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Category Archives: Tennessee Stem Cells

Roslin Tech in multi-million bid to fund sustainable food – HeraldScotland

Posted: August 31, 2021 at 1:56 am

Roslin Technologies, which is advancing research to build better sustainability into the global food chain, is gearing up for a multi-million-pound fundraising following the June appointment of new chief executive Ernst van Orsouw.

The Series A investment round is due to launch in late September or early October, and follows an initial 10 million cash injection in 2017. The business was founded in that year as a joint venture between investment manager Milltrust International, JB Equity and the University of Edinburgh, all of whom are current shareholders.

The money will fuel the firms transition from research to commercialisation of its leading technology in the field of cultivated meat genuine animal flesh that is produced in a laboratory, eliminating the need to raise and slaughter animals. Roslin Techs role in this is to provide the iPS cells (induced pluripotent animal stem cells) that can replicate forever into any type of tissue desired.

Our cells are market-ready," Mr van Orsouw said. We have developed them to a stage where cultivated meat producers can put them into their processes.

A tri-lingual speaker, Mr van Orsouw earned a degree in electrical engineering from Delft University before joining the Royal Netherlands Navy working as a technical coordinator in shipbuilding. After a year he joined Shell as a petrophysicist, where he worked on the exploration and production of oil and gas reserves in the North Sea.

READ MORE:New chief for 'jewel in the crown' of AgTech

However, he soon realised that he was not suited to the industry, which did not align with his sustainable values. He also wanted to pursue work where his efforts would come to quicker fruition.

In the oil industry in general, you work to very long timelines, he said. I personally had a desire to make more of an impact earlier on.

In 2005 he joined the Amsterdam office of the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), the US management consulting firm that is the worlds second-largest in terms of revenue. There he focused on the agribusiness sector, a job which took him to both New York and San Francisco.

During his time at BCG he worked with UK-headquartered Genus, whose genetic products are used by cattle and pig farmers to reduce disease and boost production. In 2015 he joined the Pig Improvement Company (PIC), Genus porcine subsidiary, as director of strategy and marketing based in Tennessee.

During his time at PIC, Mr van Orsouw led a series of initiatives and acquisitions across the animal breeding and genetics sectors. When approached about the possibility of taking over at Roslin Tech which has preferential access to intellectual property from the Roslin Institute, the home of Dolly the Sheep the lure of working alongside such an esteemed group was too powerful to resist.

READ MORE:Roslin Technologies make breakthroughs in cellular technologies

It [the Roslin Institute] is probably the most famous biotech institute in the world, so clearly that interested me, he said. Roslin Technologies is unique. We have a small team of about 20 incredibly gifted people, and through that private relationship with the Roslin Institute, we are backed up by hundreds of some of the best people in the world in this field.

Mr van Orsouw took over at Roslin Tech from executive director and founder Glen Illing, who also has links to JB Equity. His predecessor, whom Mr van Orsouw describes as an incredible visionary, continues with Roslin Tech as the point man on potential acquisitions and is also in charge of its Insect Nucleus Facility near its headquarter in Midlothian.

Roslin Tech announced last year that it would build the 500,000 facility following its investment in Protenga, a Singapore firm that farms black soldier flies. Dubbed the superstars of sustainability, the larvae of these insects are edible and rich in nutrients.

Used for animal feed and fertiliser, insect protein competes in this market with cheaper but less reliable supplies of fish meal. Mr van Orsouw said Roslin Tech expects to get its first breeding lines out into the market next year.

What is most exciting about what we do is that we have these two main areas, and both are incredibly novel, he said. The positive impact they can have is incredible.

READ MORE:Roslin Technologies invests in superstar insects of sustainable food

While insect protein currently runs at two to three times the cost of fish meal, Mr van Orsouw said cultivated meat costs anything between 50 and 2,000 times its traditional counterpart to produce. The challenge for Roslin Tech is to optimise its iPS cells to bring down the expense.

It is therefore a nascent segment in the $1 trillion (727 billion) global livestock market, but is attracting increasing interest after Singapore in 2020 became the first country to approve East Justs flagship cultured chicken nuggets for sale nationwide. Roslin Tech has also made its own chicken nuggets in the lab, but these are not for commercial distribution.

Mr van Orsouw said the fresh funding will help Roslin Tech further develop both the cultivated meat and insect protein sectors faster than would otherwise be the case: We have incredibly ambitious plans for growth. Scotland will always be our headquarters but we want to open international bases as well. Technical acquisitions could be a part of that.

