diversification, the Company's actual future ownership stake in future therapies emerging from its collaborative research partnerships, the success related to its IP portfolio, the Company's future competitive position in stem cell innovation, future success of its core business and the competitive impact of public cord blood banking on the Company's business, the Company's ability to minimize future costs to the Company related to R&D initiatives and collaborations and the success of such initiatives and collaborations, the success and enforceability of the Company's menstrual stem cell technology license agreements and umbilical cord blood license agreements and their ability to provide the Company with royalty fees, the ability of the reproductive tissue storage to generate new revenues for the Company and those risks and uncertainties contained in risk factors described in documents the Company files from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and any Current Reports on Form 8-K filed by the Company. The Company disclaims any obligations to subsequently revise any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date of such statements.

Contact: David Portnoy Cryo-Cell International, Inc. 813-749-2100 dportnoy(at)cryo-cell(dot)com

This article was originally distributed on PRWeb. For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.prweb.com/releases/2012/5/prweb9469228.htm

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Fibrocell Science Technology Leads to Discovery of Two Rare Adult Stem Cell-Like Subpopulations in Human Skin

EXTON, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--

In collaboration with Fibrocell Science, Inc., (OTCBB:FCSC.OB), researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) have identified two rare adult stem cell-like subpopulations in adult human skin, a discovery that may yield further ground-breaking research in the field of personalized medicine for a broad range of diseases. Using technology developed by Fibrocell Science, Inc. the researchers were able to confirm the existence of these two types of cells in human skin cell cultures, potentially providing a source of stem cell-like subpopulations from skin biopsies, which are quicker to perform, relatively painless and less invasive than bone marrow and adipose tissue extractions, which are the current methods for deriving adult stem cells for patient-specific cellular therapies.

The findings, which are reported in the inaugural issue of BioResearch Open Access, pertain to two subtypes of cells: SSEA3-expressing regeneration-associated (SERA) cells, which may play a role in the regeneration of human skin in response to injury and mesenchymal adult stem cells (MSCs), which are under investigation (by many independent researchers) for their ability to differentiate into the three main types of cells: osteoblasts (bone cells), chondrocytes (cartilage cells) and adipocytes (fat cells). Finding these specialized cells within the skin cell cultures is important because rather than undergoing a surgical organ or tissue transplantation to replace diseased or destroyed tissue, patients may one day be able to benefit from procedures by which stem cells are extracted from their skin, reprogrammed to differentiate into specific cell types and reimplanted into their bodies to exert a therapeutic effect. Research in this area is ongoing.

Finding these rare adult stem cell-like subpopulations in human skin is an exciting discovery and provides the first step towards purifying and expanding these cells to clinically relevant numbers for application to a variety of potential personalized cellular therapies for osteoarthritis, bone loss, injury and/or damage to human skin as well as many other diseases, said James A. Byrne, Ph.D., the studys lead author and Assistant Professor of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology at the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA. In addition to pursuing our own research investigations with Fibrocell Science using this method, we envision a time not too far in the future when we will be able to isolate and produce mesenchymal stem cells and SERA cells on demand from skin samples, which may allow other researchers in need of specialized cells to pursue their own lines of medical and scientific research.

We congratulate the UCLA researchers on the publication of their breakthrough data, which may ultimately lead to new patient-specific, personalized cellular therapies to treat various diseases, said David Pernock, Chairman and CEO of Fibrocell Science, Inc. Fibrocell Science is proud of our role in helping to establish the potential of dermal skin cells for the future of personalized, regenerative medicine. We look forward to continuing our relationship with UCLA and Dr. Byrnes team to advance this research.

Discovering Viable, Regenerative Cells in the Skin

Dr. Byrne and colleagues confirmed previous research identifying a rare population of cells in adult human skin that has a marker called the stage-specific embryonic antigen 3 (SSEA3). Dr. Byrne observed that there was a significant increase in the number of SSEA3 expressing cells following injury to human skin, supporting the hypothesis that the SSEA3 biomarker can be used to facilitate the identification and isolation of these cells with tissue-regenerative properties.

Using Fibrocells proprietary technology, the researchers collected cells from small skin samples, cultured the cells in the lab, and purified them via a technique known as fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS). Under FACS, cells in suspension were tagged with fluorescent markers specific for undifferentiated stem cells. This method allowed the researchers to separate the rare cell subpopulations from other types of cells.

Dr. Byrne and colleagues also observed a rare subpopulation of functional MSCs in human skin that existed in addition to the SERA cells.

Being able to identify two sub-populations of rare, viable and functional cells that behave like stem cells from within the skin is an important finding because both cell types have the potential to be investigated for diverse clinical applications, said Dr. Byrne.

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