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Archive for the ‘Fat Stem Cells’ Category

Smart Stem Cells Made From Fat Have the Power to Heal – Freethink

Sunday, February 14th, 2021

New smart stem cells show a promising power to heal.

Researchers have reprogrammed human fat cells into adaptive smart stem cells that can lie dormant in the body until they are needed to heal various tissues. They demonstrated the cells' effectiveness at healing damaged tissue in a mouse study.

To create the smart stem cells, the team from UNSW Sydney exposed human fat cells to a compound mixture. After about three and a half weeks, the cells lost their original identity and began acting like stem cells, or iMS (induced multipotent stem cells).

"The stem cells acted like chameleons. They followed local cues to blend into the tissue that required healing."

"The stem cells we've developed can adapt to their surroundings and repair a range of damaged tissues," said UNSW hematologist John Pimanda, and co-author of the study, which they published in Science Advances.

"To my knowledge, no one has made an adaptive human multipotent stem cell before. This is uncharted territory."

Next, they injected the experimental iMS cells into healthy mice to see how the cells would respond. The cells remained dormant for some time, but they activated when the mouse was injured. Because of the cells' regenerative ability to act as "smart stem cells," they transformed themselves into whatever tissue was needed to heal the injured mouse --- like bone tissue, heart, or skin.

"The stem cells acted like chameleons," said Avani Yeola, lead author on the study at UNSW Medicine & Health. "They followed local cues to blend into the tissue that required healing."

All cells in a human body contain the same DNA. To differentiate between tissues, like a skin cell versus a bone cell, the cells only use a small portion of their total DNA. The rest of the DNA is shut down naturally by local modifications.

"The idea behind our approach was to reverse these modifications," said Pimanda. "We wanted the cells to have the option of using that part of the DNA if there was a signal from outside the cell."

Tissue-specific stem cells, like those that are restricted to becoming parts of the liver or lung, are limiting. But smart stem cells that can respond to their environment and become any tissue, like multipotent stem cells, will have many uses.

In the future, doctors could take a patient's fat cells, incubate them with the compound, and inject them into the patient to heal heart damage or trauma injuries.

But applications like this could be a long way off. The team needs to do much more research to prove this is safe in humans for different kinds of trauma before it becomes a real therapy.

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Smart Stem Cells Made From Fat Have the Power to Heal - Freethink


Network-based screen in iPSC-derived cells reveals therapeutic candidate for heart valve disease – Science

Sunday, February 14th, 2021

Machine learning for medicine

Small-molecule screens aimed at identifying therapeutic candidates traditionally search for molecules that affect one to several outputs at most, limiting discovery of true disease-modifying drugs. Theodoris et al. developed a machine-learning approach to identify small molecules that broadly correct gene networks dysregulated in a human induced pluripotent stem cell disease model of a common form of heart disease involving the aortic valve. Gene network correction by the most efficacious therapeutic candidate generalized to primary aortic valve cells derived from more than 20 patients with sporadic aortic valve disease and prevented aortic valve disease in vivo in a mouse model.

Science, this issue p. eabd0724

Determining the gene-regulatory networks that drive human disease allows the design of therapies that target the core disease mechanism rather than merely managing symptoms. However, small molecules used as therapeutic agents are traditionally screened for their effects on only one to several outputs at most, from which their predicted efficacy on the disease as a whole is extrapolated. In silico correlation of disease network dysregulation with pathways affected by molecules in surrogate cell types is limited by the relevance of the cell types used and by not directly testing compounds in patient cells.

In principle, mapping the architecture of the dysregulated network in disease-relevant cells differentiated from patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and subsequent screening for small molecules that broadly correct the abnormal gene network could overcome this obstacle. Specifically, targeting normalization of the core regulatory elements that drive the disease process, rather than correction of peripheral downstream effectors that may not be disease modifying, would have the greatest likelihood of therapeutic success. We previously demonstrated that haploinsufficiency of NOTCH1 can cause calcific aortic valve disease (CAVD), the third most common form of heart disease, and that the underlying mechanism involves derepression of osteoblast-like gene networks in cardiac valve cells. There is no medical therapy for CAVD, and in the United States alone, >100,000 surgical valve replacements are performed annually to relieve obstruction of blood flow from the heart. Many of these occur in the setting of a congenital aortic valve anomaly present in 1 to 2% of the population in which the aortic valve has two leaflets (bicuspid) rather than the normal three leaflets (tricuspid). Bicuspid valves in humans can also be caused by NOTCH1 mutations and predispose to early and more aggressive calcification in adulthood. Given that valve calcification progresses with age, a medical therapy that could slow or even arrest progression would have tremendous impact.

We developed a machine-learning approach to identify small molecules that sufficiently corrected gene network dysregulation in NOTCH1-haploinsufficient human iPSC-derived endothelial cells (ECs) such that they classified similar to NOTCH1+/+ ECs derived from gene-corrected isogenic iPSCs. We screened 1595 small molecules for their effect on a signature of 119 genes representative of key regulatory nodes and peripheral genes from varied regions of the inferred NOTCH1-dependent network, assayed by targeted RNA sequencing (RNA-seq). Overall, eight molecules were validated to sufficiently correct the network signature such that NOTCH1+/ ECs classified as NOTCH1+/+ by the trained machine-learning algorithm. Of these, XCT790, an inverse agonist of estrogen-related receptor (ERR), had the strongest restorative effect on the key regulatory nodes SOX7 and TCF4 and on the network as a whole, as shown by full transcriptome RNA-seq.

Gene network correction by XCT790 generalized to human primary aortic valve ECs derived from explanted valves from >20 patients with nonfamilial CAVD. XCT790 was effective in broadly restoring dysregulated genes toward the normal state in both calcified tricuspid and bicuspid valves, including the key regulatory nodes SOX7 and TCF4.

Furthermore, XCT790 was sufficient to prevent as well as treat already established aortic valve disease in vivo in a mouse model of Notch1 haploinsufficiency on a telomere-shortened background. XCT790 significantly reduced aortic valve thickness, the extent of calcification, and echocardiographic signs of valve stenosis in vivo. XCT790 also reduced the percentage of aortic valve cells expressing the osteoblast transcriptional regulator RUNX2, indicating a reduction in the osteogenic cell fate switch underlying CAVD. Whole-transcriptome RNA-seq in treated aortic valves showed that XCT790 broadly corrected the genes dysregulated in Notch1-haploinsufficient mice with shortened telomeres, and that treatment of diseased aortic valves promoted clustering of the transcriptome with that of healthy aortic valves.

Network-based screening that leverages iPSC and machine-learning technologies is an effective strategy to discover molecules with broadly restorative effects on gene networks dysregulated in human disease that can be validated in vivo. XCT790 represents an entry point for developing a much-needed medical therapy for calcification of the aortic valve, which may also affect the highly related and associated calcification of blood vessels. Given the efficacy of XCT790 in limiting valve thickening, the potential for XCT790 to alter the progression of childhood, and perhaps even fetal, valve stenosis also warrants further study. Application of this strategy to other human models of disease may increase the likelihood of identifying disease-modifying candidate therapies that are successful in vivo.

A gene networkbased screening approach leveraging human disease-specific iPSCs and machine learning identified a therapeutic candidate, XCT790, which corrected the network dysregulation in genetically defined iPSC-derived endothelial cells and primary aortic valve endothelial cells from >20 patients with sporadic aortic valve disease. XCT790 was also effective in preventing and treating a mouse model of aortic valve disease.

Mapping the gene-regulatory networks dysregulated in human disease would allow the design of network-correcting therapies that treat the core disease mechanism. However, small molecules are traditionally screened for their effects on one to several outputs at most, biasing discovery and limiting the likelihood of true disease-modifying drug candidates. Here, we developed a machine-learning approach to identify small molecules that broadly correct gene networks dysregulated in a human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) disease model of a common form of heart disease involving the aortic valve (AV). Gene network correction by the most efficacious therapeutic candidate, XCT790, generalized to patient-derived primary AV cells and was sufficient to prevent and treat AV disease in vivo in a mouse model. This strategy, made feasible by human iPSC technology, network analysis, and machine learning, may represent an effective path for drug discovery.

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Network-based screen in iPSC-derived cells reveals therapeutic candidate for heart valve disease - Science


Their Goal: Meat That’s Better Than Meat | Tufts Now – Tufts Now

Sunday, January 31st, 2021

There are plenty of reasons to want to shift away from eating meat: its better for the planet and certainly better for animals that would otherwise be eaten. But meat is still a big draw, both in the U.S. and increasingly in medium-income countries like China.

At the Tufts School of Engineering, a team of scientists led by Professor David Kaplan is exploring another avenue to feed this trendmeat grown directly from animal cells. It could be the start of an entirely new agricultural industryas humane and green as plant-based meat substitutes, but providing taste, texture, and nutrition that is even closer to the experience of eating real meat.

The technology is already familiar to cell biologistsgrowing and harvesting cells from a single sample of tissue from a live anesthetized animal, but doing it in ways that may help the cells transform into something similar to the muscle tissue people enjoy eating from beef, chicken, and fish, including shrimp and scallops.

Meat from animals contains connective tissue, vascular networks, fat, and other cell types, as well as blood, biological fluids, and a complex mix of proteins and sugars, all of which contribute to the unique taste and texture of the meat. Replicating that structure and content is the technical challenge that the Tufts team is working on using the tools of tissue engineering.

A variety of flavors and textures can be achieved by growing different types of cells together, like skeletal muscle, fat cells and fibroblasts (the most common type of cell in connective tissue), adding nutrients to the surrounding media (the soup in which the cells grow), or using genetic modification to add components that not only introduce flavors, but can modify color or even improve on the nutritional quality of natural meat.

Andrew Stout, a doctoral student in biomedical engineering, has explored adding myoglobin to the cell growth media, for example. Myoglobin, a natural component of muscle, is a protein that carries iron and oxygen, and is associated with the bloody flavor of meat. He found that its addition to the mix helps improve the color of the cell mass, and even enhanced the growth rate of the meat substitute.

Stout has also been working to enhance the nutritional content of cell-based meat. In a recent journal publication, he reported how he had modified muscle cells from cows by genetically adding enzymatic machinery to produce the antioxidants phytoene, lycopene, and beta-carotene, normally found in plants.

Think of it as a way to make cell-based meat more plant-like in the healthy nutritional components it offers. Adding beta-carotene, for example, could have protective effects against colorectal cancer, which tends to be more prevalent among those with a high intake of red meat. Another benefit of this type of metabolic engineering is that the antioxidants could improve the quality and shelf-life of the meat.

How far can they take this nutritional engineering? I think other nutrients would definitely work, said Stout. Thats one of the things that I am the most excited about. Putting plant genes into mammalian cells is pretty un-travelled scientific territory, and so theres a lot of space to explore other nutrients, flavor, and color compounds. In addition, he adds, the cell-based meat can be engineered as a therapeutic food.

Most cell-based approaches have emulated processed meat such as hamburger, sausage, and nuggets. Replicating the appearance and texture of whole cuts of meat, like steak, is a different kind of challenge.

Tissue engineering experts in the Kaplan lab bring a lot of experience to the task of aligning cells and creating fibers resembling real meat structure, using things like mechanical tension and micropatterned substrates to help align cells into fibers.

Natalie Rubio, a Ph.D. student in biomedical engineering, found that switching from cows to caterpillars as a source of cells can have some advantages. The muscle and fat stem cells originating from the eggs of the tobacco hornworma beefy little caterpillarcan be used to generate tissue that resembles other invertebrates that were used to eating, like shrimp and scallops.

A vast amount of knowledge has already developed around large scale invertebrate cell culture, since insect cells are widely used in the production of pharmaceuticals. Suspended in a liquid medium, they tend to grow to very high density and have simpler requirements for maintenance and growth. Yields could be greater and production costs lower than from mammalian cells.

But Rubio explains that there is a very important step remaining to transform a soup of cells into something resembling real meatproviding a scaffold to shape and orient the cells.

The scaffold is the backbone of the meatit provides structure and texture, said Rubio. If we did not have that support structure, the meat would just look like slime.

Rubio generates scaffolds from chitosana polymer found in a closely related form (chitin) in exoskeletons such as crab shells and fungi. Chitosan is a great material to make scaffolds from because it is edible, abundant, and inexpensive, she said.

