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Making Heart Cells—Billions of Them

Discussion in 'Cardiology' started by Egyptian Doctor, Oct 18, 2011.

  1. Egyptian Doctor

    Egyptian Doctor  Moderator Verified Doctor

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    Researcher James Thomson achieved a scientific breakthrough a few years ago when
    he found a way to access stem cells without destroying embryos. He also saw an
    opportunity to make it a business.

    The company using this technology, Cellular Dynamics International of
    Madison, Wis., is the Gold winner in this year's Wall Street Journal Technology
    Innovation Awards contest.

    Dr. Thomson, who has a doctorate in molecular biology and is a professor of
    cell and regenerative biology at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine,
    was already well-known for demonstrating that stem cells—which have the
    potential to grow into any type of cell in the body—could be isolated from human
    embryos. But his later discovery, that mature human skin cells could be coaxed
    backward in development into so-called induced pluripotent stem cells, or iPS
    cells, led researchers to envision that some day they could use iPS technology
    to study diseases and treatments—or even to repair diseased or damaged tissue in
    the body—without having to rely on embryos or donated tissue and organs.

    Cellular Dynamics, or CDI, is the first company known to use iPS technology
    to make mass quantities of high-quality heart cells, as well as neurons,
    liver-like cells and cells that line blood vessels. Researchers and drug
    companies use these laboratory-generated cells to study diseases, develop
    medicines and screen for drug side effects.

    "Our hope is it'll make the drug-discovery process faster and cheaper and a
    lot safer for people," says Dr. Thomson, who co-founded CDI with several
    University of Wisconsin colleagues and is the company's chief scientific
    officer.

    It's one thing to create a few heart cells in a dish in the lab, but an
    entirely different feat to produce large quantities of genetically identical
    cells, says Anthony L. Komaroff, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical
    School and one of the judges of the Innovation Awards. IPS cells may one day be
    a powerful therapeutic tool, "but it's only useful if you can”¦make billions of
    those new, designer, just-for-me heart cells," and that is what CDI says it can
    do, says Dr. Komaroff.

    CDI says not only is it able to manufacture more than one billion heart cells
    a day, it also is capable of making cells from any particular individual, which
    would be critical if stem cells were being placed in a patient for therapeutic
    purposes. The ability to generate heart cells from a patient's own skin or blood
    cells, for instance, would eliminate the potential that the immune system would
    see the cells as foreign invaders and reject them.

    Seeing the potential for laboratory-generated cells after embryonic stem-cell
    technology was discovered in the late 1990s, Dr. Thomson and his colleagues
    started CDI in 2004. They knew that any such mass production of cells would have
    to come from a company, because academics tend to move on to the next research
    question after coming up with a scientific discovery. The venture gained
    momentum with the discovery of iPS cells.

    Initially nervous about the business, Dr. Thomson says he knew it made sense
    after a conversation with a cardiologist friend. The cardiologist explained that
    it wasn't unusual for heart drugs to be pulled from the market because of toxic
    side effects. The problem was that there weren't any human heart cells on which
    to perform toxicology testing before drugs were released. CDI, Dr. Thomson
    thought, could make the cells needed for this type of testing, either before a
    drug's approval or even afterward, to figure out which subset of patients might
    have a negative reaction to the medication.

    CDI has some 50 customers, mostly pharmaceutical companies. Some of them are,
    indeed, conducting toxicology tests on heart cells produced by CDI, according to
    Dr. Thomson. In the future, human skin and liver cells produced by CDI could be
    used to test food and consumer goods like shampoo, soap and food additives,
    which could reduce the need for testing on animals and expedite such research,
    says Bob Palay, CDI's chief executive.

    With stem cells, "you can get access to bits of the body for the first time
    ever," says Dr. Thomson.


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    Source : Maker of Heart Cells Wins Wall Street Journal's Gold Innovation Award - WSJ.com
     

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  2. einfopedia

    einfopedia Well-Known Member

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    the information about the CDI is the right figure?r u the part of the CDI.and nice for sharing the record of the CDI.its a knowledgeable.thanks Thomson.
     


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