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Category Archives: New Jersey Stem Cells

Time to Go Sushi With Cellular Salmon; When Pet Owners Tire of Their Minions – The SandPaper

Posted: August 18, 2021 at 2:04 am

Sushi-loving diners in Callie will soon be partaking of test-tube salmon, compliments of San Francisco-based firm Wildtype. The company touts itself as Building a better food system by pioneering cellular agriculture to grow delicious cuts of our favorite seafood no fishing or fish farming required. I know, just when you think life cant get any weirder.

The companys website hypes its cutting-edge efforts as reinventing seafood, with a clever emphasis on inventing, since the entire process has come about through lab experimentation on handpicked cells of salmon, in the vein of stem cell exploration.

The seeds of Wildtypes chunks seed money has already been gotten aplenty comes via the choicest cells of the finest wild salmon, including king salmon, the finest and fattiest known. Once cells have been adroitly procured, the cellular growing process is on, as the meat of the matter is grown upon a type of organic plant-based scaffolding until done or ripe or something.

The plant-based scaffolding we provide for the cells to grow on, along with all the necessary nutrients like sugars, amino acids, and fats we deliver in solution, allows for the formation of the complex textures that were able to create for all types of sushi products spanning sashimi, nigiri and maki rolls, explains the companys cofounder Ary Elfenbein, a cardiologist and molecular biologist.

Wildtypes test-tube salmon is rather frighteningly identical to the real swimming thing, with a fat composition like the donor fish, including levels of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, but none of the heavy metals, microplastics, parasites, or antibiotics found in most salmon, per the companys website.

One of this methods claims to fame is how it might reduce the need for environmentally suspect fish farming.

Net pens used in fish farming pollute sensitive coastal waterways with concentrated excrement. Many farms have had escape events, introducing invasive species into sensitive ecosystems that compete with local fish populations, company cofounder Justin Kolbeck recently told Forbes magazine.

It should be emphasized this grown-in-house fish product is not even remotely related to soy-based imitation seafood and meats. The end products DNA makeup is salmon all the way; theres simply no energy wasted on the little things, like growing skeletons, scales, internal organs or brains.

Anyone remember the sci-fi thriller The Blob? Just asking for no particular reason.

To buttress Kolbecks point about escape, its profoundly unlikely that a chunk of Wildtype salmon will ooze out of the lab, leaving behind a telltale slime trail along the escape route before seeping seaward to freedom. Of course, should that happen, it would be quite a hook-up sight for any angler reeling in a big chunk of raw salmon meat. Anyone know how to clean this thing? Oh, wait, now that I think about it

OK, should we buy into this New Age salmon meat when it hits close to home? It will hit select market by next month or so, after which the company hopes to eventually produce tons and tons of its highly salmonesque stuff. Also, reports indicate other companies are champing at the test tube to get in on cellular seafood.

Personally, I somewhat prefer my seafood has seen the sea. That said, there is no doubt lab-grown seafood could be a healthy alternative to our overfishing of the worlds oceans. I can even foresee both wild-caught salmon and the beaker-based variety being served at a meal and folks clearly preferring the Wildtype offering, calling the natural too gamey.

As to the early taste tests of freshly picked/harvested Wildtype salmon, even educated buds are giving it flying colors speaking of which, the color of Wildtype salmon is identical to the donor fishs flesh color since it is the exact same fish again with the DNA thing.

For you travelers, if youre out San Fran way, the Wildtype company is all but begging folks to stop on in.

Wildtype wants to establish a high standard of education, trust, and transparency with our customers and the public. We want to show people where their food comes from and how its made, offer the owners.

Ill wax snarky by wondering if it might not be best to place test-tube salmon making in the same realm as, say, scrapple making. Philly folks get my dont ask/dont tell drift.

By the by, there have been some unique growing pains to developing a better bodiless salmon. For some unknown cell binding reason, the first chunks did not take at all well to cooking. The meat broke into what might be called individual component parts hundreds of tiny undefinable pieces of salmon essence. I cant imagine what that would have looked like and I would surely have been the only one in the lab laughing my ass off.

The last I heard, the creative minds of the company are tweaking the growing process so we can someday buy San Fran salmon for more than just sashimi, sushi and sausages.

I will absolutely be among the early-on buyers of salmon a la lab. One problem I see is naming the stuff with full disclosure in tow. There must be a distinct, immediately recognizable terminology. Ill be the first to admit that test-tube salmon would be off-putting. Less so would be manmade salmon or sea-free salmon. The company itself might run with cellular salmon, based on its self-hype that Wildtype is pioneering cellular agriculture to grow delicious cuts of our favorite seafood no fishing or fish farming required.

ECO-UGLY ABANDONMENT: I need to combine two tales in one since both have to do with mankind unloosing nonindigenous species into our delicate Pinelands environment.

The more recent of the two comes via a jungle-ish find by Division of Fish and Wildlife conservation officers. While on patrol, the officers came across your everyday boa constrictor crossing a dirt road. Yes, its everyday if you live in frickin Central America!

The 4-footer was found in a state Wildlife Management Area. Id safely venture to say it was not simply taking in the sights of our outback before making the long slither back to some tropical rainforest.

Forgoing the other minuscule possibility that the boas owner had simply been out walking it only to have his minion slip its leash, this was an all too familiar case of someone ignobly abandoning a faithful critter even after it had dedicated its entire life to being a family-member pet.

OK, that might sound a bit overemotional, but such dump-offs are a lousy trick by incompetent-as-s*** pet owners.

As to what would have become of the tropical snake had it not come back to the road looking for its human buddy, I believe it was Jack London who morbidly suggested that freezing to death isnt the worst way to go. Winter would have ended the snakes unwanted flirtation with untamed freedom.

There was no chance the lone boa could have led to the Pinelands becoming a covey of constrictors even if the captured boa wore a boa, meaning it was a female.

That tale roundaboutly leads to a twinish tale of the time piranhas swam about in Stafford Forge Lake.

It was July 2007 when I got word of weird fish being caught in the historic lake, former home to a forge and cranberry bogs. As I wrote back then, A number of piranhas were recently taken by an angler using Bass Stoppers, a favorite freshwater rig. And these werent minor models of this highly nonindigenous species. One piranha was way hefty.

I recall my well-founded disbelief upon seeing the first photo of the landing. At mere first glance, I knew this hookup was a member of a world-renowned fish family that includes piranha, pacu and oscars. To me, it was clearly a piranha.

So, what in bloody hell was such a species doing in the tannin-laced, temperate zone waters of the Forge?

The answer was all too obvious: Some numbnut had released it after it had outgrown its aquarium and its welcome. Such dumpings, while displaying a touch of compassion when compared to a toilet flush-down, are quite common. In fact, many state waters are now plagued by introduced carp, the leave-behinds from anglers using cheap so-called feeder goldfish to live-line for largemouth bass and pickerel.