What countries have you most enjoyed travelling to, for business or leisure, and why?

Mozambique (leisure) and China (business & leisure). Both countries have tremendous natural beauty, great cultures, and incredible people but lack availability of affordable, sustainably produced proteins. It is a privilege to work on solutions that can help increase the local availability of affordable, nutritious and responsibly produced animal proteins.

When you were a child, what was your ideal job? Why did it appeal?

I had always wanted to do something with physics or biology. As a child I was curious to understand how nature works. Now I enjoy the challenge of how to turn the understanding of natures building blocks into a meaningful contribution to society.

What was your biggest break in business?

During my time in the United States, I was one of the initiators of the Coalition for Responsible Use of Gene editing in Agriculture, a food system-wide group that included a wide variety of players aiming to build consumer trust and confidence in gene editing techniques. It was incredibly rewarding to work with such a diverse group to identify ways to introduce new technologies that align with the values of consumers.

What was your worst moment in business?

During my work in the livestock industry, I have encountered several situations where we had to manage devastating disease outbreaks. It is very tough to experience the impact that these diseases have on the animals, the farmers and their families.

Who do you most admire and why?

I seek to work with people that are intrinsically curious, have a passion, that have the patience to pursue that passion, and can motivate others. I have been lucky enough to have had colleagues and supervisors, both current and past, that fit that description and that I have learned from.

What book are you reading and what music are you listening to?

I am reading The Wizard and the Prophet, Two Remarkable Scientists and Their Dueling Visions to Shape Tomorrows World by Charles Mann, a brilliant book that helps understand the motivations behind people in industrial agriculture as well as the environmental movement. On the bus to work I often listen to Congolese Soukous.

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What Is DiscGenics, The Company Christopher Duntsch Helped Found, And Where Is It Today? – Oxygen

Posted: July 21, 2021 at 1:48 am

Christopher Duntsch, the man who has come to be known as Dr. Death, and the subject of a new series streaming now on Peacock,always had big dreams. When the college football scholarship he hoped for didn't work out, Duntsch made a surprise pivot: He decided to become a doctor instead of a professional athlete.

Duntsch earned his MD-PhD from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. where he also completedhis neurosurgery residency. In the first stages of his six-year residency he focused on research. As D Magazine reported in 2016, the department chairman, Dr. Jon Robertson "appointed [Duntsch]program director of the schools tissue bank, where hed supply samples to scientists and oversee two labs." As the program director, Duntsch wrote grants and secured funding for his research projects.

In 2006, his research led him to the work of two Russian stem cell scientists, Valery Kukekov and Tatyana Ignatova. They had created a method for culturing the stem cells ofintervertebral discs outside of the body. Working Kukekov and Ignatova, Duntsch filed a patent for the technologyand went to work raising money for a company he called DiscGenics.

Duntsch had filed the patent listing himself, alongwith the Russian scientists, as the inventors of the Discgenics technology. But Kukekov told D Magazine that,It wasnt his invention. It was the invention of me and my wife [Ignatova), because we made all primary experiments. We discovered it.

Duntsch, who had been listed as thefounder, president & chief science officer at DiscGenics, Inc. was sued by the former chief operating officer in 2011 and removed from that role as well as his seat on the board.

While Duntsch eventually set upon his ill-fated career as a neurosurgeon, one that would end with him serving a life sentence in prison for one count of injury to an elderly person, DiscGenics moved on largely unscathed. Today, the Salt Lake City-based company has successfully completed several rounds of funding, and, according to arecent press release are conducting trials of their stem cell technology on people in Japan and have plans to conduct testing on patients in the U.S. as well.

DiscGenics current funding amount is $68 million.

"Dr. Death" is available to stream on Peacock now.

Get all your true crime news from Oxygen. Coverage of the latest true crime stories and famous cases explained, as well as the best TV shows, movies and podcasts in the genre.Sign up forOxygen Insiderfor all the best true crime content.

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Karen Hasty Named Among 2021 Super Women In Business by Memphis Business Journal – UTHSC News

Posted: June 6, 2021 at 2:31 am

Karen Hasty, PhD, a professor, researcher, and director of Basic Research in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Biomedical Engineering/Campbell Clinic in the College of Medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, has been named among the 2021 Super Women in Business by the Memphis Business Journal. The annual list honors women business leaders for their career accomplishments and work in the Memphis community.