Chitin can be isolated from fungi and easily converted to chitosan and then formed into films, fibers, or sponges to act as scaffolding for cell culture. Rubio grows insect muscle and fat cells on the chitosan scaffolds to generate small, structured meat constructs.

Kaplans lab has been a hub and catalyst for cellular agriculture research and development in the academic sector for many years, he said. That continues with an annual course for undergraduates on cellular agriculture, which is again being offered this spring semester.

Cell-based meat has not yet been commercialized, but the first cultured beef burger was produced by Maastricht University in 2013, and a number of start-up companies are now working to create new products to sell.

Alumni from our group have fanned out across the globe to help create the foundation of a nascent cell-based agricultural industry, Kaplan said. They include Laura Domigan, who is a principal investigator at University of Auckland; research scientist Amanda Baryshyan at Gloucester Marine Genomics Institute; Ryan Pandya, CEO of Perfect Day Foods; Viktor Maciag, head of tissue engineering at Mission Barns; and Robin Simsa, CEO of Legendary Vish.

Mike Silver can be reached at

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Their Goal: Meat That's Better Than Meat | Tufts Now - Tufts Now


Gut microbiota: How does it interact with the brain? – Medical News Today

Wednesday, December 30th, 2020

Through studies in mice, researchers find evidence that having a healthful balance of gut microorganisms is important for good health.

Researchers from the Institut Pasteur, French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), and Inserm have found evidence that gut microbiota also plays a role in mood regulation and brain function.

Gut microbiota is the community of bacteria, fungi, and viruses that live in the digestive tract.

These findings in mice suggest that changes to gut bacterial communities may lead or contribute to depression. If humans have a similar mechanism, doctors might be able to use bacteria strains to treat mood disorders, such as depression.

A group of 16 researchers from several prominent French research institutions conducted the study, which appears in Nature Communications.

Studies have found that some people with depression experience dysbiosis, which is an imbalance or change in their intestinal microbiota.

Research conducted on rodents also shows that gut dysbiosis has associations with neurological changes linked with depression, such as:

Animal studies also show that gut microbiota helps regulate anxiety. It may also influence the development of neurological conditions caused by circuit dysfunctions, such as Parkinsons disease, Alzheimers disease, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Researchers think this is because gut bacteria release metabolites, tiny bits of food broken down by digestion that influence brain function. Metabolites may impact mood regulation by acting on the endocannabinoid system.

The endocannabinoid system is a complex cell-signaling system consisting of lipid (fat)-based neurotransmitters and their receptors.

It is found throughout the body and plays a role in important aspects of health, such as immune and nervous system function and cellular communication in the nervous system. It also regulates emotions, moods, and stress responses by activation of the systems main receptor, CB1.

Previous research supports the idea that restoring gut microbial health may help treat depression. In animal studies, prebiotic treatment influenced emotional behavior. In human studies, prebiotic supplementation also improved mood in people with depression.

But despite educated theories, researchers still do not know precisely how gut bacteria impact brain function.

Researchers in the recent study set out to find the mechanisms linking gut microbiota and mood disorders. A team of researchers from some of these same French institutions published a report earlier this year, which found that stress-induced changes in gut microbiota reduced the efficacy of the antidepressant fluoxetine in mice.

In the study, researchers submitted genetically identical mice to unpredictable chronic mild stress (UCMS), a mouse model of stress-induced depression, for 8 weeks.

This treatment caused the mice to develop depressive-like behaviors, such as reduced eating, grooming, weight loss, and hippocampal neurogenesis. The hippocampus is responsible for learning and memory and is heavily affected by several psychiatric and neurological conditions.

Researchers then transplanted fecal samples containing gut microbiota from control and UCMS-exposed mice into healthy mice. To serve as a control, mice that received fecal transplants were germ-free mice or received treatment with antibiotics for 6 days.

After 8 weeks, mice that received transplants from UCMS mice developed depression-like symptoms. The mice also experienced a reduction in the number of new brain stem cells and neurons in their hippocampus.

These findings show that transferring gut microbiota from stress-induced depressive mice to healthy mice induced depression-like behaviors.

Surprisingly, simply transferring the microbiota from an animal with mood disorders to an animal in good health was enough to bring about biochemical changes and confer depressive-like behaviors in the latter.

Pierre-Marie Lledo, head of the Perception and Memory Unit at the Institut Pasteur (CNRS/Institut Pasteur), joint last author of the study

To figure out how this occurred, researchers explored the possibility that UCMS-exposed microbiota may trigger depression by altering metabolism. They found that mice with UCMS microbiota had significantly reduced levels of certain fatty acids in their blood and brain.

The reduced fatty acids included monoacylglycerols (MAG), diacylglycerols (DAG), polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA), and linoleic acid. monoacylglycerols (MAG), diacylglycerols (DAG), polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA), and linoleic acid. Variations of two of these fatty acids, DAD and PUFA, are converted into endocannabinoids (eCB).

The researchers speculate that gut dysbiosis may cause these changes in fatty acid levels. Studies link the dysregulation of the endocannabinoid system and its central receptor, CB1, with depression in both UCMS-model mice and humans.

In the study, the researchers found that mice with UCMS microbiota had greatly reduced levels of eCBs in their hippocampus and blood. They also found that mice with UCMS microbiota had reduced levels of Lactobacillus bacteria.

The researchers were able to reduce the depressive impact of the UCMS microbiota by enhancing CB1 levels and giving the mice a strain of Lactobacillus bacteria orally.

These findings suggest that chronic stress, diet, and the gut microbiota contribute to the development of depression-like behaviors via the endocannabinoid system.

This discovery shows the role played by the gut microbiota in normal brain function, says Grard Eberl, Head of the Microenvironment and Immunity Unit (Institut Pasteur/Inserm) and joint last author of the study.

More specifically, imbalances in the gut bacterial community that reduce fatty acid levels vital to the endocannabinoid system and brain function seem to encourage the development of depression-like behaviors.

These findings mean certain bacteria could act as a natural antidepressant, treating mood disorders by restoring gut microbial health. And this is promising news, considering the slew of potential adverse side effects and relatively low efficacy rate of most current antidepressants.

To confirm their results, the researchers will need to test their findings in humans. The researchers say that new research will also need to explore whether changes to the gut microbiota impact other brain targets of the endocannabinoid system in the same way.

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Gut microbiota: How does it interact with the brain? - Medical News Today


The 10 Best Herbs for Liver Health: Benefits and Precautions – Healthline

Saturday, December 19th, 2020

Many people around the world live with conditions that affect the liver, including cirrhosis, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), alcoholic liver disease, liver cancer, liver failure, and hepatitis (1).

Every year, liver disease accounts for nearly 2 million deaths worldwide (2, 3).

Risk factors for liver disease include heavy alcohol intake, high blood sugar levels, obesity, high blood pressure, viruses, elevated triglyceride and cholesterol levels, and more (4, 5).

Liver disease is treated in a number of ways, including medication, nutritional therapy, immunotherapy, lifestyle change, surgical resection, and even liver transplant in end stage liver disease (6, 7, 8, 9).

In addition to standard treatments, many people turn to alternative therapies, including herbal supplements, in hopes of improving and protecting their liver health. In fact, around 65% of people in the United States and Europe with liver diseases take herbal supplements (10).

Here are the 10 best herbs that have been shown to improve liver health.

Many herbs, including some on this list, may be unsafe for those with certain liver conditions.

Some herbs have been connected to liver damage and other complications, which is why its critical to check with your healthcare provider before adding any herbal supplements, including the ones on this list, to your diet.

Silymarin, often called milk thistle, consists of a group of compounds extracted from milk thistle (Silybum marianum) seeds, including silybin, silychristin, and silydianin (10).

Milk thistle has been used for over 2,000 years to treat bile duct and liver conditions, and research shows that it may have liver-protective properties (11).

It has been suggested that silymarin has strong antioxidant effects and may help promote liver cell regeneration, reduce inflammation, and benefit those with liver disease. However, results from human studies have been mixed (12).

For example, some studies have shown that taking a silymarin supplement may help protect against liver disease progression, prolong life in people with alcoholic cirrhosis, and enhance overall quality of life in people with liver disease (13, 14, 15, 16).

Yet, other studies indicate that silymarin is no more effective than placebo treatments, highlighting the need for additional research (13, 17, 18, 19).

Regardless, silymarin is considered safe and has not been associated with adverse side effects, even when used at high doses (19).

Silymarin may benefit people with certain liver conditions, including alcoholic cirrhosis. Still, more research is needed.

Ginseng is a popular herbal supplement known for its powerful anti-inflammatory properties (20).

A number of test-tube and animal studies have demonstrated that ginseng has antioxidant effects and may help protect against liver injury caused by viruses, toxins, and alcohol. Plus, it may boost liver cell regeneration after surgery (21).

Whats more, some human studies have shown that ginseng treatment may improve liver function and reduce fatigue and inflammation in people with liver disease and liver dysfunction (22, 23, 24).

For example, a 2020 study in 51 men with elevated levels of alanine transaminase (ALT), a marker for liver damage, found that those who took 3 grams of ginseng extract per day for 12 weeks experienced significant reductions in ALT, compared with a placebo group (24).

Levels of gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT), another marker for liver damage, were also reduced significantly (24).

Although these results are promising, more research investigating the effects of ginseng on liver health is needed.

When used on its own, ginseng is thought to be relatively safe for liver health. However, ginseng has the potential to react with medications, which can lead to liver injury and other potentially dangerous side effects (25, 26, 27).

Ginseng may help protect against liver damage and is generally considered safe. Yet, it has the potential to react with certain medications, which can lead to dangerous side effects.

Although it isnt technically an herb, green tea and its main polyphenol compound epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) are often included in literature reviews focusing on herbal remedies for liver conditions (28).

Some studies have found that supplementing with green tea extract may help treat those with liver disease.

A study in 80 people with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) found that supplementing with 500 mg of green tea extract per day for 90 days significantly reduced the liver damage markers ALT and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) (29).

Although the placebo group also noticed a reduction in AST and ALT levels, they were not significant (29).

Another 12-week study in 80 people with NAFLD observed that those who took 500 mg of green tea extract daily experienced significant improvements in AST, ALT, and inflammatory markers, compared with a placebo. The treatment also reduced fatty changes in the liver (30).

Green tea intake has likewise been shown to protect against various liver conditions, including liver cancer, hepatitis, cirrhosis, fatty liver (hepatic steatosis), and chronic liver disease (31).

While drinking green tea is considered safe for most people, in rare cases, green tea extract supplements have been linked to acute liver injury (32).

Green tea and green tea extract have been linked to powerful liver-protective effects. Keep in mind that green tea extract has been associated with liver injury in rare cases.

Although chewy candy often comes to mind when thinking of licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), its really an herb with powerful medicinal properties (33).

Licorice root has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and liver-protective effects in scientific studies (33).

The main active component in licorice root is the saponin compound glycyrrhizin, which is commonly used in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine to treat many ailments, including liver disease (33).

Some studies have demonstrated that treatment with licorice extract may benefit those with certain liver conditions.

A study in 66 people with fatty liver disease found that supplementing with 2 grams of licorice root extract per day for 2 months significantly reduced ALT and AST, compared with a placebo treatment (34).

In another small study, 6 healthy people took a glycyrrhizin product before drinking vodka every night for 12 days, and 6 people only drank vodka nightly for 12 days.

In the vodka-only group, liver damage markers, including ALT, AST, and GGT, significantly increased. In the glycyrrhizin group, these markers did not significantly increase, suggesting that glycyrrhizin may help protect against alcohol-related liver damage (35).

Although these findings are promising, more research is needed.

Whats more, some people are more sensitive to licorice, and the chronic use of licorice products can result in dangerous side effects, including high blood pressure and low blood levels of potassium (36).

Licorice supplements may benefit those with NAFLD and protect against alcohol-related liver damage. Its important to note that certain people may be more sensitive to licorice supplements, as well as that they can lead to adverse side effects.

Turmeric and its main active component curcumin have been linked to a variety of impressive health benefits.

Its well documented that turmeric has powerful anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anticancer properties, which makes this herb a popular choice for those with liver disease (37).

A study in people with NAFLD demonstrated that daily treatment with 500 mg of a curcumin product for 8 weeks significantly reduced liver fat content and levels of AST and ALT, compared with a placebo group (38).

Another study in 70 people with NAFLD found that those who supplemented with 500 mg of curcumin and 5 mg of piperine per day for 12 weeks had significant reductions in ALT, AST, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and inflammatory markers, compared with a placebo group (39).