The sacrificial goldfish, small carp in essence, either get off the hook or are poured into lakes at the end of a fishing session. They grow rapidly into immense vegetation bottom feeders. Once established, they create such a bottom stir that it can muck up the water, impacting gamefish, which feed by sight. They also inadvertently mosey over bass and sunfish nests hollows in the sand inadvertently sucking up eggs and newborns.

As to the Forge piranhas, the hookups led to an utterly surprising finding that they had surely been there more than just one season. The hardy little devils were showing signs of prospering, likely going into a torpor state when the lake froze in winter. Fears arose as to what they were thriving upon, assuredly indigenous species.

The realization that piranhas were making themselves at home in a New Jersey lake led to fear regarding the many people and pets commonly wading right where the fish were caught. Such frets were a bit unfounded. While packs of piranhas can go gruesomely gonzo over the smell of blood and raw flesh, Ive seen naked native children in Brazil freely swim among them, with nary a single natural bris being reported. Nonetheless, N.J. Fish and Wildlife folks went on one weird-ass search-and-destroy mission by electrocuting the lake. The method shocked the hell out of the lakes inhabitants, causing them to rise woozily to the surface, where any species non grata could be removed and apologies offered to acceptable lake occupants, which quickly recovered from the buzz, all wondering What the hell was that all about?!

RUNDOWN: Weirdly, the blowfish are back in town, mainly the far west side of Barnegat Bay where they had been, then left, only to be replaced by a ton of all new puffers moving in from waters to our north. It is once again possible to best a hundred or more per chumming session.

There are also small weaks and kingfish entering the chum slick.

Weirdest chum-related hookup was a massive black drum estimated by Paul P. at 50 pounds. It was almost landed, net hovering above, before the tiny hook gave way. That is pretty far north for Barnegat Bay black drum.

Speaking of drum, its about time for red drum to make beachline passes. The state record remains at 55 pounds, a fish taken in Great Bay by Daniel Yanino in 1985.

This is an amazing time of year to chum with grass shrimp in places like Myers Hole and surely some deeper waters toward Little Egg Inlet. Such panfishing often offers as great a variety of fish species as youll ever hook during one Jersey sitting.

Considering most of the fish drawn to a shrimp chum will be juveniles, you must use circle hooks and unhook undersized fish as quickly and gently as possible. Best bet is to not even bring them aboard. A nice series of photos can be taken without fish having to pass over the gunnel.

Surfside fluking is fair. Its best when waters are at least a bit roiled. Calm, crystal-clear water periods seem to knock down the flattie action. Every now and again there is a sudsy doormat taken.

Stingrays have glided a bit north, though a few are still quite obvious along the clear-water shoreline. Ive gotten two emails regarding ways to cook ray wings. Ill give them a try. If my taste buds salute, Ill pass them on.

Triggerfish are making their typical late-summer presence known. Some nice-sized ones mixed in, way larger than they usually show down south, re-begging the question of whether these fish go back to the Deep South or move off shore for the winter. The average sheepshead size up here dwarfs the typical sheepsheads in places like the Indian and Banana rivers in Florida.

Please do not try to fillet triggers. Too much meat is utterly wasted. After gutting, simply cook them whole. Once done and they bake very quickly with skin still on pull off the now easily removed skin and dine on the delicate white meat within. Of note, there are some filefish being labeled triggerfish. They are different to a degree, but are surprisingly similar in taste.

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Time to Go Sushi With Cellular Salmon; When Pet Owners Tire of Their Minions - The SandPaper

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Avalon GloboCare, UPMC Hillman and University of Pittsburgh to develop new cancer immunotherapy – Proactive Investors USA & Canada

Posted: August 5, 2021 at 1:51 am

Avalon GloboCare FLASH-CAR technology, will be used as an innovative messenger ribonucleic acid based technology platform that will allow researchers to create CAR cellular therapies faster than before

The collaboration will develop new cancer immunotherapy approaches and streamline manufacturing processes to bring powerful treatments to cancer patients within days instead of weeks

(), UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, and the University of Pittsburgh said they have forged a collaboration to develop new cancer immunotherapy approaches and streamline manufacturing processes to bring powerful treatments to cancer patients within days instead of weeks.

Cancer immunotherapy, which stimulates and trains a patients own immune system to target and kill tumors while leaving healthy cells intact, is an effective treatment for many cancer patients. One of these therapies, cancer immunotherapy called CAR-T, short for chimeric antigen receptor therapy, alters a patients own T-cells to kill their cancer cells.

This approach has been successful for some patients with leukemias, lymphomas and more recently, multiple myeloma, but only a limited number of patients have been able to benefit from these therapies, noted the new partners in ajoint statement.

READ:Avalon GloboCare says its planned acquisition target SenlangBio starts first-in-human clinical trial for recurrent brain cancer

The collaboration, led by Yen-Michael S Hsu, director of the Immunologic Monitoring and Cellular Products Laboratory (IMCPL) at UPMC Hillman, seeks to develop next-generation CAR-based cellular therapies to make them accessible to a wider range of cancer patients.

CAR T-cell therapies approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are personalized therapies, made from the patients own cells. Current therapies use a DNA-based viral vector to engineer expression of the CAR against an antigen present on tumor cells. Patient cells are modified in the lab and infused back into the patient in a process that takes several weeks.

With Avalon GloboCare FLASH-CAR technology, we will use an innovative messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA)-based technology platform that will allow researchers to create CAR cellular therapies faster than before in just one to two days, said Hsu.

We also believe this approach will reduce toxicity and overall cost associated with current CAR T-cell therapies, meaning more cancer patients could be eligible for this type of cellular therapy, he added.

The researchers are also using the technology to develop next-generation, personalized CAR T-cell therapies, including engineering cells that target more than one tumor antigen, enhancing their ability to target and kill cancer cells. Hillmans IMCPL and Avalon GloboCare are developing a treatment for patients with relapsed or refractory B-cell lymphoblastic leukemia and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Human clinical trials are poised to begin in mid-2022, the partners said.

Another goal, according to Hsu, is to make universal or off-the-shelf CAR-based cancer immunotherapies. Unlike personalized treatments, this universal cellular therapy will be derived from a healthy donor, manufactured in bulk and available to treat patients without delay.

A clinician could order this cellular immunotherapy in the same way as antibody or oral cancer treatment, reducing the time a patient has to wait for treatment, said Hu. Because this cellular therapy would be made in a large batch, the cost of manufacturing would be much lower, resulting in a lower cost of the final cellular therapy products for patients.

The researchers are also working to streamline and enhance the quality of CAR T-cell manufacturing with Avalons Point-of-Care modular Autonomous Processing System ((PMAPsys) onsite at UPMC Hillman, a National Cancer Institute (NCI) designated comprehensive cancer center.

Hillmans IMCPL supports investigator-initiated research and technical expertise in translating lab research into clinical biologic products.