I am thrilled to receive this honor, said Dr. Hasty, who holds the George Thomas Wilhelm Endowed Professorship in Orthopaedic Surgery. It allows me to have a new platform to bring attention to many philanthropic projects, while continuing to encourage young women to consider medical careers in orthopaedic surgery or in academia.

Dr. Hastys philanthropic efforts include establishing a summer internship for undergraduate women called the Kappa Delta Foundation Orthopaedic Research Internship, which encourages them to consider orthopaedic surgery as a career option. It provides stipends, housing, and research funding for selected participants. She has also served as the medical chair for the West Tennessee Board of the Arthritis Foundation since 2017.

Because of her professional appointment, Dr. Hasty holds a dual position with UTHSC and the Memphis VA Medical Center, where she does basic science research. Studying arthritis for more than four decades, her current studies focus on exploring new therapies to interrupt the disease progression and stimulate repair of joint destruction. Dr. Hastys research efforts have been funded by the VA, the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense, and the Arthritis Foundation.

She is currently in a research collaboration with Revotek Co., Ltd., in the Memphis Institute of Regenerative Medicine (MIRM). The project titled, MIRM Project 3: Stem Cell-Enhanced Tissue Regeneration: Engineering of Vascularized Bone/Cartilage Graft from Adipose-Derived Stem Cells, will utilize Revoteks cell encapsulation technology of Biosynspheres and bioprinting for basic and translational research in stem cell regenerative medicine.

Dr. Hasty earned her Bachelor of Science degree in microbiology from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and received her MS and PhD degrees in anatomy from UTHSC. She began working at the university in 1977, after a stint at Boston Childrens Hospital, where she studied hemoglobin A1c, a marker that determines long-term control of blood glucose in diabetes.


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GM pledges to be carbon neutral by 2040; Dingell applauds efforts – Dearborn Press and Guide

Posted: February 16, 2021 at 11:46 pm

U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-12th District) was happy with GM's announcement that they would be completely carbon neutral within 20 years.

The company recently announced that they would hit that milestone by 2040.

(The) announcement from GM demonstrates that members of the auto industry are committed to tackling the global climate crisis and decarbonizing the transportation sector. We have had discussions for months with the auto industry, labor unions, and the environmental community on concrete actions like this that must be taken to reach carbon neutrality, Dingell said. We have a lot of work ahead of us. As we transition towards our electrified future, I will continue to engage with all stakeholders to create an electric vehicle infrastructure to support these efforts and help our domestic auto industry compete globally. Even as we celebrate this announcement, we need to keep our focus on creating jobs, confronting climate change, and the transformation of an innovative mobility industry.

In addition to GMs carbon goals, the company worked with the Environmental Defense Fund to develop a shared vision of an all-electric future and an aspiration to eliminate tailpipe emissions from new light-duty vehicles by 2035. GMs focus will be offering zero-emissions vehicles across a range of price points and working with all stakeholders, including EDF, to build out the necessary charging infrastructure and promote consumer acceptance while maintaining high quality jobs, which will all be needed to meet these ambitious goals.

General Motors is joining governments and companies around the globe working to establish a safer, greener and better world, said Mary Barra, GM Chairman and CEO. We encourage others to follow suit and make a significant impact on our industry and on the economy as a whole.

General Motors is committed to reaching carbon neutrality in its global products and operations by 2040, supported by a commitment to science-based targets. To reach its goals, GM plans to decarbonize its portfolio by transitioning to battery electric vehicles or other zero-emissions vehicle technology, sourcing renewable energy and leveraging minimal offsets or credits.

With this extraordinary step forward, GM is making it crystal clear that taking action to eliminate pollution from all new light-duty vehicles by 2035 is an essential element of any automakers business plan," said Environmental Defense Fund President Fred Krupp. "EDF and GM have had some important differences in the past, but this is a new day in America one where serious collaboration to achieve transportation electrification, science-based climate progress and equitably shared economic opportunity can move our nation forward.

The use of GMs products accounts for 75 percent of carbon emissions related to this commitment. GM will offer 30 all-electric models globally by mid-decade and 40 percent of the companys U.S. models offered will be battery electric vehicles by the end of 2025. GM is investing $27 billion in electric and autonomous vehicles in the next five years up from the $20 billion planned before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This investment includes the continued development of GMs Ultium battery technology, updating facilities such as Factory ZERO in Michigan and Spring Hill Manufacturing in Tennessee to build electric vehicles from globally sourced parts and investing in new sites like Ultium Cells LLC in Ohio as well as manufacturing and STEM jobs.