Piperine is a compound found in black pepper that enhances curcumin absorption.

It was also observed that the curcumin treatment significantly improved NAFLD severity, compared with the placebo group (39).

Supplementing with turmeric and curcumin is generally considered safe. However, some cases of acute liver injury have been reported. Still, its unclear whether these cases were due to the contamination of curcumin products or the products themselves (40).

Studies show that turmeric supplements may help treat NAFLD and reduce inflammation. Turmeric is generally considered safe, but some cases of liver injury have been reported.

Although garlic is botanically considered a vegetable, its a popular component of many herbal remedies. Its packed with potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory plant compounds, such as allicin, alliin, and ajoene, which may help support liver health (41, 42).

A 2020 study in 98 people with NAFLD found that those who took 800 mg of garlic powder per day for 15 weeks experienced significant reductions in ALT, AST, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and triglyceride levels, compared with a placebo group (42).

Whats more, 51% of the participants in the garlic group showed improvements in the severity of liver fat accumulation, compared with just 16% of the control group (42).

Another study in over 24,000 adults found that men who consumed raw garlic over 7 times per week had up to a 29% reduced risk of developing fatty liver disease. Although raw garlic intake was inversely associated with NAFLD in men, this association was not seen in women (43).

Additionally, a study linked raw garlic intake to a lower risk of liver cancer. Eating raw garlic twice or more per week was associated with a 23% reduced risk of liver cancer, compared with consuming raw garlic less than twice per week (44).

Although raw garlic is generally considered safe, concentrated garlic supplements may induce liver injury in some people (45).

Raw garlic and garlic powder have liver-protective properties and may improve liver health in those with NAFLD. Eating raw garlic may protect against liver cancer. Garlic is generally considered safe but may cause liver injury in some people.

Ginger root is a popular culinary ingredient and also commonly used as a medicinal treatment for many health conditions, including liver disease.

A 12-week study in 46 people with NAFLD found that supplementing with 1,500 mg of ginger powder per day significantly reduced ALT, total and LDL (bad) cholesterol, fasting blood sugar, and the inflammatory marker C-reactive protein (CRP), compared with placebo treatment (46).

Another study observed similar results. People with NAFLD who supplemented with 2 grams of ginger for 12 weeks experienced significant reductions in ALT, GGT, inflammatory markers, and fat accumulation in the liver, compared with a placebo group (47).

Ginger root contains powerful compounds, including gingerols and shogaols, that help inhibit inflammation and protect against cellular damage, which may help support liver health. Plus, ginger may help protect your liver against toxins like alcohol (48, 49).

Ginger is generally considered safe, even for those with liver conditions. However, you should always check with your healthcare provider before supplementing with high-dose ginger products (50).

Taking ginger supplements may help reduce liver damage and lower cholesterol, blood sugar, and inflammation in people with NAFLD. Ginger is generally considered safe.

In addition to the treatments listed above, many other herbs have been linked to improved liver health.

Danshen is a substance thats commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine. Its the dried roots of the herb Salvia miltiorrhiza Bunge. Human and animal studies have shown that danshen may have positive effects on liver health.

Animal studies indicate danshen may help protect against alcohol-related liver disease and promote liver tissue regeneration, while some human studies suggest danshen injections may help treat liver fibrosis when used alongside other herbal remedies (51, 52, 53).

Ginkgo biloba is a popular herbal supplement that has been linked to improved liver health. For example, a rodent study showed that ginkgo biloba injections reduced liver fibrosis and enhanced liver function (54).

Although ginkgo biloba has been associated with mild adverse side effects, it hasnt been linked to liver injury specifically (55).

Astragalus is an edible herb commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine. Its loaded with medicinal compounds, including saponins, isoflavonoids, and polysaccharides, which have powerful therapeutic properties (56).

Its generally considered safe and hasnt been associated with liver injury. However, it can interact with certain medications (57).

Rodent studies indicate that astragalus may help protect against fibrosis and high fat diet-induced fatty liver when used alone or in combination with other herbs (58, 59, 60).

Danshen, ginkgo biloba, and astragalus have all been associated with improved liver health in some animal and human studies. However, more research is needed.

Although some herbal treatments may help treat or prevent liver conditions, its critical for anyone interested in using herbal remedies for liver health to speak with a qualified healthcare provider first.

This is because many herbal treatments have been shown to be toxic to the liver and may be dangerous to take, especially for those with liver diseases or other medical conditions (61).

In fact, herbal medicines have been associated with liver damage and even death. Both singular herbs and herbal mixtures have the potential to cause serious damage to your liver (62).

Whats more, herbal supplements can be contaminated with heavy metals, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, and bacteria that can harm your liver (63).

Additionally, many herbs can interact with common medications, which can lead to liver injury and even death (63).

Even though certain herbs may be safe for you to use, many others arent, so you should always check with your healthcare provider before taking any herbal supplement.

Because many herbs can cause liver damage and interact with common medications, you should always check with your healthcare provider before taking any herbal supplement, especially if you have a condition that affects the liver.

Certain herbs have been associated with improved liver health, making them a popular natural remedy choice for those with liver conditions, as well as those who want to support their liver health.

Although some herbal supplements are considered safe and may even treat certain liver diseases, many others can harm liver health.

If you have questions about herbal therapies for liver disease or are interested in taking herbal supplements in hopes of supporting your liver health, always consult a knowledgeable healthcare provider for advice.

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The 10 Best Herbs for Liver Health: Benefits and Precautions - Healthline


Startups are racing to reproduce breast milk in the lab – MIT Technology Review

Saturday, December 19th, 2020

Biomilq was on the brink of shuttering when Strickland and Egger were promised $3.5 million in funding from a group of investors led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures, which Bill Gates had established to back technologies that could reduce carbon emissions. Upending the formula industry held the promise of doing just that. As the spring of 2020 gave way to summer, the money arrived in Biomilqs bank account.

Biomilq is not the only company aiming to make a new kind of baby formula. Using a broadly similar approach, TurtleTree Labs in Singapore eventually hopes to replace all milk currently on the market, according to cofounder Max Rye. In addition to other projects, the company is working to create fortifiers that can be added to formula to duplicate the properties of breast milk. Some formulas are already fortified with proteins and carbohydrates derived synthetically or from cows milk. Another cofounder, Fengru Lin, explains that, in contrast to Biomilq, TurtleTree plans to work with the formula industry and hopes to get its products to market in 2021.

Meanwhile, Helaina, a company based in New York, will emulate breast milk through fermentation. Laura Katz, the companys founder, plans to use microbes to synthesize the milks constituent compoundsproteins, carbohydrates, and fatsand then recombine them into a nutritious liquid. Since similar processes have already won approval from the US Food and Drug Administration for products like Impossible Burgers, which are made from fermented soy protein, she hopes to face fewer regulatory hurdles than her competitors. Like Strickland and Egger, she is motivated by indignation at the lack of options for new parents.

I think the best thing we can do is support women to breastfeed, Katz says. But if thats impossible, mothers deserve something better than current infant formula. She adds, I see all this innovation happening in cell-based meat production for people who just want to eat a burger, but the products that we feed babies have stayed static over the past 20, 30 years.

None of these propositions will be scientifically simple, in part because relatively little is known about breast milk. Most studies of human mammary epithelial cells tend to focus on their role in breast cancer rather than milk production.

As for the milk itself, its a rich and bewildering stew of thousands of chemicals. We know nutritionally about the proteins, the carbohydrates, and the fat in there. We know about some particular bioactive molecules in there, like oligosaccharides [complex sugars that feed healthy bacteria in a babys gut], IgA [the main antibody found in breast milk], bile-salt-stimulated lipase [an enzyme that aids in the digestion of fats]these things that people always bring up as being good in breast milk, says Tarah Colaizy, the research director of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America, who also teaches at the University of Iowa. But, she notes, breast milk also contains short strands of RNA, whose presence was only discovered in 2010, and whose role in infant development is not yet well understood.

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Startups are racing to reproduce breast milk in the lab - MIT Technology Review


The facts about the danger of melanoma – The Hudson Reporter

Saturday, December 19th, 2020

Dr. Faye Yin

Dr. Faye Yin

Melanoma is a serious and life-threatening form of cancer that begins in the skin but can spread rapidly if not treated early. We sat down with board-certified oncologist Dr. Faye Yin, an oncologist at Jersey City Medical Center, to learn more about this disease, its causes and risk factors, and why its important to protect yourself from excessive sun exposure even during the cold winter months.

What are the main risk factors for developing melanoma?

Ultraviolet, or UV, light exposure is the major risk factor. Melanoma is associated with both UVB rays, which are present in sunlight, and UVA rays, which are generated by tanning beds. Other risk factors include the presence of moles on the skin. Most are benign, but those with excessive moles should consult a dermatologist, especially if they observe any changes. Often, a mole will be removed as a precautionary measure. Age is also a risk factor; the older the person, the higher the risk. People with fair skin, freckles, and lighter hair are also more susceptible, which is why melanoma is more common in white and light-skinned people. Other risk factors include family history and the presence of a weakened immune system. Those with xeroderma pigmentosum, or XP, a rare genetic disorder, are particularly at risk because the condition affects the ability of skin cells to repair themselves after UV light exposure.

What should people do if they have any of these risk factors?

As with most risk factors impacting health, there are things you can change, and things you cannot. You cant change your skin color or family history, and you cant avoid getting older. But you can limit your exposure to UV rays. A popular catchphrase that I tell my patients, which has been promoted by the American Cancer Society, is Slip, Slop, Slap, and Wrap. Slip on a shirt, slop on some sunscreen, slap on a hat, and wrap on some sunglasses. I also recommend that people avoid using tanning beds and sun lamps. Teaching children about sun safety is especially important, because they tend to spend more time outdoors and can burn more easily. It is also important for people with risk factors to pay closer attention to their skin. Keep an eye out for abnormal moles or other skin features that appear to be unusual or changing over time, and consult a dermatologist if necessary.

Can sunlight still be dangerous during winter?

Yes whether youre skiing or just going for a walk, it is great to enjoy the sun and being outdoors in the winter, but its just as important to protect yourself from excess sun exposure in winter as it is in summer. Harmful ultraviolet rays are present year-round. They can even filter through dark cloud coverage to reach your skin, increasing your risk of melanoma. Some people may experience a bad sunburn on a winter vacation, especially if they ski in high altitudes, because UV rays are usually more intense in higher regions with a thinner atmosphere. When youre outside, any uncovered areas of your body are exposed to UV rays. So, its important to wear sunscreen even in the winter months.

Is smoking a risk factor for developing melanoma, and if so, is it mostly if youre currently smoking (for instance, what if you smoked for years and stopped?)

As an oncologist, every day I tell my patients: dont smoke! Smoking is a contributing factor for many cancers, and I believe that it also affects overall skin health; I can often look at someones skin and tell whether they smoke. That having been said, we dont have evidence that smoking directly contributes to melanoma. But I always encourage patients not to smoke to stay healthy and minimize their cancer risk.

Why does having a weakened immune system count as a risk factor for melanoma?

Having a weakened immune system increases the risk of melanoma and other cancers. I have worked with many patients whose immune systems have been compromised, either by illness or in some cases due to medical treatment for other conditions. For example, immunosuppressive drugs are used after stem cell and organ transplants, to prevent the body from rejecting the transplant. Certain diseases also compromise the immune system, such as HIV. A weakened immune system increases cancer risk for two reasons. First, because the body has less ability to detect and destroy cancer cells. And secondly, because the body is more susceptible to infections that may lead to cancer.

Is gender a risk factor? If so, do we know why?

In the United States, men typically have a higher rate of melanoma than women, though this varies by age. Before age 50, the risk is higher for women, and after age 50, the risk is higher in men. We believe that this discrepancy relates to the fact that men are likely to spend more time in the sun over the course of their lifetimes. I also think that women are more likely to wear sunscreen than men, so this may play a role. In addition, men tend to have thicker skin with less fat beneath it and more collagen, and some research shows that this can make the skin more susceptible to sunlight damage. Also, some studies have shown that estrogen, which is more prevalent in women, can increase resistance to melanoma.

Are older people at higher risk for melanoma?

The risk of melanoma increases as you age. The average age for a melanoma diagnosis is age 65. But melanoma is not uncommon even among those younger than age 30. In fact, it is one of the most common cancers in young adults, especially young women. Melanoma is also more common in younger people whose families have a history of melanoma.