Freehold, New Jersey-based Avalon GloboCare is a clinical stage developer of cell-based and exosome technologies and manages stem-cell banks and clinical labs.

Contact the author Uttara Choudhury at

Follow her on Twitter: @UttaraProactive

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John Theurer Cancer Center Investigators Participated in ZUMA-7 Study Showing Value of CAR T-Cell Therapy as Second-Line Treatment for Relapsed Large…

Posted: July 21, 2021 at 2:42 am

Newswise HACKENSACK, N.J. (DATE TK) A new study has found that using CAR T-cell therapy as the second line of treatment for diffusing large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) that has returned or continued to grow after initial treatment was more effective than the standard second-line regimen of care for improving event-free survival (EFS / defined as disease progression, needing to start a new lymphoma treatment, or death from any cause). Investigators from Hackensack Meridian/Hackensack University Medical Centers John Theurer Cancer Center (JTCC), a part of Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, participated in the multicenter international study, called ZUMA-7.

With a median follow-up of two years, the study showed that patients with DLBCL who received a one-time infusion of axicabtagene ciloleucel (Yescarta) experienced a 60% improvement in EFS compared with patients who received standard care with chemotherapy and autologous stem cell transplantation. Patients in the CAR T-cell therapy group also experienced a better overall response rate. The study is continuing with additional follow-up to assess the effect of the treatments on overall survival and other key endpoints.

Axicabtagene ciloleucel is currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of large B-cell lymphoma that relapses after or fails to respond to at least two prior regimens of therapy.

"This is a very exciting paradigm shift for the treatment of large B-cell lymphoma," explained hematologist-oncologist Lori Leslie, M.D., who led JTCC's participation in the ZUMA-7 study. "A 60% improvement in event-free survival is more dramatic than one would anticipate and suggests that early relapsers and some patients at high risk of relapse after initial treatment may benefit from proceeding directly to CAR T-cell therapy."

About 40% of patients with DLBCL will need a second regimen of treatment.

CAR T-cell therapy is a form of treatment which involves removing white blood cells called T cells from the patient, modifying them in the laboratory to train them to see a protein (called CD19) on lymphoma cells, and then multiplying them to much larger numbers. When given back to the patient intravenously, they expand further, ideally identifying and killing cancer cells anywhere in the body.CAR T-cell therapy is a form of immunotherapy and has been called a "living therapy" because the newly trained T cells continue to find and destroy cancer cells in the body.

As a leader in CAR T therapy, we are proud to be a part of this new development in research that will continue to reshape the landscape of relapsed/refractory aggressive lymphoma who fail standard regimens of chemoimmunotherapy, said Andre Goy, M.D., M.S., chairman and executive director of John Theurer Cancer Center.

The ZUMA-7 study began in 2017 and includes 359 patients with DLBCL at 77 medical centers around the world, 30% of whom were 65 years or older. Side effects observed in the study were consistent with or even more favorable than the safety profile previously established for axicabtagene ciloleucel. The use of CAR T-cell therapy as second-line treatment did not result in any new safety concerns. Yescarta has been instrumental in transforming outcomes for DLBCL patients in third line setting. It is likely the paradigm will continue to shift towards earlier timing in patients with early failures.

"The contributions that the John Theurer Cancer Center made toward identifying a better therapy for the research and treatment of lymphoma further establishes its position as a leading center, " said Ihor Sawczuk, MD, FACS, president, Northern Region, and chief research officer, Hackensack Meridian Health. "Hackensack Meridian Health is proud to have been involved in this pivotal study."

"We are dedicated to continuing to provide the latest research-based treatments to the members of our communities," added Mark D. Sparta, FACHE, president and chief hospital executive, Hackensack University Medical Center and executive vice president of Population Health, Hackensack MeridianHealth. "John Theurer Cancer Center was the first center in New Jersey to be certified to offer CAR T-cell therapy and was active in research assessing its use long before its first FDA approval. We are very excited to see these promising results, which show how this powerful immunotherapy may benefit more people."


John Theurer Cancer Center at Hackensack University Medical Center is New Jersey's best cancer center, as recognized by U.S. News & World Report. As a premier cancer center in the State we are also the largest and most comprehensive center dedicated to diagnosis, treatment, management, research, screening, and preventive care as well as survivorship of patients with all types of cancers. The 16 specialized divisions covering the complete spectrum of cancer care have developed a close-knit team of medical, research, nursing, and support staff with specialized expertise that translates into more advanced, focused care for all patients. Each year, more people in the New Jersey/New York metropolitan area turn to John Theurer Cancer Center for cancer care than to any other facility in New Jersey. John Theurer Cancer Center is part of the Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, an NCI designated comprehensive cancer center. Housed within a 775-bed not-for-profit teaching, tertiary care, and research hospital, John Theurer Cancer Center provides state-of-the-art technological advances, compassionate care, research innovations, medical expertise, and a full range of aftercare services that distinguish John Theurer Cancer Center from other facilities. For additional information, please visit


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ExoFlo From Direct Biologics Fulfills Urgent Medical Need in COVID-19 Treatment – PRNewswire

Posted: at 2:42 am

Medical professionals report dramatic and consistent success in treating patients gravely ill with COVID-19-associated Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS)

AUSTIN, Texas, July 20, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- As intensive care units across the country fill to capacity, hospital beds are in dangerously short supply, and deaths from COVID-19 continue to spike, doctors from medical centers coast to coast are reporting on the remarkable healing properties of ExoFlo, an innovative life-saving therapy that leverages the anti-inflammatory and regenerative effects of bone-marrow derived mesenchymal stem cells, when used on their most seriously ill COVID-19 patients. The physicians note that utilizing ExoFlo, administered as a single IV infusion, is safe and efficacious and is saving lives on a consistent basis.

One of the product's earliest advocates, Dr. Vik Sengupta of New York, credits ExoFlo with saving his own life. He has since used it on many critically ill patients, eagerly shared it with colleagues, and coauthored, with his wife, Dr. Sascha Sengupta, a clinical safety trial conducted at Christ Hospital in Jersey City, N.J. as part of the therapy's FDA approval process. The safety data from this study has since set the stage for the FDA approval of ExoFlo for an Investigational New Drug (IND) application for COVID-19.

"The most common cause of death among critically ill COVID-19 patients is acute respiratory distress symptom, or ARDS, in which the lungs are badly damaged, scarred and fill with fluid," explained Dr. Sengupta. "This is essentially a result of the body reacting to a threat by overproducing cytokines and other mediators of inflammation that cause damage to the lungs and other tissues in the body in a phenomenon commonly known as the 'cytokine storm.'

"ExoFlo does two important things: it remediates the inflammation almost immediately by delivering miRNA that stop the inflammatory cascade, and it delivers growth factors that promote the regeneration of healthy lung tissue for a much speedier recovery."