More than half of GMs capital spending and product development team will be devoted to electric and electric-autonomous vehicle programs. And in the coming years, GM plans to offer an EV for every customer, from crossovers and SUVs to trucks and sedans.

The company will also continue to increase fuel efficiency of its traditional internal combustion vehicles in accordance with regional fuel economy and greenhouse gas regulations. Some of these initiatives include fuel economy improvement technologies, such as Stop/Start, aerodynamic efficiency enhancements, downsized boosted engines, more efficient transmissions and other vehicle improvements, including mass reduction and lower rolling resistance tires.

To address emissions from its own operations, GM will source 100 percent renewable energy to power its U.S. sites by 2030 and global sites by 2035, which represents a five-year acceleration of the companys previously announced global goal. Today, GM is the 10th largest offtaker of renewable energy in the world and in 2020, the company received a 2020 Green Power Leadership Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

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Former NFL star Eddie George returns to Vero Beach for therapy, this time on shoulder – TCPalm

Posted: September 22, 2020 at 11:53 pm

Eddie George was in Vero Beach, Florida, on September 19, 2020, for a medical procedure and discussed the return of Big 10 football. Gannett Staff

VERO BEACH Stem cell and plasma therapy brought a former NFL player to Vero Beach to soothe his ailing knees a few years ago.

Now, he's just looking for a good night's sleep, all because of a nagging shoulder injury. And the same specialists in Vero said they could help him with that, too.

On Saturday, Eddie George, who was a Heisman Trophy winner at Ohio State University and one of the initial stars of the Tennessee Titans, made another trip to Regenerative Biologistics Institute in Vero Beach for treatment. The first time, in July 2018, was to help his knees.

"Walking was a chore,let alone trying to jog," said George, 47, who still lives in the Nashville area.

But now he's walking, swimming and doing enough exercise that he returned to the institute Saturday lighter than he was previously. George said he lost 20 pounds this year.

"My joints have been great," said the now 244-pound, 6-feet-3 former athlete. "I feel a lot better."

Former professional football player Eddie George shares a laugh with regenerative medicine specialists Jason Griffeth (left) and Brett Haake on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020, as he prepares to receive stem cell and growth factor injections in both knees and right shoulder at Regenerative Biologics Institute in Vero Beach. "What the injections will do is decrease inflammation, decrease pain and increase functionality," said Haake, medical director for the institute. "We're focusing on longevity. We're focusing on optimizing someone's functionality and minimizing their morbidity. We focus on prevention and intervening disease states earlier rather than later." George suffered several injuries during his time playing football.(Photo: PATRICK DOVE/TCPALM)

What doesn't feel better is a shoulder injury he has had since his freshman year with the Ohio State Buckeyes. George chose to have a stem cell injection inhis shoulder Saturday.

"There's a piece missing from my right shoulder socket," George said. "The integrity of the joint there has been compromised. I don't have a lot of flexibility there. When I sleep at night, it gets aggravated and I have to constantly move to get adjusted."

RBI Medical Director Dr. Brett Haake also gave George more injections to his knees Saturday. George had surgery on one of them in March to remove bone spurs.

The institute isat 3755 Seventh Terrace, just north of the Cleveland Clinic Indian River Hospitalin Vero Beach. Clinical director Jason Griffeth said his office uses Regenmax Injection Therapy, which transfers stem cells from a person's abdomen to parts of the body where the patient is feeling pain.

The regenerative abilities of the stem cells repair the injured tissue in areas lacking those cells, said Griffeth, whose office opened in 2016.

"The stem cells areanti-inflammatory and very regenerative," Haake said.

More: SWV star Taj George gets stem cell treatment for knees in Vero Beach

George's R&B star wife, Tamara "Taj" George of the group SWV, also had the procedure done on her knees last year. She said years on stage have damaged her knees, but the stem cell therapy allows her to run now.

"I gained a little bit of weight during this quarantine, but I'm still able to run," she said in a phone call Saturday.

Eddie George is recommending the procedure to other athletes, active or retired.

"This can prolong their careers and their lifestyle after they're done playing," he said.


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In retirement, George runs a wealth management company and will be commenting on college football on ESPN's XM Satellite Radio station a few days a week, he said.