How does having a family history of having melanoma impact someone?

Family history is definitely a melanoma risk factor; the risk is higher among those who have one or more first-degree relatives who have had melanoma. About 10 percent of people diagnosed with melanoma have a family history. Families tend to have shared lifestyle habits, such as more frequent sun exposure, and in addition they typically have similar skin types and share certain genetic characteristics. You cant change your skin color or your genes, but you can change some factors. If you know that you are higher risk, and have a family history, pay close attention to your skin. Avoid excessive sunlight and tanning beds, and consult a dermatologist if you have concerns.

Why is UV light exposure a risk factor?

Numerous studies have shown that sun and UV light exposure is a major melanoma risk factor, especially for children and teens. Research shows that early sun exposure can damage the DNA in skin cells. Melanocytes are the cells that produce melanin, which gives skin its pigmentation, and damaging these cells can start the path to melanoma. Melanoma commonly occurs on the thighs of women, and on the trunks of men, as well as on arms and faces, which are the areas that most often receive chronic sun exposure in young people. In addition to limiting UV light exposure, people should also examine their own skin at least monthly, especially if there are high risk factors. If you see something unusual, such as a large mole or a spot youre not sure about, I will often encourage patients to take a photograph of it. You might not notice small changes over time because you get accustomed to them. But if you take a picture of a spot on your skin and compare it a month or a few months later, and you see a change, you should see a dermatologist.

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The facts about the danger of melanoma - The Hudson Reporter


And Now, a Moment for Culture(d Meat) – The Spoon

Friday, December 4th, 2020

If youre doing it right, your Thanksgiving leftovers should be gone by now (so many turkey+stuffing+gravy sandwiches!).

Evidently, preparing for Thanksgiving in the middle of a year-long pandemic was a logistical nightmare for BIG TURKEY (Butterball, Perdue, Foster Farms, etc.), thanks to labor shortages and reduced family gatherings.

This got me wondering how long it will be before we see lab-grown, cultured turkey on the tables. Sure, cultured meat still has to overcome issues around scale, affordability and widespread governmental approval. And there are some who doubt whether cultured meat will ever become a thing at all.

But as an industry sector, cultured meats march towards our dinner table continues to make gains. Just this week, Eat Just announced today that it received the worlds first regulatory approval to sell cultured chicken in Singapore. And thats just the latest development capping off what has been a robust year in the cell cultured meat space that has also featured:

And that doesnt even include the Ouroboros Steak art project that designed a kit for creating cell-based human meat. (Relax, its not real.) (We hope.)

While 2020 has been a pretty garbage year for the most part, that just hasnt been the case for cell-based meats. As you can see from the assortment of stories, lot of companies are working on the problem from a lot of different angles, and all of them are making progress.

Now, we wont be serving lab-grown turkey next year (or, presumably the year after that), but watching all these startups innovate on food tech that could help make food production more abundant and equitable is something to be thankful for.

Tetras Tiny Dishwasher (Finally) Headed to Market

Heatworks Tetra countertop dishwasher is an example of a product that I totally dont need and yet totally want.

We first covered the Tetra back at CES 2018, where we were enthralled by the diminutive dishwasher that could clean a few settings of dishes with only a half gallon of water in ten minutes. Fun!

Well, things have been quiet on the Tetra front since that CES and we were wondering if the device would ever actually make it to market. Turns out, the company was trying to solve the complex issue around soap dispensing in its machine.

This week, Heatworks announced that it has partnered with BASF to make that complicated mechanism and bring the Tetra to market. According to the press announcement, the improved Tetra will be designed to deliver custom solutions and dosing, dependent on the selected wash cycle, ensuring each cleaning cycle is optimized. Tetras cartridges will last for multiple loads and consumers will be able to sign up for a subscription, so that cartridges are shipped to them automatically.

That last part about a proprietary soap cartridge is a bit of a bummer. Were not a big fan of Keurig-style solutions that lock you into a particular ecosystem. But we are happy to see that the Tetra is still alive and expected to be available in the back half of 2021.

More Headlines

Exclusive: Blendid and Jamba Co-Brand New Smoothie Robot The robot is now open for business at a Walmart in Dixon, California. This is the first co-branded robot from Blendid and its second to open up at a Walmart.

Zuul Teams Up With Thrillist to Launch Rotating Ghost Kitchen A series of 10 different NYC restaurants will each hold a two-week residency offering exclusive delivery-only meal offerings made out of Zuuls ghost kitchen facility in Manhattans SoHo neighborhood.

The Spoons Plant-Based Egg Round-Up Plant-based eggs are poised to become the next big thing in the plant-based space, and it can be hard to keep up with all of the companies involved in this industry. Weve pulled together some of the emerging and bigger players in this space.

3D Meat Printing Startup SavorEat Goes Public The Israeli startup has had an initial public offering (IPO) on Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE), raising NIS 42.6 million ($13 million) in funding.

HungryPanda Raises $70M to Provide Food Delivery to Overseas Chinese Customers The London, U.K.-based company will use the new funds to continue its global expansion, delivering authentic Chinese restaurant food and groceries to Chinese people living abroad.


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And Now, a Moment for Culture(d Meat) - The Spoon


How to live longer: Calorie restriction may reset your biological body clock – Express

Friday, December 4th, 2020

A calorie restricted diet generally consists of eating a very low-calorie but nutritionally balanced diet that meets 100 percent of vitamin, mineral, protein and essential fat needs, according to Harvard Health.

The link between calorie restriction and longevity has been established across many species.

In a study published in Nature Communications, researchers found that monkeys who ate a 30 percent calorie restricted diet lived longer than those on a regular diet.

Six of the 20 monkeys on a calorie restricted diet have lived beyond 40 years.

READ MORE:How to live longer: Diet shown to burn fat, improve heart health and to boost longevity

However, Duke researchers mounted this hurdle by looking at measures of biological age.

In a study published earlier this year in The Journals of Gerontology: Series A, researchers divided volunteers into two groups a calorie restriction group and a regular diet group.

The calorie restriction group aimed to cut their caloric intake by 25 percent although by the end of the two-year study they had only achieved a 12 percent reduction.

After each one-year period, the biological age of people in the calorie restriction group increased by 0.11 years, compared with 0.71 years for people who stuck with their usual diets.

Researchers calculated biological age using chronological age and biomarkers for things such as cardiovascular and immune system function, total cholesterol, and haemoglobin levels.

However, researchers only followed people for two years - whether these benefits continue after this point, and at what level, is unknown.

It is unclear exactly why calorie restriction increases the lifespan of many species.

The somewhat limited evidence that does exist suggests it involves resetting the bodys biological clock.

This clock is more usefully understood as a set of genes that change activity in order to sync with the cycle of day and night.

In a recent study published in the journal Cell, researchers found that the biological clock activated different genes in liver cells of older mice, compared with younger ones. As a result, cells in older mice processed energy inefficiently.

However, when researchers cut the calorie intake for older mice by 30 percent for six months, the energy processing in the cells resembled that of young mice.

A second research group, in another study published in Cell, saw a similar reboot of the biologic clock of stem cells in older mice fed a calorie-restricted diet.

Continued here:
How to live longer: Calorie restriction may reset your biological body clock - Express


Future Meat is cutting costs on mass production with an unlikely cellular approach – The Spoon

Monday, November 30th, 2020

Founded in 2018, Future Meat stayed under the radar until last fall when their Series A funding round raised $14 millionincluding a sizable investment from Tyson Ventures. Now, just two years in, theIsraeli start-up is expecting a major scale up in early 2021 and is optimistic about being among the first to gain FDA approval thanks to an uncommon cellular approach.

Commercial scale has been Future Meats priority from the start. We know we can [culture meat]. The question is how much will it cost, said Yaakov Nahmias, Future Meat Chief Scientific Officer told me in an interview earlier this month. Do you really want to make a $25,000 steak?

Key to its plan to ramp up biomass and cut costs, is a unique choice of starter cells. While most cultured meat start-ups rely on some form of stem or muscle cell, the basic building block of Future Meats products is the cell-type that makes up your connective tissue: fibroblasts.

These are the cells that every time you get cut, they close that cut very fast, according to Nahmias, who developed the fibroblast technology in his university lab.

Stem cells are a popular candidate for cell culture because they can become any type of cell, but growing and maintaining them is very expensive, Nahimas said. Theyre what we call phenotypically unstable. Meaning, stem cells dont stay stem cells for long. In nature, theyre meant to be stem cells for a day or less before transforming into another cell type. To harness their potential or stabilize stem cells, many start-ups rely on gene editing, a method that Future Meat is avoiding.

Fibroblasts, on the other hand, are phenotypically stable making them less volatile and easier to grow in mass quantities. And Future Meat has an extensive patent portfolio protecting the way they growand direct these fibroblasts. They can accelerate a natural process called spontaneous immortalization where the cells DNA rearranges so that it can divide forever. And by adding some food grade molecules to the cellular medium they can pressure the fibroblast to become fat cells or muscle cells, Nahmias said.

Another key advantage of these connective tissue cells is that Future Meat can grow them in suspension, they dont require surfaces to cling to. Many other mammalian cells, like muscle cells (myocytes), need something to hold on to, a sort of scaffolding, when cultured. Culturing in suspension means no need for scaffolding and it significantly increases the biomass that can be cultivated in a single bioreactor.According to Kate Krueger, alternative protein consultant at Helikon Consulting, Suspension cell culture has a lot of promise in reducing cost of manufacture.

Today, Future Meat bioreactor systems can reach yields of 33 percent, converting a third of their volume to mass every two weeks. Its possible to grow the mass of 100 chickens every two weeks in a bioreactor the size of a standard refrigerator, Nahmias said. Theyre also working on a hybrid product, a combination of plant protein and bioreactor-grown fat cells that they can produce at two tons per week. By the second quarter of next year they expect peak capacity to increase to half a ton every two weeks and for that to triple again by the end of 2021.

For now Future Meat is all about getting to scale, market and a reasonable price point to validate their process and prove their tech. But the end-game for Future Meat is about developing a platformthink of it as the AWS of cultured meat. And the target customer isnt just a new meat industry, its the old one.

The idea is to integrate their technology into the existing supply chain. Even individual farmers looking to diversify could include a bioreactor as part of their operations, Nahmias said. But he expects involvement from meat and ingredient giants like Tyson and Cargill will be what finally catapults cultured meat into the mainstream. Future Meats game plan is to have the approved and affordable tech ready and waiting. Because once it happens, he said, its going to move quickly.


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Future Meat is cutting costs on mass production with an unlikely cellular approach - The Spoon


BioRestorative Therapies Emerges from Chapter 11 Reorganization – OrthoSpineNews

Wednesday, November 25th, 2020

MELVILLE, N.Y., Nov. 20, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) BioRestorative Therapies, Inc. (BioRestorative or the Company) (OTC: BRTX), a life sciences company focused on stem cell-based therapies, announced today that its amended joint plan of reorganization has become effective and it has emerged from Chapter 11 reorganization. Pursuant to the confirmed plan of reorganization, the Company has received $3,848,000 in financing. The confirmed plan of reorganization also provides for additional funding, subject to certain conditions, of $3,500,000 less the sum of the debtor-in-possession financing provided to the Company during the reorganization (approximately $1,227,000) and the costs incurred by the debtor-in-possession lender.

In connection with the reorganization, Lance Alstodt has been appointed the Companys President, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board. Mr. Alstodt said, This process has been a long and challenging journey for the Company. Im inspired by the great resolve and execution from our employees, professionals and investors. We are very pleased that all requirements have been met for us to emerge. Allowed creditor claims have been fully satisfied and, as importantly, our equity holders have retained their shares in this exciting new opportunity. We were able to preserve all of our intellectual property assets and look forward to initiating our Phase 2 clinical trial.

Based upon the Companys emergence from Chapter 11 reorganization, FINRA has removed the Q at the end of its trading symbol. Shareholders do not need to exchange their shares for new shares.

About BioRestorative Therapies, Inc.

