Cats with a debilitating tooth ailment called feline chronic gingivostomatitis sometimes experience pain even after getting their teeth removed or taking multiple doses of antibiotics or steroids. But a new treatment that draws on the cats' own stem cells could prove game-changing in helping animals that are suffering from the disease. The findings could also apply to humans with oral diseases.
Columbia engineering researchers have found that electrical stimulation of human heart muscle cells, or cardiomyocytes, engineered from human stem cells can beat with electrical stimulation. For the first time, they found that this activity actually encouraged the nascent cardiomyocytes to beat autonomously and to transfer that to surrounding cardiomyocytes.
Today, Rubius Therapeutics, which has been working on turning hematopoietic stem cells into red blood cells and "functionalizing" them with built-in therapeutic proteins that can address dozens of potential drug targets, is coming out of stealth mode with a $25 million Series A bankrolled entirely by Flagship Ventures, an early-stage investor which fostered the biotech in its prolific VentureLabs.
After being exposed as a fraud and convicted of embezzling research funds, Hwang Woo Suk immediately began to work his way back from the disgrace. Now, he's eyeing the launch of a large animal cloning operation in China that aims to produce a million cloned cows to satisfy the country's hunger for mass quantities of high quality beef.
Only a scant few years old, CRISPR gene editing technology already is heavily weighted with potential implications for human disease and health. It's already being used to more easily and precisely create genetically modified plants and animals. And for the first time last year, CRISPR was used to genetically modify a human embryo.
Astellas Pharma has stepped up with a $379 million bid for Ocata Therapeutics, a pioneering--and often controversial--stem cell company that has managed to survive a years-long roller coaster ride through the hype, hope and disappointments of the past decade.
Novartis is acquiring more of stem cell partner Gamida Cell but steering away from buying the company outright as it blueprints a Phase III trial for its blood cancer therapy.
Celgene has stepped up with a deal to buy a $45 million chunk of Mesoblast's stock at a premium price in exchange for a front row seat on the Australian biotech's stem cell pipeline and a preferred spot at the bargaining table if it follows up with a licensing deal.
Fujifilm has dipped into its multibillion-dollar cache of buyout cash for the $307 million it needed to acquire Cellular Dynamics International, one of the pioneers in the stem cell research business.
CRISPR technology's potential for gene editing has helped inspire the launch of a trio of closely watched biotech startups with their sights set on some cutting-edge approaches to new therapeutics. And now a team at Johns Hopkins has done some experiments to demonstrate its promise in engineering human stem cell therapies.