The institute recommends its therapy for arthritis, torn rotator cuffs, meniscus injuries and bursitis.

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More: Miami Dolphins to allow 13,000 fans to home opener vs. Bills at Hard Rock Stadium

LamaurStancilis the Treasure Coast regional economy reporter covering businessand industries, including retail, tourism and hospitality.Contact him at 321-987-7179 and follow him at Lamaur Stancil on Facebook and @TCPalmLStancil on Twitter.

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US Performing Hysterectomies On Immigrants? – The Shadow League

Posted: at 11:53 pm

For years, African Americans have known that the U.S. government has deliberately used science and medicine to exploit, hurt, or experiment with people of color.

All one has to do is recall the early 1900s, where during the twilight of nights, African-American bodies were stolen for use as medical cadavers from the Freedmans Cemetery Project in Dallas, Texas or the 1932 Tuskegee Syphilis Study where Black men were injected with the disease without knowledge.

Take it back to the 60s, when the hospital stole Henrietta Lacks cervical cells and have profited from selling them for research around the world, leading to remarkable advancements in stem cell studies.

Or in 2017, only three years ago when a judge in Tennessee offered to reduce peoples sentences by 30-days if they underwent a permanent birth control procedure: vasectomies for men, or a 4-year birth control implant (Nexplanon) for women. The state coerced inmates into sterilization, prompting the American Civil Liberties Union to say that such a gesture violates the fundamental constitutional right to reproductive autonomy.

State governments have long used sterilization as a method to control populations, targeting people of specific races and ethnicities, the poor, handicapped or diseased, and criminals. According to the Talk Poverty, that tens of thousands over the last 80 years have been impacted by such laws including 148 female inmates in California who had tubal ligations done to them without consent between 2006 and 2010. This study was done bythe Center for Investigative Reporting.

Recently, thanks to a whistleblower, news that immigrant women are receiving hysterectomies through coercion (and some without full knowledge of the procedures) while in the custody of President Trumps ICE detention center in Georgia have made the headlines. Democrats are now pushing for a federal investigation.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairman Joaquin Castro, and Senators Corey Booker and Richard Blumenthal all are speaking out and blasting the Department of Homeland Security hoping they will tell their inspector general to take action.

If true, the appalling conditions described in the whistleblower complaint including allegations of mass hysterectomies being performed on vulnerable immigrant women are a staggering abuse of human rights, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stated. This profoundly disturbing situation recalls some of the darkest moments of our nations history, from the exploitation of Henrietta Lacks, to the horror of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, to the forced sterilizations of Black women that Fannie Lou Hamer and so many others underwent and fought.

They were alerted by Dawn Wooten, an African American nurse who is currently represented by theGovernment Accountability Project, saw everything with her own eyes. She believes that she was demoted because she asked too many questions about testing detained immigrants for COVID-19 and warning officers when detained immigrants they are in contact with have tested positive.

When I met all these women who had had surgeries, I thought this was like an experimental concentration camp, Wooten told Project South. It was like theyre experimenting with our bodies.

Wooten claims to have spoken to five women who received hysterectomies between October and December 2019, saying that many reacted confused when explaining why they had one done.

She singled out one doctor calling him the uterus collector because of the number of hysterectomies he performs. Everybody he sees, hes taking all their uteruses out or hes taken their tubes out.

Dr. Ada Rivera, medical director of the ICE Health Service Corps, says that she will cooperate with the investigation and that to her knowledge only two women were referred for hysterectomies from the facility over the last two years.

Jamille Fields Allsbrook, director of womens health and rights at the center, said in a statement, The United States has a long and sordid history of reproductive coercion and forced sterilization, particularly targeting Black, Latina, and Native American women as well as women with disabilities and incarcerated women.

She continued, These racist, eugenicist practices are often sanctioned by U.S. law, which to this day allows for the sterilization of anyone deemed unfit.

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Sunway University’s Collaboration with Harvard Medical School Makes Advances in Potential Cancer Treatment using Gene Therapy – Yahoo Finance

Posted: August 26, 2020 at 7:58 pm

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, Aug. 26, 2020 /PRNewswire/ --Sunway University's Professor Jeff Tan Kuan Onn of the Department of Biological Sciences and Professor Poh Chit Laa from the Centre for Virus and Vaccine Research, along with their research collaborators from Harvard Medical School's Center for Stem Cell Therapeutics and Imaging (USA) as well as University of Tennessee Health Science Centre (USA) have completed a study that has demonstrated the efficacy of molecular gene therapy as a new strategy for cancer treatment.