BioRestorative Therapies, Inc. ( develops therapeutic products using cell and tissue protocols, primarily involving adult stem cells. Our two core programs, as described below, relate to the treatment of disc/spine disease and metabolic disorders:

Disc/Spine Program (brtxDISC): Our lead cell therapy candidate,BRTX-100,is a product formulated from autologous (or a persons own) cultured mesenchymal stem cells collected from the patients bone marrow. We intend that the product will be used for the non-surgical treatment of painful lumbosacral disc disorders. TheBRTX-100production process utilizes proprietary technology and involves collecting a patients bone marrow, isolating and culturing stem cells from the bone marrow and cryopreserving the cells. In an outpatient procedure,BRTX-100is to be injected by a physician into the patients damaged disc. The treatment is intended for patients whose pain has not been alleviated by non-invasive procedures and who potentially face the prospect of surgery. We have received authorization from the Food and Drug Administration to commence a Phase 2 clinical trial usingBRTX-100to treat persistent lower back pain due to painful degenerative discs.

Metabolic Program (ThermoStem): We are developing a cell-based therapy to target obesity and metabolic disorders using brown adipose (fat) derived stem cells to generate brown adipose tissue (BAT). BAT is intended to mimic naturally occurring brown adipose depots that regulate metabolic homeostasis in humans. Initial preclinical research indicates that increased amounts of brown fat in the body may be responsible for additional caloric burning as well as reduced glucose and lipid levels. Researchers have found that people with higher levels of brown fat may have a reduced risk for obesity and diabetes.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release containsforward-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, and such forward-looking statements are made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. You are cautioned that such statements are subject to a multitude of risks and uncertainties that could cause future circumstances, events or results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements as a result of various factors and other risks, including, without limitation, those set forth in the Companys latest Form 10-K filedwith the Securities and Exchange Commission. You should consider these factors in evaluating the forward-looking statements included herein, and not place undue reliance on such statements. The forward-looking statements in this release are made as of the date hereof and the Company undertakes no obligation to update such statements.


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BioRestorative Therapies Emerges from Chapter 11 Reorganization - OrthoSpineNews


The Adipose Tissue Derived Stem Cells market to grow in the wake of incorporation of the latest technology – The Think Curiouser

Saturday, November 7th, 2020

Adipose tissue is rich in multi potent stem cells that have the capability to differentiate into a number of cell types including adipocytes, osteocytes, chondrocytes and others, in vitro. These Adipose Tissue-derived Stem Cells are used for a number of applications including stem cell differentiation studies, regenerative medicine, cell therapy, tissue engineering and development of induced pluripotent stem cell lineage. Adult stem cells such as the Adipose Tissue-derived Stem Cells have a very good potential for regenerative medicine. The Adipose Tissue-derived Stem Cells show higher yields compared with other stem cell sources. Some of the regenerative medicine applications using Adipose Tissue-derived Stem Cells include skin, bone and cartilage regeneration.

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Although, Adipose Tissue-derived Stem Cells have the ability to differentiate into different cell types in vitro, unlike the embryonic stem cells they lack the ability to differentiate into all types of organs and tissues of the body. Derivation of stem cells from adipose tissue have a number of advantages including that fat tissue contain 100 to 1000 times more mesenchymal stem cells than the bone marrow. Furthermore the method of collection of fat tissue is relatively easier and is less invasive than that of bone marrow collection. Although Adipose Tissue-derived Stem Cells have a potential to be used in cell-based therapy, there are a number of challenges the Adipose Tissue-derived Stem Cells market has to face. Some of the challenge include the safety issue for the clinical use of Adipose Tissue-derived Stem Cells, development and differentiation of the cells, delivery of the cells in vivo and immune response after the transplant.

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The global Adipose Tissue-derived Stem Cells market is segmented based on product type and end user. Based on product type the Adipose Tissue-derived Stem Cells can be categorized into cell line and reagent & kits. Cell line can be further classified based on the source of the adipose tissue such as human and rodents. Based on reagents the Adipose Tissue-derived Stem Cells market is further classified as media & sera and kits. Based on application the Adipose Tissue-derived Stem Cells market is classified into regenerative medicine, cell therapy, tissue engineering, and other applications such as cell differentiation studies and other similar research. End users of Adipose Tissue-derived Stem Cells market are biotechnology companies and academic and research institutes.

The Global Adipose Tissue-derived Stem Cells market is classified on the basis of product type, end user and region:

Based on the Product Type, Adipose Tissue-derived Stem Cells market is segmented into following:

Based on the application, Adipose Tissue-derived Stem Cells market is segmented into following:

Based on the end user, Adipose Tissue-derived Stem Cells market is segment as below:

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Growing research activities using stem cells along with the growth of regenerative medicine and cell therapy the global Adipose Tissue-derived Stem Cells market is set to expand considerably during the forecast period. However, ethical concerns and stringent regulations may hinder the growth of the global Adipose Tissue-derived Stem Cells market.

On the basis of geography, global Adipose Tissue-derived Stem Cells market is segmented into six major regions that include North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia-Pacific excluding China, China and Middle East & Africa. North America is expected to be the most lucrative Adipose Tissue-derived Stem Cells market owing to increased research activity of stem cells. Furthermore government support for regenerative and stem cell based studies along with cell therapy studies is driving the growth of the Adipose Tissue-derived Stem Cells market in the region. Changing government regulations in china is supporting the research activity that supports the growth of the adipose tissue-derived stem cell market in the region at a considerable rate.

Key participants operating in the Adipose Tissue-derived Stem Cells market are: Lonza, ThermoFisher Scientific, Celprogen, Inc, American CryoStem, Rexgenero Ltd, iXCells Biotechnologies, Merck KGaA, Lifeline Cell Technology, and others.

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The Adipose Tissue Derived Stem Cells market to grow in the wake of incorporation of the latest technology - The Think Curiouser


Global Cell Therapy Technologies, Competitive Landscape & Markets, 2019-2020 & Forecast to 2029 – – Yahoo Finance

Saturday, November 7th, 2020

The "Cell Therapy - Technologies, Markets and Companies" report from Jain PharmaBiotech has been added to's offering.

The cell-based markets was analyzed for 2019, and projected to 2029. The markets are analyzed according to therapeutic categories, technologies and geographical areas. The largest expansion will be in diseases of the central nervous system, cancer and cardiovascular disorders. Skin and soft tissue repair, as well as diabetes mellitus, will be other major markets.

This report describes and evaluates cell therapy technologies and methods, which have already started to play an important role in the practice of medicine. Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation is replacing the old fashioned bone marrow transplants. The role of cells in drug discovery is also described. Cell therapy is bound to become a part of medical practice.

Stem cells are discussed in detail in one chapter. Some light is thrown on the current controversy of embryonic sources of stem cells and comparison with adult sources. Other sources of stem cells such as the placenta, cord blood and fat removed by liposuction are also discussed. Stem cells can also be genetically modified prior to transplantation.

Cell therapy technologies overlap with those of gene therapy, cancer vaccines, drug delivery, tissue engineering, and regenerative medicine. Pharmaceutical applications of stem cells including those in drug discovery are also described. Various types of cells used, methods of preparation and culture, encapsulation, and genetic engineering of cells are discussed. Sources of cells, both human and animal (xenotransplantation) are discussed. Methods of delivery of cell therapy range from injections to surgical implantation using special devices.

Cell therapy has applications in a large number of disorders. The most important are diseases of the nervous system and cancer which are the topics for separate chapters. Other applications include cardiac disorders (myocardial infarction and heart failure), diabetes mellitus, diseases of bones and joints, genetic disorders, and wounds of the skin and soft tissues.

Story continues

Regulatory and ethical issues involving cell therapy are important and are discussed. The current political debate on the use of stem cells from embryonic sources (hESCs) is also presented. Safety is an essential consideration of any new therapy and regulations for cell therapy are those for biological preparations.

The number of companies involved in cell therapy has increased remarkably during the past few years. More than 500 companies have been identified to be involved in cell therapy and 316 of these are profiled in part II of the report along with tabulation of 306 alliances. Of these companies, 171 are involved in stem cells.

Profiles of 73 academic institutions in the US involved in cell therapy are also included in part II along with their commercial collaborations. The text is supplemented with 67 Tables and 26 Figures. The bibliography contains 1,200 selected references, which are cited in the text.

Key Topics Covered:

Part I: Technologies, Ethics & Regulations

0. Executive Summary

1. Introduction to Cell Therapy

2. Cell Therapy Technologies

3. Stem Cells

4. Clinical Applications of Cell Therapy

5. Cell Therapy for Cardiovascular Disorders

6. Cell Therapy for Cancer

7. Cell Therapy for Neurological Disorders

8. Ethical, Legal and Political Aspects of Cell therapy

9. Safety and Regulatory Aspects of Cell Therapy

Part II: Markets, Companies & Academic Institutions

10. Markets and Future Prospects for Cell Therapy

11. Companies Involved in Cell Therapy

12. Academic Institutions

13. References

For more information about this report visit

Source: Jain PharmaBiotech

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ResearchAndMarkets.comLaura Wood, Senior Press For E.S.T Office Hours Call 1-917-300-0470For U.S./CAN Toll Free Call 1-800-526-8630For GMT Office Hours Call +353-1-416-8900

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Global Cell Therapy Technologies, Competitive Landscape & Markets, 2019-2020 & Forecast to 2029 - - Yahoo Finance


Blocking energy pathway reduces GVHD while retaining anti-cancer effects of T-cells – Science Codex

Saturday, November 7th, 2020

MUSC Hollings Cancer Center researchers identified that blocking an alternative energy pathway for T-cells after hematopoietic stem cell transplant helps reduce graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) in an animal model of leukemia.

Xue-Zhong Yu, M.D., who also is associate director of Basic Science at Hollings, and collaborators at the Indiana University School of Medicine discovered that donor T-cells must have the key enzyme lysosomal acid lipase in order to induce GVHD.

The Yu laboratory focuses on understanding the biological balance between GVHD and graft-versus-leukemia effect. Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation is used as a treatment option for some leukemia patients. T-cells in stem cell grafts from a donor are given to a leukemia patient in order to kill the cancer and reboot the patient's immune system. GVHD is a big clinical challenge because the donor T-cells, which come from the bone marrow, can attack the patient's organs. Anywhere from 30% to 70% of patients develop acute GVHD after allogeneic bone marrow transplant and 15% die.

"When we deal with hematopoietic cell transplant, it is an important balance - blocking GVHD while still allowing T-cells to do their job and control the cancer," Yu said.

Each cell in our body has its own metabolic process. Cells convert the food that is eaten into energy in order to perform their intended functions. However, cellular metabolism is often altered in various diseases. Yu researches T-cell metabolism in order to understand the balance between graft-versus-host and graft-versus-leukemia responses.

Most cells in our body require oxygen to create energy efficiently. However, this research focused on lipid, or fat, metabolism. T-cells have special metabolic processes: Sometimes they multiply so rapidly that they need an extra source of energy from free fatty acids.

Lysosomal acid lipase is an enzyme that breaks the large lipids and cholesterol into individual free fatty acid building blocks. If that enzyme is missing, there are not enough free fatty acids for energy production. This changes the T-cell metabolism, which in turn changes T-cell function.

Clinically, broad spectrum immunosuppression drugs (steroids and rapamycin) are still used as the first line of care in patients with severe GVHD. However, Yu and collaborators hypothesized that changing T-cell metabolism could reduce GVHD after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.

"We know that the gut is the primary organ affected by GVHD. Since the gut has less oxygen, the T-cells rely on free fatty acids and must use lysosomal acid lipase. We thought if we could remove or block the activity of that, we could reduce GVHD in the gut."

The Yu Laboratory collaborated with the Indiana University School of Medicine and used a lysosomal acid lipase-deficient mouse model. T-cells lacking lysosomal acid lipase were given to mice with leukemia. As a control, T-cells with lysosomal acid lipase from normal mice were given to another group of leukemia mice. Strikingly, the mice that received the T-cells without lysosomal acid lipase did not get severe GVHD. Additionally, the T-cells from the donor lysosomal acid lipase-deficient bone marrow still killed the leukemia cells.

To increase the clinical translational potential of the work, orlistat, the FDA-approved lysosomal acid lipase inhibitor was also tested in the leukemia model. Mice with leukemia were treated with orlistat every other day after receiving bone marrow from normal mouse donors. Similar to the first experiment with the lysosomal acid lipase-deficient bone marrow, blocking the activity of lysosomal acid lipase with orlistat greatly reduced GVHD while the graft-versus-leukemia effect was preserved.