ExoFlo is manufactured by Direct Biologics, a market-leading cGMP manufacturer of regenerative medical products based in Austin, Texas. ExoFlo has amazed doctors with its ability to fill an unmet but urgent medical need, saving the lives of patients experiencing COVID-19- associated Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome. Time and again, patients were able to be discharged and returned to their families rather than deteriorating to an irreversible state.

"This product could not have come at a better time," noted Dr. Angel Lazo Jr. of New Jersey. "This product also opens the door to medical solutions forpost-pandemic concerns, when there will be an urgent need to address COVID-19 survivors suffering from Post-Acute COVID Syndrome (PACS), often referred to as long-hauler COVID, and to remediate compromised immune systems and likely lasting pulmonary scarring."

Dr. Sengupta recalls his first experience with ExoFlo: "We were all exhausted, working multiple shifts during the worst of the early days of the epidemic when the New York area was hit so hard. A friend asked me if I could help her elderly parents, both in their 80s and both very ill with COVID-19.The wife had been admitted to the hospital, and unfortunately, despite our best efforts, the hospital administration refused us permission to treat her with ExoFlo.The husband, who had been declining quickly and suffered from a fever, hypoxia, delirium, diarrhea, no sense of taste, and lack of appetite, became the first documented patient in medical history to be administered an exosome-based treatment for critical respiratory illness. He received ExoFlo at home without any adverse reactions and was out of bed and singing arias within two days.Sadly, and unbeknownst to him, his wife had died in the hospital."

This was a dramatic and eye-opening experience. "When I myself fell victim to COVID, I became seriously ill very fast," noted Dr. Sengupta. "I awoke in the middle of the night, struggling to breath and sinking into delirium, and checked my O2sat, immediately realizing I was going into respiratory failure. I called my wife.She left her shift at the hospital, rushed home, and administered ExoFlo. Within 24 hours my supplemental oxygenation requirement, fever, and respiratory symptoms significantly improved. And within five days of that single dose, I was almost fully recovered from the acute infection. I firmly believe that ExoFlo saved my life."

As word spreads within the medical community, increasing numbers of doctors have been astounded by the efficacy and safety of ExoFlo. Among those who have gone on record singing its praises are Dr. Iman Bar of Newport Beach, Calif., and Dr. Jack Mann of Flushing, N.Y.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has presented doctors with a heartbreaking learning curve," said Dr. Sengupta, who has since become Direct Biologic's chief medical officer. "For months we had no choice but to stand by while patients died despite our best efforts to save them. It's an incredible relief now to have ExoFlo in our arsenal of treatments."

ExoFlo is a biopharmaceutical grade regenerative medicine product that represents a meaningful therapy in the fight against the deadly lung inflammation caused by the COVID-19 virus. The new investigational drug uses extracellular vesicles and growth factor proteins isolated from human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to reduce inflammation and direct cellular communication capable of strengthening the body's defenses and advancing its healing processes.

ExoFlo is currently in a Phase II clinical trial that expands knowledge gleaned from a prospective, open-label study in which 17 out of 24 patients demonstrated resolution of their ARDS, exhibiting biomarker and oxygenation improvements within 48-72 hours following treatment with a single 15mL intravenous dose of ExoFlo. Since receiving FDA approval of an expanded access protocol in October 2020, ExoFlo is also being utilized by physicians around the country as part of single patient emergency or compassionate use protocol, commonly referred to as eIND.

About Direct Biologics

Direct Biologics, LLC, is headquartered in Austin, Texas, with a recently expanded R&D facility located at the University of California, and an Operations and Order Fulfillment Center located in St. Louis, Missouri. Direct Biologics is a market-leading innovator and cGMP manufacturer of regenerative medical products, including a robust line of extracellular vesicle-based biological products. The company was created to expand the science of regenerative healing by delivering cutting-edge biologic technologies. Direct Biologics' management team holds extensive collective experience in biologics research, development, and commercialization, making the company a leader in the evolving, next generation segment of the biotherapeutics industry. Direct Biologics is dedicated to pursuing additional clinical applications of its extracellular vesicle biologic products through the FDA's investigational new drug application process.

For more information visit

CONTACT INFORMATION:Tiffany Kayar[emailprotected]

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GXGX Merger: The SPAC News That Has GXGX Stock Soaring – InvestorPlace

Posted: at 2:42 am

A new SPAC (special purpose acquisition company) play is catching the eyes of investors today. The second half of 2021 looks like it will be filled with hot initial public offerings (IPOs) and SPAC mergers like Robinhood andAurora. Now, anew play will be blending the hype of a new public offering with the pandemic-fed hype toward biotech plays. GX Acquisition (NASDAQ:GXGX) is announcing today their plans to make an attractive biotech outfit public in the newest GXGX merger news.

Source: Shutterstock

GX Acquisition is the newest shell company to take a private entity to market. Today, they are making known their selection in Celularity. Celularity is a New Jersey-based biotechnology outfit that specializes in the treatment of cancer and degenerative diseases. The company takes on these persistent and devastating illnesses by harnessing the power of placenta-based stem cells. Most recently, the company launched its T-cell program, in which it is developing treatments against tumorous growths using mutated placental cells.

Today, GX is happily announcing the closure of its merger with Celularity. The transaction is already paying off well for Celularity; proceeds from the transaction total a cool $138 million. Investors can look forward to Mondays trading session, as Celularity will be taking over on the Nasdaq with the ticker symbol CELU. In the meantime, the GXGX merger is elevating the SPACs stock value.

CEO of GX Dean Kehler is speaking excitedly about Celularitys prospects after seeing a listing. He says the listing will enable Celularity to continue to leverage the companys commercial and clinical stage assets to treat diseases of high unmet need.

Analysts are clamoring ahead of the CELU listing, likeMarket Realist, which called the stem-cell play risky but attractive. Perhaps one of the most appealing aspects of Celularity is its recent partnership with Peter ThielsPalantir Technologies (NYSE:PLTR). The partnership is providing Celularity with fresh cash for furthering its resources. It also ties Celularity to one of the most attractive tech plays on the market right now.

GXGX stock is soaring ahead of the news. The stock is seeing gains of over 34% since the news broke. 15 million shares are exchanging hands today as well, high above GXGXs daily average volume of 313,000.

On the date of publication, Brenden Rearickdid not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article.The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.comPublishing Guidelines.

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This Startup is Changing the Way Spinal Cord Injury Is Treated Around the World – Entrepreneur

Posted: June 23, 2021 at 1:49 am

Hear from the CEO of NurExone Biologic Ltd, Israel's promising new start-up which aims to utilize innovative Exosome-based technology and smart delivery platforms in order to revolutionize the way spinal cord injury (SCI) is treated around the world

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June22, 20215 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

On Wall Street and prominent global stock exchanges, the emergence of innovative start-up companies has become an Israeli phenomenon. Today, the innovation nation gains unprecedented international recognition as well as investment for a country the size of the (US) state of New Jersey. Based in the northern city of Haifa, one of the newest Israeli startups building upon the countrys profound reputation is NurExone Biologic Ltd. The company, founded just last year, aims to change the way spinal cord injury (SCI) is treated around the world by utilizing exosomes as smart delivery platforms.

