Cell therapy weekly: Stem cells show promise for acute-on-chronic liver failure

This week: Collaboration will develop iPSC-based diabetes therapies, and gene found to link regeneration in brain and gut.

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Apr 17, 2019
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The news highlights:

Stem cells show promise for acute-on-chronic liver failure
Collaboration will develop iPSC-based diabetes therapies
Regeneration in brain and gut controlled by the same gene

Stem cells show promise for acute-on-chronic liver failure

Promethera Biosciences SA (Belgium) has released data from an ongoing phase IIa trial into a stem cell infusion for acute-on-chronic liver failure (ACLF). HepaStem®, consisting of allogeneic liver stem cells, was infused into 19 patients with no adverse events or clinically significant changes to platelet count, fibrinogen levels and coagulation factors reported. Improvement in disease severity was also seen up to 3 months post-treatment.

“Pioneering the use of liver stem cells for the treatment of ACLF, we are excited to pass this first major hurdle of establishing a well-defined safety profile, as we continue to advance HepaStem through the clinic. The next stages of our development plan will be to conduct a larger trial in ACLF focusing on clinical efficacy to restore better liver function, and potentially decrease mortality and need for transplantation,” said Etienne Sokal, Promethera’s Chief Scientific & Medical Officer.

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Collaboration will develop iPSC-based diabetes therapies

Allele Biotechnology and Pharmaceuticals, Inc., (CA, USA) will collaborate with SCM Lifescience Co., Ltd., (South Korea) to develop diabetes therapies based on Allele’s induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived pancreatic beta cells. The partnership will further the develop of therapeutic applications for these cells, leverage Allele’s GMP manufacturing capabilities as well as open up the iPSC market for SCM, which currently has a number of mesenchymal stem cell-based therapies in its pipeline.  

Jiwu Wang, Founder and CEO of Allele Biotechnology, said, “We are excited to have a partnership with SCM Lifescience, which has years of experience in cell therapy clinical trials. This collaborative project will help us quickly generate first-in-human results in the fast-moving field of iPSC-based therapies.”

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Regeneration in brain and gut controlled by the same gene

Researchers at Rutgers University (NJ, USA) have discovered that insulin-like growth factor II gene is responsible for maintaining stem cell populations in both the brain and the gut. Previously regarded as dispensable in adults, this finding could to better understanding, and potential treatments, of anxiety, cognitive disorders and gastrointestinal diseases.

“When the gene was removed acutely, the stem cells in glands in the inner surface of the small intestine could not continue their normal cycle of continued cell replacement, causing organ failure,” said co-author Teresa Wood, a professor at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. “However, when the gene was deleted slowly, it gave the other stem cells an opportunity to take over for the lost stem cells.”

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For more weekly cell therapy news, read previous editions of the cell therapy weekly.

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