NSCI at ARVO: What Does it Take to Develop a Stem Cell Therapy for the Retina?

Stern_NSCITemple_NSCINSCI co-founders Dr. Sally Temple and Dr. Jeffrey Stern were recognized for their outstanding presentations at the Association for Research and Ophthalmology (ARVO) Annual Meeting earlier this month:

While there were seven outstanding stem-cell presentations during the summit, I want to highlight two that were particularly intriguing. 

Jeffrey Stern, M.D., Ph.D., co-founder of the Neural Stem Cell Institute (NSCI), discussed how the human retina has its own resident stem cells, which his group is working to harness as a therapy for diseases like AMD. In AMD, the disease causes degeneration of supportive cells known as retinal pigment epithelium, or RPE. When RPE are lost, the photoreceptors, the cells that make vision possible, die off as well, and central vision is lost.

Along with his wife and NSCI co-founder, Sally Temple, Ph.D., Stern is leading an effort to coax dormant stem cells in the patient’s retina to become new RPE. While it isn’t as far along as other RPE-replacement therapies, some of which are in early clinical trials, the NSCI “grow your own” approach would avoid many of the issues—including immune-system reactions, manufacturing and transplantation—associated with other stem-cell therapies. 

Read the entire review, by Ben Shaberman, entitled: What Does it Take to Develop a Stem-Cell Therapy for the Retina? here.

Temple and NSCI featured in Review of Opthalmology

Temple_NSCIIn the News: Dr. Temple was recently featured in the Review of Ophthalmology for her work with human retinal epithelium cells and her efforts to combat eye disease:

Stem Cells from the RPE
One of the most interesting stem-cell-related developments in the past decade has been the realization that different organs contain cells that are partly specialized for use exclusively in that tissue, but still qualify as stem cells because their final cell type is not yet determined. Following that premise, researchers are now working with stem cells that are found in the RPE, as well as stem cells taken from the central nervous system, both of which are showing unique promise.

Researchers at the Neural Stem Cell Institute in Rensselaer, N.Y., have been working with the stem cells found in the retina. These cells are innately programmed to produce RPE cells (although they sometimes do produce other cells, possibly accounting for certain retinal disease conditions). Sally Temple, PhD, co-founder and scientific director of the institute, and president-elect of the International Society for Stem Cell Research, heads the group. They are currently culturing human RPE stem cells and transplanting them into diseased retinas in an attempt to produce anatomic and visual rescue.

“We now have really strong efficacy data for this procedure in an animal model using the Royal College of Surgeons rat,” says Dr. Temple. “In that model the RPE is dysfunctional and the photoreceptors die. We’ve shown that we can rescue photoreceptors and vision in that animal by implanting adult RPE stem cells. We’ve followed these animals for six months to date, and the effect is ongoing; the treated animals are continuing to see while the untreated controls are going blind.”

To read the entire article go here.

Public Invited to NSCI Open House

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We invite the public to an Open House and cocktail reception at the Neural Stem Cell Institute on Thursday, May 19, 2016 from 4:30 – 7pm.  

Please join this exciting informational event and learn about the impact of stem cell research on medicine and health care.  Speakers include Dr. Sally Temple and Dr. Jeffrey Stern. Tour our state of the art laboratories and view actual stem cells.   

The Neural Stem Cell Institute (NSCI) is dedicated to developing regenerative stem cell therapies for various diseases of the central nervous system (CNS): the brain, spinal cord and retina. Led by MacArthur Award winner Dr. Sally Temple who helped discover and define nervous system stem cells, NSCI is the first independent, non-profit stem cell research institute in the USA.

1 Discovery Drive, Rensselaer, NY  12144 – (518) 694-8188

RSVP not required. Business casual

WaferGen Bio-systems Announces Placement of ICELL8TM Single-Cell System at Neural Stem Cell Institute

ICELL8™ Single-Cell System to Enable Innovative Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Research

FREMONT, California, March 3, 2016 — WaferGen Bio-systems (NASDAQ: WGBS), a life sciences tools company focused on developing and commercializing technology platforms for genomics solutions,announced today that the Neural Stem Cell Institute (NSCI), a not-for-profit organization that specializes in translational therapeutic stem cell research for diseases of the nervous system, located in Rensselaer,New York, recently selected the ICELL8™ Single-Cell System to conduct innovative stem cell research,with the goal of developing novel therapies for diseases of the brain and spinal cord.

“The ICELL8™ system will enable greater throughput and analysis of heterogeneous cells of different sizes,” said Dr. Sally Temple, a leader in the field of neural stem cells and the Scientific Director of theNSCI. “With the added ability to image and choose specific cells, we will be able to conduct experiments with greater confidence and interrogate specific stem cell subtypes quickly and effectively.”