Over the past few decades, stem cells have become a significant interest for the scientific community as well as popular culture, and the preliminary results have been incredible. Now, stem cell research and therapy development are at an all-time high with accompanying experimental trials to apply decades of analysis into real-life medicinal practice. In regard to treating SCI, traumatic and non-traumatic, Stem Cells were tested on patients, which some of the patients have benefitted from the use of the stem cells, but due to various challenges, the treatment was not approved yet. However, NurExone promising exosome-based research proof of concept results, shown on animal, has to offer new treatment to SCI patients as well as same potential in traumatic brain injury.

NurExone is led by CEO Dr. Lior Shaltiel, who maintains an impressive background in biotech entrepreneurship, in addition to biomedical engineering, pharmacology and the advancement of smart delivery systems all of which are vital components to the companys mission. The formula behind NurExones solution is a two-prong strategy to concentrate exosome technology as the main fuel and practically treating SCI patients via a smart delivery platform. This combination, which is planned to medically transferred into the body through the nose, has a natural effect in targeting neuron damage. According to Shaltiel, while many companies are using stem cells which release exosomes naturally and attempt to regenerate neurons through local injections, our loaded exosomes have the potential to be transferred into the body nasally which is a considerable game-changer for the industry.

Furthermore, NurExone is equipped with an experienced Board of Directors, including from some of Israels leading pharmaceutical and biotech brands listed on international stock exchanges such as Executive Chairman Ron Mayron of Teva (NYSE: TEVA) and Founder & Director Yoram Drucker of Pluristem (NASDAQ: PSTI) and Brainstorm (BCLI). These substantial decision-makers in the medical technology as well as the Israeli innovation scene is indispensable and attests to the potential of the offer of the company from global operational management to strategic marketing to attracting major investors.

From its inception, NurExones extensive research and ability to conduct experimental testing comes from the companys collaboration with top professors from two of Israels elite universities Technion (noted as Israels MIT) and Tel Aviv University. As part of the companys Co-founders and Scientific Advisory Board, NurExone has partnered with Professor Daniel Offen, Head of Tel Aviv Universitys Neurology Lab, and Professor Shulamit Levenberg, the former Dean of Technions Biomedical Engineering Department and Director of the Technion Center for 3D Bioprinting. The board also features Professor Nashson Knoller, MD, Head of the Neurosurgery Department at Sheba Hospital.

This month, NurExone also implemented notable moves to prepare the company for the subsequent stage developing a promising product for the clinical phase. The company has received important approvals, which allow them to further their developing SCI treatments around the world. This significant advancement in the Israeli start-ups early focus on next stage financial efforts will play a principal role in persuading interested parties and serious investors to the table to help the company progress to become listed on international stock exchanges.

According to Shaltiel, while it usually will take several years for companies during the research and development (R&D) phase to secure investment, we are progressing with our funding model due to the exponential potential of our product. At the moment, NurExones plans to move towards entering the Toronto Stock Venture Exchange (TSXV), a Mecca-like market for penny stocks and new companies attempting to build an investor following for more global exchanges in the future.

In the world of start-up and innovation companies, a companys infrastructure, vision, and basis for research development is crucial to the success and longevity of the business. For NurExone, the companys successful Board of Directors, ambitious and experienced CEO Dr. Lior Shaltiel, together with the Scientific Advisory Board should not merely satisfy these prerequisites but galvanize the biotech community. While the company, after only a few months, has provided an important genesis for potential investors as well as medical professionals to learn from it also shows the teams efficiency and maturity. In order for NurExone to change how SCI is treated around the world, its next pragmatic step will be to analyze and optimize the product to take another step towards making its goal to treat SCI closer to becoming a reality.

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Genmab Announces that Janssen has Received European – GlobeNewswire

Posted: at 1:49 am

Company Announcement

Copenhagen, Denmark; June 22, 2021 Genmab A/S (Nasdaq: GMAB) announced today that the European Commission (EC) has granted marketing authorization for the daratumumab subcutaneous (SC) formulation (daratumumab and hyaluronidase-fihj), known as DARZALEX SC in the European Union, in combination with bortezomib, cyclophosphamide, and dexamethasone (VCd) for the treatment of adult patients with newly diagnosed systemic light-chain (AL) amyloidosis. The EC also approved DARZALEX SC in combination with pomalidomide and dexamethasone (Pd) for the treatment of adult patients with multiple myeloma who have received one prior therapy containing a proteasome inhibitor (PI) and lenalidomide and were lenalidomide refractory, or who have received at least two prior therapies that included lenalidomide and a PI and have demonstrated disease progression on or after the last therapy. The approvals follow Positive Opinions by the CHMP of the European Medicines Agency in May 2021. In August 2012, Genmab granted Janssen Biotech, Inc. (Janssen) an exclusive worldwide license to develop, manufacture and commercialize daratumumab.

AL amyloidosis is a potentially fatal blood disorder for which there is no cure, so we are extremely pleased that patients with AL amyloidosis in Europe may soon have a regimen including DARZALEX SC as a treatment option, said Jan van de Winkel, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Genmab. We are also pleased that, with the approval based on the APOLLO study, the combination of daratumumab with pomalidomide and dexamethasone will now be a treatment option for certain patients with relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma in Europe.

About the ANDROMEDA (AMY3001) studyThe Phase 3 study (NCT03201965) included 416 patients newly diagnosed with AL amyloidosis. Patients were randomized to receive treatment with either daratumumab and hyaluronidase-fihj in combination with bortezomib (a proteasome inhibitor), cyclophosphamide (a chemotherapy), and dexamethasone (a corticosteroid) or treatment with VCd alone. The primary endpoint of the study was the percentage of patients who achieve hematologic complete response.

About the APOLLO (MMY3013) studyThe Phase 3 (NCT03180736), randomized, open-label, multicenter study included 304 patients with multiple myeloma who have previously been treated with lenalidomide and a PI. Patients were randomized 1:1 to either receive daratumumab in combination with Pd or Pd alone. In the original design of the study, patients in the daratumumab plus Pd arm were treated with the intravenous (IV) formulation of daratumumab. As of Amendment 1 to the study protocol, all new subjects in the experimental arm were dosed with the SC formulation of daratumumab and patients who had already begun treatment with IV daratumumab had the option to switch to the SC formulation. The primary endpoint of the study was progression free survival (PFS). The study was conducted in Europe under an agreement between Janssen, the European Myeloma Network (EMN) and Stichting Hemato-Oncologie voor Volwassenen Nederland (HOVON).