The research could potentially contribute to shorter treatment time for cancers, reduce treatment costs and minimise the adverse effects of current chemo-drugs in cancer patients such as susceptibilities toward microbial infections, hair-loss and other side effects of chemo-drugs that drastically affect the quality of life of cancer patients undergoing therapy.

Principal Investigator Professor Jeff Tan explained, "Currently, chemo-drugs are relatively ineffective against cancer cells that have developed drug-resistance resulting in the need for high doses of chemo-drugs or a combination of chemo-drugs to be administered to patients with cancer cells. Chemo-drug resistant cancer cells also can spread quickly and that drastically reduce the survival rate of cancer patients".

"Our research utilises molecular gene therapy which is the introduction of genetic materials into cancer cells to promote the sensitivity of cancer cells to chemo-drugs. By genetically engineering the cancer cells, we find that we can induce the cancer cells to produce activated pro-death and tumour suppressor proteins that cause cell death and growth arrests in cancer cells. The weakened cancer cells can then be killed relatively easily by the administration of chemo-drugs in smaller doses. Ultimately, the research could contribute to increasing the survival rates of cancer patients undergoing cancer treatments," he added.

Co-Investigator Professor Poh Chit Laa said that the effectiveness of the strategy has been demonstrated in mice implanted with human breast cancer cells. "In the mice that weretreated with the gene therapy, the tumours obtained from the treated mice showed significant tumour cell death and the tumours were 20 times smaller and 32 times lighter in volume and weight, respectively, when compared to the tumours obtained from the untreated mice. The results indicated that the gene therapy was able to shrink the tumours significantly, even without treatment with chemo-drugs. Small doses of market-available anti-cancer drugs could then be used to kill the cancer cells effectively. We hope to see our research contribute to better survival rates of cancer patients, and minimise the side-affects associated with anti-cancer drugs," said Professor Poh.

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"We are currently working on investigations to optimise the delivery of the gene therapy and anti-cancer drugs to human tumours with hopes that this will result in tangible clinical outcomes," said Professor Jeff Tan.

The research project was recently published in the peer-review Journal of Cancer Research and Clinical Oncology. Collaborators for the research include Lee Yong Hoi, Pang Siew Wai and Samson Eugin Simon from the Department of Biological Sciences, Sunway University; Esther Revai Lechtich and Khalid Shah, of the Center for Stem Cell Therapeutics and Imaging, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School (USA); Suriyan Ponnusamy and Ramesh Narayanan from the Department of Medicine, Centre of Cancer Drug Discovery, College of Medicine, University of Tennessee Health Science Centre (USA).

The research is a result of a collaboration agreement between Harvard Medical School and Sunway University aimed at developing new cancer therapies targeting drug resistant cancer cells. In 2016, Professor Jeff Tan visited Harvard University on the Jeffrey Cheah Travel Grant which enabled him to better understand how cancer research projects are conducted as well as examining experimental models used to study cancer biology at Harvard University, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), a hospital affiliated with Harvard Medical School, and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

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Non-Profit Offers Free Stem Cell Therapy to Veterans – Pain News Network

Posted: March 28, 2020 at 6:43 am

By A. Rahman Ford, PNN Columnist

No group is more worthy of the revolutionary benefits of stem cell therapy than Americas military veterans. While the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) thinks the field is in its infancy and much more research is needed before stem cells are offered as treatment, brave practitioners are stepping forward to help veterans NOW.

Dr. Joseph Kanan and his staff at the Tullahoma Chiropractic Center are providing free stem cell therapy for veterans who suffer from chronic pain. Kanan in partnership with Veterans in Pain recently performed his first pro bono procedure on a veteran named Ryan, who has severe hip pain. Stem cell injections into Ryans hip, which are not covered by insurance, normally would have cost $6,500. Ryan got them for free.

I think veterans do a lot for our country and there are very few doctors that are performing medical procedures like this, Kanan told The Tullahoma News. We were very glad to be able to do this for him.

Kanan says his Tennessee clinic performs stem cell therapy for veterans twice a month and has had good results so far. One patient was able to avoid a knee replacement and reported consistent improvement one year after the procedure. Patients can expect to experience 10 percent improvement every month for 10 months.

Veterans in Pain is a non-profit that connects military veterans with civilian physicians who provide free regenerative medicine treatments for chronic pain. VIP has provided $250,000 worth of services since 2019.