“We are pleased that the NSCI, a leader in developing regenerative stem cell discoveries and therapies,has selected the ICELL8™ system to advance their single cell genomics research in diseases of the nervous system,” said Rolland Carlson, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of WaferGen Bio-systems. “The ICELL8™ Single-Cell system’s ability to isolate cells from tissues that have previously been inaccessible to single-cell genomics will enable innovative research for both stem cell and neuroscience researchers in the future.”

The ICELL8™ Single-Cell System is a revolutionary platform with the ability to isolate thousands of single cells and process specific cells of interest for downstream analysis using Next Generation Sequencing. The system includes an imaging station and CellSelect™ software for imaging and automatic selection of single cells for downstream processing. Recently, WaferGen’s Early-Access partners presented compelling results related to their use of the system at the Advances in Genome Biology and Technology 2016 General Meeting, including data from studies with neural cells.

About Neural Stem Cell Institute

The Neural Stem Cell Institute (NSCI) is a non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization and the first independent,neural stem cell research institute in the United States. Headquartered at the East Campus of the University at Albany in Rensselaer, NY. NSCI is a unique organization that produces leading stem cell research to develop new therapies for diseases of the central nervous system such as Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease and Age-related Macular Degeneration. NSCI aims to harness the power of stem cells to ease suffering caused by injury and disease of the brain, spinal cord and retina. NSCI has over 30 individuals focused on finding new ways to promote nervous system repair and has published numerous articles on groundbreaking stem cell discoveries and their implications for neural disease cures.

About WaferGen

WaferGen Bio-systems, Inc. is a biotechnology company that offers innovative genomic technology solutions for single-cell analysis and clinical research. The single cell analysis platform is a revolutionary system which can isolate thousands of single cells and processes specific cells for analysis, including Next Generation Sequencing (NGS). The SmartChip platform can be used for profiling and validating molecular biomarkers, and can perform massively-parallel single-plex PCR for one-step target enrichment and library preparation for clinical NGS. These technologies offer a powerful set of tools for biological analysis at the molecular and single-cell level in the life sciences, pharmaceutical, and clinical laboratory industries.

For additional information, please see http://www.wafergen.com

Forward Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended that are intended to be covered by the “safe harbor” created by those sections. Forward-looking statements, which are based on certain assumptions and describe our future plans, strategies and expectations, can generally be identified by the use of forward-looking terms such as “believe,” “expect,” “may,” “will,” “should,” “could,” “seek,” “intend,” “plan,” “estimate,” “anticipate” or other comparable terms.  Forward-looking statements in this press release may address the following subjects among others: statements regarding the sufficiency of our capital resources, expected operating losses, expected revenues, expected expenses, expected cash usage, our expectations regarding our development of future products including single cell analysis technologies and our expectations concerning our competitive position and business strategy.  Forward-looking statements involve inherent risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward- looking statements, as a result of various factors including those risks and uncertainties described in the Risk Factors and in Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations sections of our most recently filed Annual Report on Form 10-K and any subsequently filed Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q.  We urge you to consider those risks and uncertainties in evaluating our forward-looking statements.  We caution readers not to place undue reliance upon any such forward- looking statements, which speak only as of the date made.  Except as otherwise required by the federal securities laws, we disclaim any obligation or undertaking to publicly release any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statement contained herein (or elsewhere) to reflect any change in our expectations with regard thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based.

WAFERGEN CONTACTS

LifeSci Advisors, LLC

Brian Ritchie

BRitchie@LifeSciAdvisors.com

WaferGen Bio-systems, Inc.

Rollie Carlson

Rollie.Carlson@wafergen.com

Stem Cell Battles: Proposition 71 and Beyond: How Ordinary People Can Fight Back Against the Crushing Burden of Chronic Disease

Now available on Amazon, Don Reed’s book, Stem Cell Battles: Proposition 71 and Beyond: How Ordinary People Can Fight Back Against the Crushing Burden of Chronic Disease. Mr.Reed sponsored California’s Roman Reed Spinal Cord Injury Research Act of 1999.  Named after his paralyzed son Roman, “Roman’s Law” provided and attracted millions of dollars for stem cell research. Reed also organized groundbreaking supportive legislation. He says in the Huffington Post:

“It’s 2016, I am 70 years old, and just published a book on stem cell research…with a posthumous foreword by Christopher Reeve.

For me as the father of a paralyzed young man, Roman Reed, I am eternally grateful to Paul Richter, the policeman who was shot in the line of duty, but then went on to inspire a paralysis research program — and Dr. Sally Temple, co-founder of the Neural Stem Cell Institute; and Brooke Ellison, a paralyzed woman who inspired Christopher Reeve’s last movie, The Brooke Ellison Story — and groundbreaking scientist Loren Studer, fighting for a cure of Alzheimers’ and ALS. Too many to even try to name them all!”

Read more about Don Reed and his book here.