Additionally, the researchers discovered that inhibiting the lysosomal acid lipase enzyme with orlistat reduced the number of pathogenic T-cells and increased the number of regulatory T-cells. The pathogenic T-cells are the ones that cause GVHD. Regulatory T-cells are one of the "braking mechanisms" of the immune system. They help to reduce the activity of the pathogenic T-cells and prevent GVHD damage.

Therefore, blocking lysosomal acid lipase activity with orlistat preferentially stopped the donor T-cells from damaging the gut but allowed the T-cells to function during circulation and kill the leukemia cells.

The researchers' future plan is to look deeper at the biological mechanisms. For example, it is not clear how the loss or inhibition of lysosomal acid lipase affects the other metabolites in T-cells. To move this finding closer to the clinic, Yu explained that human cells can be used in a special mouse model that recreates the human immune environment.

"Looking at the immune cells in the gut was technically challenging. However, the results were exciting because our hypothesis was validated. These results encourage us to continue studying this in order to provide better treatment options to patients."

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Blocking energy pathway reduces GVHD while retaining anti-cancer effects of T-cells - Science Codex


Singapore startup Shiok Meats re-creates shrimp in the lab – Los Angeles Times

Saturday, October 10th, 2020

In an industrial corner of Singapore, multiplying steadily in bioreactors heated precisely to 82 degrees, real shrimp meat is being grown from samples of the crustaceans microscopic cells.

Fed a nutrient-rich soup meant to mimic its diet in the wild, a single cell can reproduce over a trillion times into a mound of gray translucent flesh. Think of it as meat growing without all the other parts of the animal, including that chalky black vein.

The venture is being led by Sandhya Sriram and a team of scientists, who are attempting to upend one of the cornerstones of dim sum. Srirams company, Shiok Meats, is named after Singaporean slang used to declare something delicious.

Similar work is being done across the world at other startups and research labs to grow beef, pork, chicken and high-end specialty products such as bluefin tuna and foie gras, but Srirams company is the only one known to be focused on re-creating shrimp, a staple in many Asian dishes.

Shioks finished product this reporter was unable to try it because no outsiders are allowed to visit its headquarters during the pandemic possesses the texture of ground shrimp and has already been tested to make shumai, the Cantonese dim sum mainstay with the yellow dumpling wrapper. But its applications are potentially manifold in Chinese-centric cuisine.

Shrimp shumai made with lab-grown shrimp from Shiok Meats.

(Shiok Meats)

You could layer a dollop of it over a raft of tofu, steam it and douse it with a slightly sweeter soy sauce. It could be squeezed out of a piping bag into a simmering hot pot broth. And it might be the kind of thing youd want to roll into balls, bread and deep-fry.

Eventually Sriram, who cofounded the company two years ago, would like to move beyond ground shrimp meat to produce crab, lobster and a structured deshelled shrimp, one convincing enough to hang off the edge of a glass filled with cocktail sauce.

We can 3-D print the tail if you want, she said.

Singapore has emerged as a leading player in the budding technology once derided as Frankenmeat after Dutch researcher Mark Post unveiled the first test-tube burger to a panel of food critics at a news conference in London seven years ago.

Researchers have been able to drive down the price of the meat, which is called cell cultured meat or clean meat, from the nearly $300,000 it cost to produce Posts debut patty though not enough to actually sell it to the public yet. Shioks shumai, for example, cost $300 apiece.

In whats been described as an edible space race, at least 55 companies worldwide are now involved in developing some variety of cell cultured meat, according to the Good Food Institute, a Washington-based nonprofit advocating alternatives to animal agriculture.

That includes one in Hong Kong that re-creates fish maw or bladder, a delicacy often used in soups; an Australian startup thats growing kangaroo meat; and a company in China thats looking to re-create pork in a country where rising demand for meat will test the limits of the worlds supply. Last year, an Israeli startup successfully grew cow muscle tissue on the International Space Station.

The sciences emergence has provoked existential questions about the provenance of meat, prompting vegans to contemplate whether the technology represents a sort of loophole if it doesnt harm animals, and Jewish and Muslim religious leaders to ponder if the lab-grown pork could be deemed kosher or halal.

Eventually, the technology could allow for novel kinds of meat to be made, presenting chefs with unusual possibilities.

Imagine when you can tailor the taste of any piece of meat, said Ryan Bethencourt, the San Francisco-based cofounder of biotech accelerator IndieBio, who provided Shiok with its initial seed funding. What does pork with salmon fat taste like? What does a mix between Wagyu beef and other heritage beef steak lines taste like? What about meat that tastes both sweet and sour?

Inside the lab at Singapore-based Shiok Meats, where theyre growing shrimp.

(Shiok Meats)

Investors are pouring hundreds of millions into the industry, inspired by the success of plant-based meat companies Beyond Meat and Impossible, which helped demystify alternatives to eating farm animals for a far wider audience than previously thought possible.

Financial backers in the burgeoning field also include giants in the conventional meat industry such as Tyson, Cargill and Bell Food Group. Bill Gates, Richard Branson and Li Ka-shing, one of Hong Kongs richest tycoons, are betting on the meats success as are massive investment funds such as SoftBank and the Singapore governments Temasak.

Cell cultured burgers, chicken tenders and other breakthroughs are still a year or more away from landing in restaurants and grocery stores, experts say, but current events have heightened the urgency to develop more choices for meat.

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed flaws in the conventional meat industry after workers at processing plants in the U.S. and Europe suffered massive outbreaks of the disease and the industrys supply chain buckled under the crisis, leading to shortages, price hikes and purchasing limits.

Critics of conventional meat say the virus provides one more reason to turn away from an industry that has wreaked havoc on the natural environment, served as a vector for infectious diseases like salmonella and E. coli and, through its rampant use of antibiotics on crowded and inhumane factory farms, undermined human health.

But its not entirely clear whether cell cultured meat is safer and healthier. Companies are loathe to share data, choosing instead to operate in secretive silos to protect their intellectual property. Shiok denied a request to view or taste-test its raw product for this story, citing a pending patent. Bethencourt later provided The Times with video of the companys lab-grown shrimp cells under a microscope.

Theyve achieved their objective of making scalable cell-based shrimp, he said.

The environmental benefits of clean meat could be significant. The Good Food Institute estimates cell cultured beef will cut the amount of land used by cattle to produce regular beef by 95% and the amount of emissions by at least 74%.

That could certainly win converts, but its how the meat tastes and feels that will ultimately determine the industrys success.

Not all companies who make this are created equal, said Chase Purdy, an expert on cultured meat and author of Billion Dollar Burger: Inside Big Techs Race for the Future of Food.

Purdy tasted lab-grown foie gras, duck chorizo and ground beef but nothing impressed him more than a chicken tender made by Berkeleys Memphis Meats, with strands of muscle that peeled apart with startling authenticity.

Its really hard to get cells to grow in that linear, structured way, Purdy said.

That might be the exception. Anyone hoping for a facsimile of a dry-aged Porterhouse steak or a loin of Berkshire pork crowned with a sheet of crackling might have to make do with ground meat much easier to replicate for tacos, pasta sauces and burgers for some time.

Re-creating recognizable butcher cuts with complex layers of muscles and fat (think of the patchwork of beef chuck or the mosaic of fat and muscle on the rim of a rib-eye) remains the elusive grail for the industry one thats being tackled by several companies.

Were still at the prototype stage, showing proof of concept and proof of value, said William Chen, the Michael Fam Chair professor and director of food science and technology at Nanyang Technological University Singapore, which is working on growing steak. Think of it as a car. Were able to make a basic sedan. But to make beef steak, we need to build a racing car.

The simplicity of shrimp is what drew Sriram, 35, to the crustacean, which unlike beef, pork or chicken comprises one uniform muscle.

From left, Shiok Meats CTO Ka Yi Ling and CEO Sandhya Sriram.

(Shiok Meats)

Being in Asia was also a plus. Shioks own surveys, and at least one study, suggest Asians are more willing to try novel foods like clean meat than people in the West.

A stem-cell biologist born in India and raised in the Middle East before moving to Singapore, Sriram was thrilled when she realized cell cultured shellfish was an open field.

Asia consumes three-quarters of the worlds supply of shrimp. And the industrys notorious practices, which include slave labor, pollution and the overuse of antibiotics, convinced Sriram there would be a market for an alternative.

Shiok was founded by Sriram and fellow scientist Ka Yi Ling, 32. The pair initially struggled to find private lab space to rent, settling briefly at a marine institute on a mostly secluded island that required careful adherence to a ferry schedule, lest they wanted to stay a night alone on the eerie redoubt.

By 2019, the pair had moved out and developed a prototype that required Sriram, a vegetarian, to eat shrimp for the first time so that she could compare the two.

I could definitely smell and taste the ocean, she said of the creation.

Driving down costs remains the biggest hurdle. Shioks proto-shrimp costs $5,000 a kilogram, which is about $2,268 a pound, mostly due to the price of the nutrient fluids needed to feed the cells. Access to more affordable nutrients has reduced the cost of Shioks meat to $3,500 a kilogram, or about $1,588 a pound. The goal is to make Shioks shrimp 100 times cheaper by the first half of next year.

Unlike the U.S., Singapore has developed regulations for the sale of cultured meat.

The tiny Southeast Asian country, whose entire width is the distance between Burbank and El Segundo, has supported the technology with tax breaks and grants to bolster a government campaign to break the countrys near-total reliance on imported food by 2030.

Singapore is doing more of its own investing and is the most receptive from a regulatory angle to greenlighting this to go to market first, Purdy said. It will likely be a restaurant in Singapore that serves this up to consumers for the first time in history.

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Singapore startup Shiok Meats re-creates shrimp in the lab - Los Angeles Times


Aqua-Spark Announces an Investment in Singapore-based Shiok Meats, the First Cell-Based Company to Produce Clean, Sustainable, Cruelty-Free Shrimp and…

Tuesday, October 6th, 2020

New York, NY Aqua-Spark(the Fund), the first investment fund focused on sustainable aquaculture, announced an investment inShiok Meats(Shiok), the worlds first cell-based crustacean meat company based in Singapore. Shiok is the first cell-based meat company in South East Asia, and the first and only cell-based meat company working on shrimp. Their flagship product is a highly-anticipated cell-based shrimp, which offers clean, traceable alternatives to the shrimp farming industry.

Aqua-Spark is the lead investor in Shiok Meats $12.6M Series A round, which also includes investments from SEEDS Capital (the investment arm of Enterprise Singapore), Real Tech Fund (Japan), Irongrey (a Global tech investing family office based in Korea), Yellowdog Empowers Fund (South Korea), Ilshin Holdings Pte. Ltd (Singapore), Toyo Seikan Group Holdings, Ltd (Japan),Veg Invest Trust (USA), Makana Ventures (Singapore), AiiM Partners LP (USA), Beyond Impact (Europe), Kelvin Chan Siang Lin (Singapore), and Alex Payne and Nicole Brodeur (USA). The funds will contribute towards building the first-of-its-kind commercial pilot plant from which Shiok plans to launch its minced shrimp product in 2022. This puts Shiok on schedule to become the first company in the world to have a fully functioning commercial pilot plant for cell-based crustacean production.

Mike Velings and Amy Novogratz, co-founders of Aqua-Spark:

The cell-based animal protein industry has been on our radar for some time as once it is at scale it will have an enormous influence on food production efficiency, food safety, and the environment. As our first investment in cell-based seafood, Shiok Meats immediately stood out to us with their strong, female-led team and impressive milestones to-date. While weve invested in a number of technologies working to make shrimp farming more efficient, healthier, and less polluting, Shiok is the first company in our portfolio to focus on shrimp production. We are excited to help shape this novel and innovative industry, which we expect to have a huge impact on the future of seafood, while continuing to support sustainable aquaculture operations, inputs, and innovations across the value chain.

The shrimp market is a $50 billion market globally with Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, and India being the major producers of shrimp. While there are many farms and technologies improving shrimp farming, there is still work to be done. Much of what is currently on the market is raised in crowded factories/farms and treated with antibiotics, chemicals, and hormones. Conventional production processes often contribute to overfishing, excessive bycatch, misrepresentation, and mislabeling as well as contamination with effluents, heavy metals, and microplastics. This form of production is unsustainable and the sector strain will only increase as the population grows. Shiok is addressing this need and disrupting crustacean production to ensure people can eat clean shrimp, crab and lobster from a safe source. Clean meat production could reduce the industrys greenhouse gas emissions by 96 percent, energy consumption by 45 percent, land use by 99 percent, and water consumption by 96 percent.

