On August 24, stem cell technology start-up Asymmetrex will report on progress with a crowdsourcing campaign launched in April to evaluate the range of applications for its newly patented technology for counting adult tissue stem cells for the first time
By August 24, about four months will have passed since stem cell technology start-up Asymmetrex, LLC launched a crowdsourcing campaign to evaluate the range of applications for the company’s newly patented technology for counting adult tissue stem cells for the first time. In addition to updating progress in the campaign focused on its most specific biomarker for adult tissue stem cells, epigenetic “H2A.Z asymmetry,” the company will discuss its growing portfolio of stem cell counting technologies for drug development and regenerative medicine.
If you ask James L. Sherley, founder and director of Asymmetrex, what he wants people to think when they hear his company’s name, he gives a simple refrain, “One, two, three, count your adult stem cells.” With his often-noted smile, Sherley recounts that it was not possible for him or anyone else to suggest such an action until about five years ago, when he first presented that it was now possible.
Sherley was giving a presentation to a group of angels at the then Boston Biomedical Research Institute where he was a senior scientist and director of BBRI’s Adult Stem Cell Technology Center, which he founded. In that prescient presentation, Sherley described emerging data from his research team in the ASCTC. The data defined a new epigenetic biomarker that had sufficient specificity to count adult tissue stem cells for the first time. Called “H2A.Z asymmetry,” the new biomarker was described in Stem Cell Research in March this year; and a patent (US 9,081,008) was issued in July for it and other related new biomarkers for counting adult tissue stem cells.
No angels flew after Sherley when his presentation was over or at any later time so far. Sherley’s explanation is that, “Some problems in biomedicine are so unbelievably basic to have persisted for so long that either people don’t believe they are still problems or people don’t believe that they could have been solved.”
With the founding of Asymmetrex in 2013, Sherley set out to shake-up the pervasive adult stem cell counting ennui that still clouds stem cell biology and biomedicine. The company launched a crowdsourcing campaign at the end of April of this year to entreat stem cell research labs, regenerative medicine groups, and the drug development industry worldwide to enter a new era of counting adult tissue stem cells. Sherley predicts that new reports of others’ successes will rapidly re-expose the vast scope of the adult tissue stem cell counting problem in stem cell biology research and regenerative medicine, for which Asymmetrex now has solutions.
Unlike earlier less specific adult stem cell biomarkers, H2A.Z asymmetry, the focus of the crowdsourcing campaign, is unique in being tightly associated with processes exclusive to adult tissue stem cells. Although H2A.Z asymmetry has the highest level of specificity, Asymmetrex has a number of other patented technologies employing cell functions (US 7,883,891), genes (US 7,867,712) and cellular factors (US 9,081,008) that are also superior biomarkers for adult tissue stem cells due to their tight association with adult stem cell exclusive cellular functions.
In addition to biomarkers for visual detection and counting of adult tissue stem cells, Asymmetrex has recently developed new computational methods based on computer simulation that extend the company’s stem cell counting capabilities to essentially all human tissues. Developed in collaboration with partner AlphaSTAR Corporation, these new adult tissue stem cell monitoring technologies are targeted for applications in earlier detection of tissue stem cell-toxic drug candidates during drug development and determination of tissue stem cell dose in regenerative medicine trials. Neither of these major unmet needs can be addressed except by counting adult tissue stem cells.
At the 8th International Epigenetics, Stem Cells, Sequencing & SNiPs Meeting on August 24 in Boston, Asymmetrex will give an update on the current crowdsourcing effort and describe in more detail the biological principles that are the foundation for its adult tissue stem cell counting technologies. These fundamental principles are also the foundation for the other thing that Sherley plans for the company to be known for soon, mass-producing adult tissue stem cells for applications in drug development and regenerative medicine.
Asymmetrex, LLC is a Massachusetts life sciences company with a focus on developing technologies to advance stem cell medicine. Asymmetrex’s founder and director, James L. Sherley, M.D., Ph.D. is an internationally recognized expert on the unique properties of adult tissue stem cells. The company’s patent portfolio contains biotechnologies that solve the two main technical problems — production and quantification — that have stood in the way of successful commercialization of human adult tissue stem cells for regenerative medicine and drug development. In addition, the portfolio includes novel technologies for isolating cancer stem cells and producing induced pluripotent stem cells for disease research purposes. Currently, Asymmetrex’s focus is employing its technological advantages to develop facile methods for monitoring adult stem cell number and function in clinically important human tissues.
An example of detecting the nucleus of a hair follicle stem cell using the epigenetic biomarker H2A.Z asymmetry.
This post is supported by Asymmetrex, LLC.