About AL AmyloidosisAmyloidosis is a disease that occurs when amyloid proteins, which are abnormal proteins, accumulate in tissues and organs. When the amyloid proteins cluster together, they form deposits that damage the tissues and organs. AL amyloidosis most frequently affects the heart, kidneys, liver, nervous system and digestive tract. There is currently no cure for AL amyloidosis or existing approved therapies for AL amyloidosis patients in Europe, though it can be treated with chemotherapy, dexamethasone, stem cell transplants and supportive therapies.1 It is estimated that in 2019 there were 4,388 diagnosed incident cases of AL amyloidosis in the five major European markets.2

About Multiple MyelomaMultiple myeloma is an incurable blood cancer that starts in the bone marrow and is characterized by an excess proliferation of plasma cells.3 Approximately 18,114 new patients were diagnosed with multiple myeloma and approximately 11,063 people died from the disease in the Western Europe in 2020.4 Globally, it was estimated that 176,404 people were diagnosed and 117,077 died from the disease in 2020.5 While some patients with multiple myeloma have no symptoms at all, most patients are diagnosed due to symptoms which can include bone problems, low blood counts, calcium elevation, kidney problems or infections.6

About DARZALEX SC (daratumumab and hyaluronidase-fihj)Daratumumab is being developed by Janssen Biotech, Inc. under an exclusive worldwide license to develop, manufacture and commercialize daratumumab from Genmab. DARZALEX SC (daratumumab and hyaluronidase-fihj) is the first subcutaneous CD38 antibody approved in the Europe for the treatment of both multiple myeloma and AL amyloidosis. Daratumumab is a human IgG1k monoclonal antibody (mAb) that binds with high affinity to the CD38 molecule, which is highly expressed on the surface of multiple myeloma cells. Daratumumab triggers a persons own immune system to attack the cancer cells, resulting in rapid tumor cell death through multiple immune-mediated mechanisms of action and through immunomodulatory effects, in addition to direct tumor cell death, via apoptosis (programmed cell death). 7,8, 9, 10, 11

For the full EU Summary of Product Characteristics, please click here.

About Genmab Genmab is an international biotechnology company with a core purpose to improve the lives of patients with cancer. Founded in 1999, Genmab is the creator of multiple approved antibody therapeutics that are marketed by its partners. The company aims to create, develop and commercialize differentiated therapies by leveraging next-generation antibody technologies, expertise in antibody biology, translational research and data sciences and strategic partnerships. To create novel therapies, Genmab utilizes its next-generation antibody technologies, which are the result of its collaborative company culture and a deep passion for innovation. Genmabs proprietary pipeline consists of modified antibody candidates, including bispecific T-cell engagers and next-generation immune checkpoint modulators, effector function enhanced antibodies and antibody-drug conjugates. The company is headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark with locations in Utrecht, the Netherlands, Princeton, New Jersey, U.S. and Tokyo, Japan. For more information, please visit

Contact:Marisol Peron, Senior Vice President, Global Investor Relations & CommunicationsT: +1 609 524 0065; E:

For Investor Relations: Andrew Carlsen, Vice President, Head of Investor RelationsT: +45 3377 9558; E:

This Company Announcement contains forward looking statements. The words believe, expect, anticipate, intend and plan and similar expressions identify forward looking statements. Actual results or performance may differ materially from any future results or performance expressed or implied by such statements. The important factors that could cause our actual results or performance to differ materially include, among others, risks associated with pre-clinical and clinical development of products, uncertainties related to the outcome and conduct of clinical trials including unforeseen safety issues, uncertainties related to product manufacturing, the lack of market acceptance of our products, our inability to manage growth, the competitive environment in relation to our business area and markets, our inability to attract and retain suitably qualified personnel, the unenforceability or lack of protection of our patents and proprietary rights, our relationships with affiliated entities, changes and developments in technology which may render our products or technologies obsolete, and other factors. For a further discussion of these risks, please refer to the risk management sections in Genmabs most recent financial reports, which are available on and the risk factors included in Genmabs most recent Annual Report on Form 20-F and other filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which are available at Genmab does not undertake any obligation to update or revise forward looking statements in this Company Announcement nor to confirm such statements to reflect subsequent events or circumstances after the date made or in relation to actual results, unless required by law.

Genmab A/S and/or its subsidiaries own the following trademarks: Genmab; the Y-shaped Genmab logo; Genmab in combination with the Y-shaped Genmab logo; HuMax; DuoBody; DuoBody in combination with the DuoBody logo; HexaBody; HexaBody in combination with the HexaBody logo; DuoHexaBody; HexElect; and UniBody. DARZALEX is a trademark of Johnson & Johnson.

1 Mayo Clinic website: Global Data, Amyloidosis: Epidemiology Forecast to 2029, June 20203 American Cancer Society. "What is Multiple Myeloma." Available at May 2021.4 Globocan 2020. Western Europe Fact Sheet. Available at Accessed May 20215 Globocan 2018. World Fact Sheet. Available at Accessed May 20216 American Cancer Society. "Sings and Symptoms of Multiple Myeloma" Accessed May 20217 DARZALEX Prescribing information, March 2021 Last accessed May 20218 De Weers, M et al. Daratumumab, a Novel Therapeutic Human CD38 Monoclonal Antibody, Induces Killing of Multiple Myeloma and Other Hematological Tumors. The Journal of Immunology. 2011; 186: 1840-1848.9 Overdijk, MB, et al. Antibody-mediated phagocytosis contributes to the anti-tumor activity of the therapeutic antibody daratumumab in lymphoma and multiple myeloma. MAbs. 2015; 7: 311-21.10 Krejcik, MD et al. Daratumumab Depletes CD38+ Immune-regulatory Cells, Promotes T-cell Expansion, and Skews T-cell Repertoire in Multiple Myeloma. Blood. 2016; 128: 384-94.11 Jansen, JH et al. Daratumumab, a human CD38 antibody induces apoptosis of myeloma tumor cells via Fc receptor-mediated crosslinking.Blood. 2012; 120(21): abstract 2974

Company Announcement no. 53CVR no. 2102 3884LEI Code 529900MTJPDPE4MHJ122

Genmab A/SKalvebod Brygge 431560 Copenhagen VDenmark

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Gene therapy offers potential cure to children born without an immune system – UCLA Newsroom

Posted: May 13, 2021 at 1:46 am

An experimental form of gene therapy developed by a team of researchers from UCLA and Great Ormond Street Hospital in London has successfully treated 48 of 50 children born with a rare and deadly inherited disorder that leaves them without an immune system.

Severe combined immunodeficiency due to adenosine deaminase deficiency, or ADA-SCID, is caused by mutations in the ADA gene that creates the enzyme adenosine deaminase, which is essential to a functioning immune system. For children with the condition, even day-to-day activities like going to school or playing with friends can lead to dangerous, life-threatening infections. If untreated, ADA-SCID can be fatal within the first two years of life.