Shiok Meats was founded in August 2018 by two stem cell scientists, Dr. Sandhya Sriram and Dr. Ka Yi Ling, with over 20 years of combined experience in the muscle, fat, and stem cell biology fields. Shioks mission is to produce clean, healthy, cruelty-free seafood. Their cell-based production process is non-GMO and chemical and antibiotic-free.

Dr. Sandhya Sriram, CEO and co-founder of Shiok Meats:

We are extremely excited to work in partnership with Aqua-Spark as we develop cell-based seafood and meats that are contributing towards a cleaner and healthier seafood industry and solving for the inefficiencies around global protein production. Aqua-Spark was the perfect partner to lead our Series A because they care deeply about funding companies that address planetary health and food security. With their help, we hope to become the global leader in cell-based crustaceans and seafood. We are pleased that Aqua-Spark supports our global impact vision and will be with us for the long haul.

Shiok stands out from other cell-based meat production companies because of their proprietary technology that isolates stem cells from shrimp, lobster, and crabthey are the first company to be able to do this for cell-based production at the moment. Once the stem cells are harvested, the shrimp, lobster, and crab meats are grown in nutrient-rich conditions, similar to that of a greenhouse. After four-to-six weeks, the cell-based seafood is exactly the same as its conventional counterpart but more sustainable, clean, and nutritious. Shioks patent-pending technology can grow crustaceans four times faster than conventional production.

The output of Shioks pilot plant will be frozen cell-based shrimp meat for dumplings and other shrimp-based dishes. Beyond cell-based shrimp, Shiok plans to launch shrimp flavouring paste and powder, fully-formed 3D shrimp, and cell-based lobster and crab products in the coming years.

To date, Aqua-Spark has now invested in 20 complementary companies, technologies, and inputs that are working toward the sustainable production of aquatic life.

About Aqua-Spark

Launched in 2011, Aqua-Spark is an investment fund with a mission to transform the global aquaculture industry into one that is healthier, more sustainable, and more accessible. They invest in aquaculture companies across the value chainspanning farming operations, alternative feed ingredients, disease-battling technology, and consumer-facing aquaculture products. These companies are solving some of the industrys big challenges while bringing returns that are comparable to todays traditional industry. The portfolio works as an ecosystem, with the companies agreeing to collaborate on optimal solutions, and working together toward this shared vision of a more efficient global aquaculture industry.

Since 2015, the fund has invested in 20 complementary SMEs. Thus far, Aqua-Spark has EUR 152 million in assets under management, dedicated to investments in elements of the aquaculture industry that will make fish farming sustainable. The goal of the fund is to ultimately make sustainability widespread and profitable enough that it becomes the only way to farm fish.

About Shiok Meats

Shiok Meats is a cell-based, clean meat company. It is the first of its kind in Singapore and South-East Asia with a mission to deliver delicious, clean, and healthy seafood by harvesting from cells instead of animals. Shiok Meats is working to bring cell-based crustacean meats (shrimp, crab, lobster) to the kitchen. Their meats are cruelty-free, healthy, and better for the environment with the same taste and texture and more nutrients than their traditional counterparts.

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Aqua-Spark Announces an Investment in Singapore-based Shiok Meats, the First Cell-Based Company to Produce Clean, Sustainable, Cruelty-Free Shrimp and...


Orgenesis to acquire regenerative medicine company Koligo Therapeutics – Pharmaceutical Business Review

Wednesday, September 30th, 2020

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}});}//last child levelfunction get_lastchildlevelmenu(currentid){var $currentelement = $('#'+currentid);$('.menu-item-'+$('#'+currentid).closest('.themegamenu').attr('cid').split('-')[3]).removeClass('defaultajax-1');var $data_menu = $currentelement.closest('li').attr('data-menu'); var submenu = $data_menu.split('-'); var data_menu_class=submenu[0];var $ajax_data_menu = $currentelement.closest('li').attr('data-ajax'); var ajax_submenu = $ajax_data_menu.split('-'); var ajax_data_menu_class=ajax_submenu[0]+'-'+ajax_submenu[1];var ajaxreplaceContent = $('#'+currentid).closest('.themegamenu').data('megamenu')+'-articles';$('.megamenuthird[data-menu=' + ajaxreplaceContent + ']').empty();$('.megamenuthird').removeClass('megamenuthird-show');$('.megamenuthird[data-menu=' + $data_menu + ']').addClass('megamenuthird-show');$('li.level_4').removeClass('activeli');$currentelement.closest('li').addClass('activeli');var title = $currentelement.html();var subofSubChildLevel_cat_id=$currentelement.closest('li').data("cat");var subofSubChildLevel_taxnomy_type = $currentelement.closest('li').data("type");var subofSubChildLevel_title = $currentelement.closest('li').find('li.level_4.activeli>a').html();var subChildLevel_cat_id=$('.megamenusecond[data-menu='+ajax_data_menu_class+']').find('li.level_3.activeli').data('cat');var subChildLevel_data_menu=$('.megamenusecond[data-menu='+ajax_data_menu_class+']').find('li.level_3.activeli').data('menu');var subChildLevel_taxnomy_type = $('.megamenusecond[data-menu='+ajax_data_menu_class+']').find('li.level_3.activeli').data('type');var ChildLevel_data_type= $(".mega-options > li.project_m.activeli").data("type");var ChildLevel_data_cat_id= $(".mega-options > li.project_m.activeli").data("cat_id");var parent_data_cat_id= $currentelement.closest('.themegamenu').data("main_cat_id");var parent_data_type= $currentelement.closest('.themegamenu').data("main_type");var data_obj= {'title':title,'subofSubChildLevel_cat_id':subofSubChildLevel_cat_id,'subofSubChildLevel_taxnomy_type':subofSubChildLevel_taxnomy_type,'subChildLevel_cat_id': subChildLevel_cat_id,'subChildLevel_taxnomy_type' :subChildLevel_taxnomy_type,'ChildLevel_data_type':ChildLevel_data_type,'ChildLevel_data_cat_id':ChildLevel_data_cat_id,'parent_data_cat_id':parent_data_cat_id,'parent_data_type':parent_data_type};if( ajaxRequestProject != null ) {ajaxRequestProject.abort();ajaxRequestProject = null;}ajaxRequestProject = $.ajax({ type: 'POST', url: '', dataType: "html", data:data_obj, beforeSend: function() {$('.megamenuthird[data-menu=' + ajaxreplaceContent + ']').html('');},success: function(response) {$('.megamenuthird[data-menu=' + ajaxreplaceContent + ']').html(response);},error: function(xhr) { // if error occured$('.megamenuthird[data-menu=' + ajaxreplaceContent + ']').html("Error occured.please try again"); }});} $(document).ready(function(){//$('body').addClass('loaded');/********* End Third Level on over show/hide ****/$('.news-box-big').hover(function() {$(this).closest('.news').children('.big_title').toggleClass("bordertop");});$('.news-box-medium').hover(function() {$(this).closest('.medium_title').children('.tbt').toggleClass("bordertop");}); /********* Newsletter onclick events start here *******/ $(".header-cta a").click(function(e){ var $elem = $('.newsletter-box').position(); $('html,body').animate({ scrollTop: $(".newsletter-box").offset().top - 80}, 'fast'); }); /***** Newsletter onclick events End here *******/ /* Close guided tour */ $(".close-guided-tour").click(function(){$(".home_timeline").hide(); }); /* Close guided tour */ $(".close-guided-tour2").click(function(){ $(".timeline-tour2").hide(); }); /* $( ".fa-search" ).click(function() { $( 'body' ).toggleClass('search-open'); //$('.search-form').toggle(); }); $('.search-toggle').click(function () {$('.search-form').toggleClass('expanded');}); */ // Search toggle$('.navbar .search-toggle, .mobilesearch').click(function(e){e.preventDefault();$(this).parent().toggleClass('active').find('input[type="search"]').focus();});$('.search-submit').click(function(e){if( $(this).parent().find('.search-field').val() == '' ) {e.preventDefault();$(this).parent().parent().removeClass('active');}}); }); /* Reached newsletter */ $(function(){ $(document).scroll(function(){ if($(this).scrollTop() >= $('.email-capture').offset().top - 50) { $('body').addClass("email-capture-reached"); } else{ $('body').removeClass("email-capture-reached"); } if($(this).scrollTop() >= $('.timeline').offset().top - 50) { $('body').addClass("timeline-tour-open"); } else{ $('body').removeClass("timeline-tour-open"); } }); }); /****** Article page Share n/w ********/ $('.social-toggle').on('click', function() { $(this).next().toggleClass('open-menu'); }); /*** End Article page Share n/w ********/ /* Close guided tour */ $(".close-guided-tour2").click(function(){ $("body").addClass("timeline-closed"); 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$('.headersf').addClass('section_closed'); $('.header-singleproduct').addClass('margin_top_added'); $('.small_header_sf').addClass('small_header_sf_display'); }); /******* End contractors Single page close Header**/ /*** My accout drop down menu */ $('.ctanav .dropdown-menu a').on('click', function() { window.location.href = $(this).attr('href'); }); /*** cookie-popup **/ $("#cookiepopup-continue").click(function(){ $.cookie("cookie_compelo", ''); $('.home_timeline').hide(); }); $(window).on("load",function(){ var data = $.cookie("cookie_compelo"); if(data){ $('.home_timeline').hide(); }else{ $('.home_timeline').show(); } }); $(".home_timeline .close").click(function(){ $.cookie("cookie_compelo", ''); $('.home_timeline').hide(); }); $(window).on("load",function(){ var data = $.cookie("cookie_compelo"); if(data){ $('.home_timeline').hide(); }else{ $('.home_timeline').show(); } }); /*** End cookie popup **/ /**** New add js code ***/ if ($(window).width() > 960) { // Initialization $(function(){ $('[data-scroll-speed]').moveIt(); }); } /* Sticky sidebar banner EVENT PAGE */ $(function(){ $(document).scroll(function(){ var scroll = $(window).scrollTop(); if (scroll >= 655) { $('.sticky-mpu-event').addClass("banner-fixed"); } else{ $('.sticky-mpu-event').removeClass("banner-fixed"); } }); }); //advertising page jQuery.fn.moveIt = function(){ var $window = jQuery(window); var instances = []; jQuery(this).each(function(){ instances.push(new moveItItem($(this))); }); window.addEventListener('scroll', function(){ var scrollTop = $window.scrollTop(); instances.forEach(function(inst){ inst.update(scrollTop); }); }, {passive: true}); } var moveItItem = function(el){ this.el = jQuery(el); this.speed = parseInt(this.el.attr('data-scroll-speed')); }; moveItItem.prototype.update = function(scrollTop){ this.el.css('transform', 'translateY(' + -(scrollTop / this.speed) + 'px)');};// InitializationjQuery(function(){jQuery('[data-scroll-speed]').moveIt();}); /**** end new add js code **/

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Orgenesis to acquire regenerative medicine company Koligo Therapeutics - Pharmaceutical Business Review


Heart attack patches may save lives in US and beyond – Galveston County Daily News

Wednesday, September 30th, 2020

A promising therapy for heart attacks uses stem cells to repair the damaged areas of the heart. However, getting the transplanted cells to stay at the site is a challenge. Now scientists have created a new type of off-the-shelf cardiac patch that overcomes these limitations.

The leading cause of death in the United States is coronary heart disease, which kills about 360,000 per year. Heart attacks result from the loss of blood flow to part of the heart muscle. This can be caused by fat, cholesterol and other substances forming plaque in the coronary arteries that supply oxygenated blood to the heart.

When the plaque breaks, a clot forms around it, which can prevent blood flow to a part of the heart and kill cells. The degree of damage depends on the area of the heart supplied by the blocked artery.

Treatments for a heart attack include limiting the original damage and blocking the secondary damage, which reduces long-term consequences and saves lives. As the heart heals, the damaged area forms scar tissue, which cannot pump blood like normal heart tissue, and it can affect the performance of the rest of the heart.

Cell therapy for heart attacks involves using cardiac stromal cells to encourage the heart to heal with muscle cells rather than scar tissue. Cardiac stromal cells interact with muscle cells and release chemical signals to encourage muscle cell growth.

This approach has only moderate benefits, because cardiac stromal cells are fragile and must be carefully stored and transported. Making matters worse, some stem cells can grow out of control and become tumors. Using a patients own cells has some advantages, but its expensive and time consuming. Theres also the problem of preventing the beating heart from washing the cells away.