VIP founder and president Micaela Bensko is herself a stem cell therapy recipient. She spent years in a wheelchair after an accident in her driveway left her with severe spine damage that led to arachnoiditis, a chronic inflammation of spinal nerves. A friend suggested stem cell therapy, which inspired Bensko to establish VIP as a resource for veterans.

Veterans in Pain connects each veteran with a volunteer physician in their area. If one cannot be located, the cost of transportation and accommodations are covered for treatments, as they were for Ryan. Veterans associated with VIP visit schools, organizations and corporations sharing their story of recovery. Most of VIPs funding is provided by small individual donations, grants and grassroots fundraising.

According to the National Institutes of Health, nearly two-thirds of veterans report having chronic pain, with about 9% having severe pain. Chronic pain among veterans is closely associated with mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, poor sleep and substance abuse disorders. Many veterans suffer from more than one condition.

Because of red tape and a shortage of pain management specialists at the VA, many veterans suffering from chronic pain are left devoid of proper diagnosis and treatment, causing many to self-medicate or search for answers on their own.Chronic pain can lead to substance abuse, a common and growing trend among veterans. A 2017 study found that 30% of military suicides were preceded by alcohol or drug abuse.

The dire plight of military veterans suffering from chronic pain is yet another compelling reason for the FDA to loosen its regulation of stem cell therapy. Our heroes are counting on it.

A. Rahman Ford, PhD, is a lawyer and research professional. He is a graduate of Rutgers University and the Howard University School of Law, where he served as Editor-in-Chief of the Howard Law Journal. Rahman lives with chronic inflammation in his digestive tract and is unable to eat solid food. He has received stem cell treatmentin China.

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CAR T Cells to Go? Outpatient Therapy Can Be Safe – Medscape

Posted: March 1, 2020 at 8:44 am

ORLANDO, Florida Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy can be safely delivered in the outpatient setting, which could make the life-extending treatment available to patients who don't have access to a major teaching hospital or treatment center, contend investigators who analyzed data from three clinical trials.

Looking at outcomes for patients with large B-cell lymphomas (LBCL) who were treated with the CAR T-cell construct lisocabtagene maraleucel (liso-cel) in the outpatient setting at both university-based and nonacademic medical centers in three clinical trials, Carlos Bachier, MD, from the Sarah Cannon Blood Cancer Network in Nashville, Tennessee, and colleagues found that the incidences of severe adverse events were relatively low and manageable.

"Outpatient administration of liso-cel and subsequent monitoring were successfully implemented in multiple clinical trials at both university and nonuniversity sites," he said here at the Transplantation and Cellular Therapy annual meeting.

Dr Carlos Bachier

The need to monitor and treat serious side effects from CAR T therapy, such as the cytokine release syndrome (CRS) and neurologic toxicities, has previously limited the therapy to major treatment centers with extensive resources. Yet most patients in the US with relapsed or refractory large B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma are treated at nonacademic centers where cancer therapies are typically delivered in outpatient infusion centers, Bachier said.

"Infusion and monitoring of patients receiving CAR T-cell therapy in the outpatient setting can lead to wider utilization and improved access," he said.

To get a better idea of the safety and efficacy of CAR T-cell therapy in the outpatient setting, Bachier and colleagues examined outcomes from the phase 1 TRANSCEND NHL 001 trial of liso-cel in one or two doses for a variety of aggressive lymphoma histologies, conducted in both university-based and nonuniversity centers; the phase 2 TRANSCEND-OUTREACH trial of outpatient liso-cel therapy after two or more prior lines of therapy against various lymphomas and lymphoproliferative disorders, conducted in nonuniversity centers; and the phase 2 TRANSCEND-PILOT-017006, testing liso-cel in patients with LBCL relapsed or refractory after a single line of immunochemotherapy who were ineligible for either high-dose chemotherapy or stem cell transplant. This trial was conducted in both university and nonuniversity settings.

In OUTREACH and PILOT, liso-cel was administered at a dose of 100 x 106 CAR-positive T cells; in TRANSCEND, it was given at doses of 50, 100, or150 x 106.

To qualify for outpatient administration and monitoring, both university centers and nonuniversity specialty oncology centers had to have at least hematopoietic stem cell therapy (HSCT) or phase 1 trial capability, an outpatient infusion center or inpatient infusion unit with same-day discharge; an affiliated aphereseis center; and a multidisciplinary medical team that can coordinate care between inpatient and outpatient settings, have standard operating procedures for outpatient monitoring and admissions when necessary, and an oncologist on call at all times.