The investigational gene therapy method involves first collecting some of the childs blood-forming stem cells, which have the potential to create all types of blood and immune cells. Next, using an approach developed by the research team, a new copy of the ADA gene is delivered into the stem cells by a modified lentivirus, or viral vector. The corrected cells are then returned to the childs body, where they are intended to produce a continual supply of healthy immune cells capable of fighting infection.

In a studypublished today in the New England Journal of Medicine, co-lead authors Dr. Donald Kohn of UCLA and Dr. Claire Booth of Great Ormond Street Hospital, or GOSH, report two- and three-year outcomes for children treated with the investigational lentiviral gene therapy in clinical trials at GOSH, UCLA Mattel Childrens Hospital and the National Institutes of Health between 2012 and 2017.

Between all three clinical trials, 50 patients were treated, and the overall results were very encouraging, said Kohn, a distinguished professor of microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics and a member of the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA. All the patients are alive and well, and in more than 95% of them, the therapy appears to have corrected their underlying immune system problems.

No complications or treatment-limiting events were reported among the patients. Most adverse events were mild or moderate, and were considered to be related to routine procedures performed in preparation for the experimental gene therapy treatment or effects of the immune system rebuilding.

Treatment was successful in all but two of the 50 cases, and both of those children were able to return to current standard-of care-therapies and treatments, with one eventually receiving a bone marrow transplant, said Kohn, who has been working to develop gene therapies for ADA-SCID and other blood diseases for 35 years.

The investigational gene therapy a one-time procedure that the researchers say may provide lifelong results is a welcome potential new treatment option for children with ADA-SCID, who otherwise must undergo once- or twice-weekly injections of the ADA enzyme until a matched bone marrow donor, usually a close family member, can be found. If a donor is not available, patients require lifelong injections, along with antibiotics, antifungal medications and monthly infusions of immunoglobulin, which contains infection-fighting antibodies. These treatments are expensive and therefore out of reach for patients in many countries.

If approved in the future, this treatment could be standard for ADA-SCID, and potentially many other genetic conditions, removing the need to find a matched donor for a bone marrow transplant and the toxic side effects often associated with that treatment, said Booth, a GOSH consultant inpediatric immunology and genetherapy.

The benefits of lentiviral gene therapy

Prior to teaming up, both Booth and Kohn worked separately for years onsuccessful gene therapiesfor ADA-SCID that used viral vectors made from retroviruses. Retroviral vectors, however, can only enter cells nuclei to deliver genes while the cells are dividing, limiting the number of cells receiving the genetic payload and, thereby, the potential efficacy of the treatment.

Additionally, while neither Kohn nor Booth observed serious complications in their ADA-SCID trials, other earlier studies testing retroviral vector-based gene therapies did report some serious side effects, including leukemia, in some patients.

In 2008, Booth and Kohn began collaborating with professors Bobby Gaspar and Adrian Thrasher of University College London to develop an improved viral vector using a different kind of virus, called a lentivirus. Viruses of this kind can enter non-dividing cells nuclei and, when used as vectors, have the potential to make gene therapies safer and more effective. ADA-SCID patients began receiving the new gene therapy at GOSH in 2012; the following year, the experimental treatment was offered at UCLA and the NIH.

More than 200 patients with various genetic conditions across the worldhave now been treatedwith experimental lentiviral gene therapies, and applying gene therapy to ADA-SCIDis another significantscientific advance, said Thrasher, a senior author of the study who is also a professor of pediatric immunology at GOSH.

Ten of the children in the UCLA study were treated using a frozen preparation of corrected stem cells. These children experienced similar outcomes to the children treated with cells that were not frozen. The freezing approach may allow children with ADA-SCID to have their stem cells collected locally, then have them transported and processed at a manufacturing facility elsewhere and shipped back to a specialized hospital near them, removing the need for patients and their families to travel long distances to specialist centers.

One patients story: A life-changing treatment

Courtesy of Chelsea Oakley

One of the patients who received a frozen preparation of cells at UCLA, Cora Oakley of Morristown, New Jersey, was diagnosed with ADA-SCID through newborn genetic screening at just 7 days old, in April 2017.I remember asking the doctor if my daughter was going to die, Coras mother, Chelsea Oakley, said of receiving the diagnosis. And his response was, I hope not. It was the darkest day of my life.

Cora was the last child to enroll in the clinical trial and received her own corrected cells in September 2017.Following the gene therapy, Cora and her family spent a month in the bone marrow transplant unit of a hospital closer to their home for Coras follow-up treatment. The experiences of the other young patients in this unit opened Oakleys eyes to what her daughter would have gone through if the experimental gene therapy hadnt been an option.

I saw young bone marrow transplant patients who developed graft-versus-host disease and others who had to take all these anti-rejection medications and still had issues. I just thought no one should have to suffer like this, she said. And then heres my daughter who had this life-changing treatment that felt like a miracle. It still shocks me all the time how unbelievably fortunate we are.

Now a healthy and exuberant 4-year-old, Cora is described by her mom as a rough and tumble, outdoors kind of kid who loves all animals and is incredibly social. Ill never forget what it felt like when we didnt know if shed ever be able to do any of these things, Oakley said.

The investigational lentiviral gene therapy is licensed to Orchard Therapeutics and has not been approved for clinical use by any regulatory authority.

The research was funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, and the National Human Genome Research Institute (all part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health); the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine; the U.K. National Institute for Health Researchs Biomedical Research Centre at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children National Health Service Foundation Trust, University College London and Orchard Therapeutics.

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Commencement stories from Rowan paint a picture of opportunities near and far –

Posted: at 1:46 am

When Ashley Hopkins walks across the stage Wednesday during a commencement ceremony at Rowan University, she will be sharing it with her brother thousands of miles away.

Brett Hopkins is deployed overseas with the New Jersey National Guard Air Force but Ashley will symbolically accept his diploma for a bachelors degree in finance, magna cum laude. She has also earned a degree from the William G. Rohrer College of Business.

I wasnt going to walk because I have one more semester for my double major in human resources, Ashley said during an interview with NJ Advance Media. But I still have enough credits for the degree now. Were both first-generation for a degree in our family and I know its something that makes my mother really proud.

The Hopkins are among a group of standout graduates singled out by Rowan during this commencement. Others include Katherine Trauger, who is headed to the University of Oxford, London, on a full scholarship for a Masters Degree and Gatha Adhikari, who survived a deadly earthquake in Nepal in 2015 and now has a bachelors degree in biomedical engineering. She is on her way to the University of Maryland for a masters and doctoral program.

Brett Hopkins, 23, sent a video and a photo of him accepting his diploma cover at an undisclosed location overseas. It is scheduled to be featured during some of the 20 socially-distanced commencement ceremonies over four days on Saturday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.

He is a year older than Ashley but began college a year later. Both commuted from the Sicklerville section of Gloucester Township to Rowans main campus in Glassboro some 9 miles away.

About half of Rowans 19,000 students are commuters. The remainder live on or near the 800-acre Glassboro campus.