In addition, each center had to have one designated hospital for care of CAR T-cell recipients with staff trained to manage typical CAR T-cell toxicities and a ready supply of tocilizumab (Actemra, Genentech) for treating CRS.

For their part, patients needed to have caregiver support and stay within 1 hour travel of the treatment center for the first 30 days after infusions, had to commit to returning to the site for immediate medical evaluation as necessary, and had to be educated about the early signs and symptoms of CRS and neurologic toxicities.

The analysis included data on 44 patients with a median age of 62 years (range 24 to 82), including 25 enrolled in TRANSCEND, 13 in OUTREACH, and 6 in PILOT. Eighteen patients were age 65 or older, 12 had high tumor burden, and 6 had lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) levels of 500 U/L or higher.

Treatment-related adverse events (TEAEs) occurring in at least 25% of outpatients were similar to those among all patients in TRANSCEND, with the most frequent grade 3 or 4 events being neutropenia, anemia, and thrombocytopenia. There were no treatment-related deaths among those monitored as outpatients.

CRS of any grade occurred in 12 of 25 outpatients (48%) in TRANSCEND, in 5 of 13 (38%) in OUTREACH, and in none of the 6 outpatients in PILOT. Grade 3 or 4 CRS was seen in 1 outpatient in TRANSCEND, but in none of the other patients in the other two trials.

Grade 3 or 4 neurologic events occurred in two outpatients in TRANSCEND, but were not seen in any outpatients in OUTREACH or PILOT.

Three patients in TRANSCEND and two in OUTREACH received either tocilizumab or corticosteroids for CRS, and five patients in TRANSCEND received corticosteroids for neurologic adverse events. Prolonged grade 3 or greater cytopenias were seen in three patients in TRANSCEND, five in OUTREACH, and one in PILOT.

The median onset of CRS was 5 days, and the median onset of neurologic toxicities was 8 days among all outpatients, and was similar to combined inpatient and outpatient population in TRANSCEND. The median duration of the events 6 days for CRS, 16 days for neurologic events was also similar to that seen in TRANSCEND.

Of the 44 patients from all three trials, 24 (55%) were hospitalized after liso-cel administration, for a median of 6.5 days (range 2-23). The median time to hospitalization was 5 days. One third of the hospitalizations were for either CRS or neurologic events. There were 2 cases of ICU admissions after liso-cel administration, for a median ICU stay of 4 days.

In all, 45% of outpatients did not require hospitalization, and there was no increase in ICU admissions compared with inpatients, Bachier pointed out.

The overall response rate was 80%, with a complete response rate of 55%, similar to that seen in TRANSCEND, he said.

In an interview with Medscape Medical News seeking objective commentary on the findings, Yago Nieto, MD, from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, said that he would be comfortable with CAR T-cell therapy in the outpatient setting, provided that several key components of care are in place.

"It requires an organized effort to be able to see those patients in an outpatient clinic weekdays and weekends, having every contingency discussed beforehand, including for ICU team members to admit patients into the ICU if necessary which is unusual, particularly with liso-cel but it has to be all worked out in advance in a multidisciplinary effort," he said.

Nieto comoderated the session where the data were presented, but was not involved in the study.

Comoderator Mazyar Shadman, MD, MPH, from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington, who was not involved in the study, told Medscape that his center treats patients with CAR T therapy in the outpatient setting.

"But it's important to know that when you talk about outpatient care, it's not your outpatient clinic where you see patients once a week," he said. "These are intensive outpatient centers. We have a team that's just outpatient, but we see these patients on a daily basis, we have dedicated nurses and practitioners, and we have labs and immunotherapy services for getting results quickly."

"I feel comfortable giving CAR T therapy to a patient in this setting," he added, "but not to a patient being treated in the middle of nowhere."

The study was funded by Juno Therapeutics, a Bristol-Myers Squibb company. Bachier disclosed advisory board activities for various companies, not including Juno or BMS. Nieto disclosed research funding and consultancy for various companies not including the sponsors of this study. Shadman disclosed research funding, honoraria, and consultancy with various companies not including Juno or BMS.

Transplantation & Cellular Therapy Meetings of ASTCT and CIBMTR 2020: Abstract29. Presented February 19, 2020.

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SOURCE Colorado Urology


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