I did my first two years at Camden County College, Ashley said. I didnt need the full college experience. I dont think there is anything wrong with that. Everyone can have a different education and still have a good outcome.

Ashley Hopkins, right, accepted her and her brother's diploma covers during a commencement ceremony Wednesday at Rowan University, N.J. Brett Hopkins, her brother, abroad for a N.J. Air National Guard deployment.

Ashley aspires to work in human resources and is completing an internship now with an office products company. She is not sure what her brother plans to do after his deployment but said he was recently promoted to lieutenant.

Katherine Trauger, 22, of Cherry Hill, said Rowan was her safe school when she was applying to colleges. She initially wanted to pursue a career in music. Her mother is a professional opera singer and she thinks spending hours at her rehearsals when she was a child helped shape her world view.

But she decided to attend Rowan and pursue history and political science instead. Her commencement ceremony will be held Thursday.

My mother has always told me to go for it, reach for the stars, she said. Ive always been adventurous.

But she also proved to be practical. She said she couldnt turn down the scholarship package from Rowan. She also quickly learned her instructors inspired her to do great things, like dream of going abroad to attend one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

I have a professor from the history department who went to Oxford to get his degree, Trauger said. He had kind of been my mentor and was always saying you can do this Katherine you can go to the London school of economics. All along I was saying its just not possible. Its just not going to happen.

But it did.

Trauger said she plotted a path forward. It included getting published, volunteering for campaign work with local politicians and getting hired to work at a policy think tank in Philadelphia.

Kathrine Trauger graduated with a bachelor's degree in history and political science from Rowan University on Thursday.

On a whim, I sent my resume into the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia and this man Clint Watts, a political commentator and researcher on MSNBC, emailed me. He saw my resume and thought I would be a great fit.

Watt, also a former FBI agent, is working on a study on foreign intervention in the U.S. election.

I joined this research team with kids from Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Brown and then theres me from Rowan, she said. The key thing was getting myself off campus and finding these experiences. Its a good reminder that people who are going to change the world are coming from these small state schools.

Trauger is preparing to cross an ocean in the fall to continue her academic journey. Gatha Adhikari crossed the same ocean four years ago to begin hers at Rowan.

It has been great, but its kind of bittersweet, Adhikari said during a telephone interview this week as she prepared for her commencement ceremony Monday.

My family could not be here because of COVID, Adhikari said. They are back home in Nepal. Four years ago when I came here I was alone. Today I have friends and support from everyone. I came a long way but it was worth it.

Adhikari said her entire village of Begnastal were planning to watch a live stream of her 1 p.m. ceremony. Nepal is 9 hours and 45 minutes ahead of time in New Jersey. Her village has a total population of about 300, she said. Nepal is a landlocked country in the Himalayas sandwiched between India and the Tibet region of China. Mount Everest is there and the exotic local of Kathmandu.

Back when I was a girl I never dreamed about being here, she said. Biomedical engineering for a little girl seemed impossible. It shows its possible if you believe in yourself.

Adhikari survived a 7.8 richter scale earthquake in Nepal in 2015 that killed nearly 9,000 people and destroyed more than 600,000 structures. She said she was away at school when just about everything came crashing down. Many of the buildings were made of mud and stone and laid in ruins around her. She said they lived outdoors in tents for more than a week and experienced anxious hours afterward until she was able to reach her parents.

That experience helped to shape her future aspirations.

Gatha Adhikari accept her bachelors degree in biomedical engineering this week at Rowan University, N.J.

Thats one of the reasons I decided to go into biomedical research, she said. I felt so helpless after the quake. I thought if I pursued this I would be able to help people.

Adhikaris research at Rowan involves making gels with regenerative stem cells. The research could help regrow skin that has been damaged.

She said she won a Fulbright scholarship when she was in high school in Nepal. That helped her go abroad for school. She chose Rowan because of its engineering program and its affordability.

Now she is a mentor for three male students from Nepal who also attend Rowan.

Im like their mother, she said. I do everything for them. I was like an alien when I first came. I can vibe with the people now. This is my home.

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Bill Duhart may be reached at

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Vitalant to Hold Blood Donation Event on December 5 in Freehold –

Posted: December 1, 2020 at 12:59 pm

Increased Need for Blood Donations throughout Monmouth County during Nationwide COVID-19 Surge

MONTVALE, NJ Due to thenationwide surge in COVID-19 infections, along with the usual drop-offin donations at the beginning of the holiday season, theres now a particularly severe blood shortage.

In response, the nonprofit, blood-collection organization Vitalant is providing a local, open-to-the-public donation event on Saturday, December 5 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus, 70 East Main Street, Freehold.

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Individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 are urged to donate blood plasma. Known as convalescent plasma, this blood component contains antibodies that may provide seriously ill patients an extra boost in fighting the disease. There is also a great need for blood platelets small cells in the blood that form clots to prevent bleeding, while also helping with anemia and low blood counts and type O-negative, the universal blood type.

FEMA has specifically identified blood donation as an essential and integral component of the emergency support function. Of note, coronavirus cannot be transferred through the blood. And, as always, the blood collection process is safe with no impact on the donor's immune system. Vitalant staff follows rigorous safety and disinfection protocols at its blood drives and donation centers and have always required individuals to be in good health to donate blood.

Vitalant also maintains four New Jersey blood centers, with hours and street addresses as follows:

Healthy individuals age 16 or older, who weigh at least 110 pounds, may donate blood; 16- and 17-year-olds must have proof of birth date and signed consent forms, either in English ( or Spanish ( Donors should eat a moderate meal prior to donating, and also bring identification featuring their signature.

On occasion, last-minute changes to scheduling for a donation event will occur. As a result, it is recommended that anyone planning to donate blood at a Vitalant donation event call 201-251-3703, toll free, to confirm timing and location details. Additional information about donating blood is also available by

Vitalant has initiated a multiweek incentive program to attract additional donations at its New Jersey donation centers. Specifics are as follows:

December 23 January 1

All donors will receive a Vitalant T-shirt or 200 bonus pointstoward exclusive rewards through Vitalants online store.

About Vitalant in New Jersey

A not-for-profit organization that supplies blood and blood products to hospitals in the NJ/NY region, Bergen County-based Vitalant (previously Community Blood Services) has been devoted to serving the communitys transfusion medicine needs since 1953. Donations of blood and blood products, umbilical cord blood, stem cells, and bone marrow help to join individuals, organizations, businesses, and entire communities together in partnership to help save lives.

About Vitalant

Arizona-based Vitalant is among the nations oldest and largest transfusion medical organizations in the U.S. Founded in 1943, its blood centers division serves some 700 hospitals across the United States. A founding member of Americas Blood Centers and the AABB (formerly the American Association of Blood Banks), Vitalant also operates biological products distribution services, a quality consulting group, and a world-renowned transfusion medicine research institute. It also is a partner in the operation of high-volume donor testing laboratories.

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