Several types of scaffolds have been developed to keep the cardiac stromal cells at the proper location. However, these scaffolds dont overcome the cost and difficulties of isolating and expanding the stem cells.

Now a group of scientists has created a new type of artificial cardiac patch. It consists of a scaffolding matrix made from pig cardiac tissue, from which all cells have been removed. They then created artificial cardiac stromal cells by putting the important healing components from cardiac stromal cells into biodegradable microparticles within that matrix. The synthetic cardiac stromal cells mimic the therapeutic features of live stem cells while overcoming their storage and survival problems, and the matrix preserves the structures and activity found in cardiac tissue.

The artificial cardiac patch was shown to hold the synthetic cardiac stromal cells in place on the heart. In heart attack experiments in both rodents and pigs, the patch resulted in a 50 percent improvement in heart function and a 30 percent reduction in scarring when compared to no treatment.

Medical Discovery News is hosted by professors Norbert Herzog at Quinnipiac University, and David Niesel of the University of Texas Medical Branch. Learn more at

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Heart attack patches may save lives in US and beyond - Galveston County Daily News


Orgenesis Announces Agreement to Acquire Koligo Therapeutics, a Leader in Personalized Cell Therapies – GlobeNewswire

Wednesday, September 30th, 2020

Acquisition to support accelerated commercialization of Koligos KYSLECEL,a personalized islet cell therapy available in the U.S. for chronic and recurrent acute pancreatitis

Goal to rapidly advance KT-PC-301, an autologous cell therapy under investigationfor the treatment of COVID-19-related Acute Respiratory Disease Syndrome (ARDS)

Orgenesis to leverage Koligos 3D-V bioprinting technology across its POCare Platform

GERMANTOWN, Md., Sept. 29, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Orgenesis Inc. (NASDAQ: ORGS) (Orgenesis or the Company), a global biotech company working to unlock the full potential of cell and gene therapies, and Koligo Therapeutics, Inc. (Koligo), a regenerative medicine company, today announced that the two companies have entered into a definitive merger agreement, subject to final closing conditions, with expected completion before year-end (Transaction).

Koligo is a leader in developing personalized cell therapies utilizing the patients own (autologous) cells. Koligo has successfully launched its first commercial product, KYSLECEL, and plans to commence a phase 2 trial of KT-PC-301 for COVID-19-related ARDS. Koligos development stage technology utilizes 3D bioprinting and vascularization with autologous cells (3D-V technology) to create biodegradable and shelf-stable three-dimensional cell and tissue implants. The 3D-V technology is being developed for diabetes and pancreatitis, with longer term applications for neural, liver, and other cell/tissue transplants.

Following closing of the Transaction, Orgenesis plans to accelerate the commercial scaleup of KYSLECEL throughout the United States and, subject to regulatory and logistical considerations, in international markets as well. After closing of the Transaction, and subject to FDA review and clearance of the Companys Investigational New Drug application, Orgenesis expects to start patient recruitment for a phase 2 randomized clinical trial of KT-PC-301 in COVID-19 patients. Orgenesis also plans to leverage Koligos 3D-V bioprinting technology across its POCare platform.

Under the terms of the merger agreement, Orgenesis will acquire all of the outstanding stock of Koligo from its shareholders (the founders and staff of Koligo and a subsidiary of Bergen Special Opportunity Fund, LP, an institutional investor managed by Bergen Asset Management, LLC). The agreed consideration terms are an aggregate of $15 million in shares of Orgenesis common stock valued at $7.00 per share which shall be issued to Koligos accredited investors (with certain non-accredited investors to be paid solely in cash) and an assumption of $1.3 million in Koligos liabilities, estimated to be substantially all of Koligos liabilities. Additional details of the Transaction will be available in the Companys Form 8-K, which will be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and will be available at

KYSLECELKoligos KYSLECEL is commercially available in the United States for chronic and recurrent acute pancreatitis in a surgical procedure commonly called Total Pancreatectomy with Islet Autologous-Transplant (TPIAT). TPIAT has been proven to provide significant pain relief, improved quality of life, and a reduction in the need for pain medication for patients suffering from chronic or recurrent acute pancreatitis. KYSLECEL infusion after a total pancreatectomy helps preserve insulin secretory capacity and reduce the risk of diabetic complications. KYSLECEL is made from a patients own pancreatic islets the cells that make insulin to regulate blood sugar.

Koligo has commenced its commercial pilot program for KYSLECEL at six U.S. hospitals, treating 40 patients to date. The KYSLECEL pilot program has generated approximately $2 million in sales revenue. KYSLECEL has also been shown to result in significant savings to payors over traditional chronic pancreatitis management. Following the closing of the Transaction, Orgenesis plans to make KYSLECEL available to an increasing number of hospitals throughout the United States through its POCare Network.

KT-PC-301Koligos lead clinical development program is for KT-PC-301, an autologous cell therapy under investigation for the treatment of COVID-19-related Acute Respiratory Disease Syndrome (ARDS). KT-PC-301 is comprised of autologous stromal and vascular fraction cells (SVF) derived from each patients adipose (fat) tissue. KT-PC-301 contains a population of mesenchymal stem cells, vascular endothelial cells, and immune cells which migrate to the patients lungs and other peripheral sites of inflammation. Nonclinical and clinical evidence demonstrate that KT-PC-301 may: (1) stabilize microcirculation to improve oxygenation; (2) maintain T and B lymphocytes to support antibody production; and (3) induce an anti-inflammatory effect.

Koligo has completed a pre-IND (Investigational New Drug) consultation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to start clinical trials of KT-PC-301 in COVID-19-related ARDS. Following the closing of the Transaction, and subject to FDA review and clearance of the Companys Investigational New Drug application, Orgenesis expects to start patient recruitment for a phase 2 randomized clinical trial of KT-PC-301 in COVID-19 patients. As currently planned, the phase 2 trial is expected to enroll 75 patients and evaluate the safety and efficacy of KT-PC-301. Mohamed Saad, MD, Chief of Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Disorders Medicine at the University of Louisville, will be the lead clinical investigator on the trial.

3D-V Technology Koligos 3D-V bioprinting technology is designed to support development of a number of product candidates for the treatment of diabetes, cancer, neurodegenerative disease, and other serious diseases. The 3D-V technology platform is able to print three-dimensional cell and tissue constructs with a vascular network. Key benefits of the 3D-V approach include: faster revascularization/inosculation of cell/tissue transplant to improve engraftment; host tolerance of the graft while minimizing need for immune suppressive drugs; better site of transplant administration of such products; and scaffolding to keep cell/tissue in place in vivo. These solutions are ideally suited for islet transplant and other cell/tissue transplant applications.

Koligo ManagementFollowing the closing of the Transaction, Koligos management team will be joining Orgenesis to continue commercial and development activities. Koligos CEO, Matthew Lehman, is an accomplished executive in the biotech and regenerative medicine fields. Prior to co-founding Koligo, he was CEO of Prima Biomed Ltd (now Immutep Ltd, a Nasdaq (IMMP) and ASX (IMM) listed biotech company). Stuart Williams, PhD, Chief Technology Officer, is a bioengineer and thought leader in regenerative medicine, with over 300 publications and 20 issued patents in the field. Dr. Williams has co-founded three other biotech companies and is an experienced academic-industry collaborator. Michael Hughes, MD, Chief Medical Officer, is a transplant surgeon who started the islet transplant program at University of Louisville which was the genesis of Koligos KYSLECEL program. He has successfully treated nearly 50 chronic pancreatitis patients with islet autologous transplant after pancreatectomy. Balamurugan Appakalai, PhD, has more than 20 years of islet isolation experience, having processed more than 800 human pancreases. He is a leader in the field of islet transplant with 100+ publications.

Vered Caplan, Chief Executive Officer of Orgenesis, stated, We are pleased to announce this transformative acquisition, which we expect will add broad capabilities to our therapeutic and technology platform, and will further our leadership in the cell and gene therapy field. Based on several phase 1 studies, Koligos KT-PC-301, using a patients own cells, has demonstrated safety and tolerability, and has shown signs of efficacy to support continued development in COVID-19-related ARDS. If successful for the treatment of COVID-19-related ARDS, KT-PC-301 is likely to have applications in other acute and chronic respiratory indications, areas that represent significant unmet medical need. In addition, we see significant potential in KYSLECEL, a commercial stage asset for the treatment of chronic and acute recurrent pancreatitis, which we plan to introduce through our global network of hospitals. Finally, Koligos 3D-V bioprinting technology is highly complementary to our POCare Platform, as we implement new technologies to improve efficacy and lower the costs of cell and gene therapies. I would like to personally welcome Matthew and the rest of the Koligo team to the Orgenesis organization when the Transaction closes. We believe that their skills and experience will be an important addition as we execute on our strategy to unlock the power of cell and gene therapies and make them accessible to all.

Matthew Lehman, Chief Executive Officer of Koligo Therapeutics, stated, The merger with Orgenesis marks a major milestone for our company and builds on our recent progress, including the Pre-IND package submitted to the U.S. FDA for KT-PC-301 and our pilot commercial program for KYSLECEL. The Orgenesis team brings extensive clinical, regulatory, and manufacturing expertise well suited to supporting Koligos goals. Orgenesis intellectual property is highly complementary to Koligos technology and the combined companies will work to advance a robust commercial and development product portfolio. Orgenesis POCare technologies are also ideally suited for low-cost and efficient production of autologous cell therapies at the point of care, which we believe will considerably enhance the delivery of these therapies to patients. Additionally, we believe Orgenesis global network of leading hospitals and healthcare institutions will enable us to accelerate the commercial rollout of KYSLECEL. We are quite encouraged by the outlook for the business and look forward to leveraging Orgenesis POCare Platform in order to accelerate the timeline to bringing our innovative cell therapies to market. Through this merger, we believe we can maximize value for all shareholders and we are grateful to Orgenesis for this opportunity.

Pearl Cohen Zedek Latzer Baratz LLP and KPMG advised Orgenesis on the Transaction. Maxim Group LLC acted as a finder and Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, LLP advised Koligo on the Transaction.

About Koligo Therapeutics Koligo Therapeutics, Inc. is a US regenerative medicine company. Koligos first commercial product is KYSLECEL (autologous pancreatic islets) for chronic and acute recurrent pancreatitis. Koligos 3D-V technology platform incorporates the use of advanced 3D bioprinting techniques and vascular endothelial cells to support development of transformational cell and tissue products for serious diseases. More information is available at

About OrgenesisOrgenesis is a global biotech company working to unlock the full potential of celland gene therapies (CGTs) in an affordable and accessible format at the point of care. The Orgenesis POCarePlatform is comprised of three enabling components: a pipeline of licensedPOCare Therapeuticsthat are processed and produced in closed, automatedPOCare Technologysystems across a collaborativePOCare Network. Orgenesisidentifies promising new therapies and leverages its POCare Platform to provide a rapid, globally harmonized pathway for these therapies to reach and treat large numbers of patients at lowered costs through efficient, scalable, and decentralized production. The Network brings together patients, doctors, industry partners, research institutes and hospitals worldwide to achieve harmonized, regulated clinical development and production of the therapies. Learn more about the work Orgenesis is doing

Notice Regarding Forward-Looking Statements The information in this release is as of September 29, 2020. Orgenesis assumes no obligation to update forward-looking statements contained in this release as a result of new information or future events or developments. This release contains forward looking statements about Orgenesis, Koligo, Koligos technology, and potential development and business opportunities of Koligo and Orgenesis following the closing of the Transaction, each of which involve substantial risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such statements. Risks and uncertainties include, among other things, uncertainties regarding the commercial success of the Companys products; the uncertainties inherent in research and development, including the ability to meet anticipated clinical endpoints, commencement and/or completion dates for our clinical trials, regulatory submission dates, regulatory approval dates and/or launch dates, as well as the possibility of unfavorable new clinical data and further analyses of existing clinical data; the risk that clinical trial data are subject to differing interpretations and assessments by regulatory authorities; whether regulatory authorities will be satisfied with the design of and results from our clinical studies; whether and when any such regulatory authorities may approved the Companys development products, and, if approved, whether such product candidates will be commercially successful; decisions by regulatory authorities impacting labeling, manufacturing processes, safety and/or other matters that could affect the availability or commercial potential of the Companys products; uncertainties regarding the impact of COVID-19 on the Companys business, operations and financial results and competitive developments.

A further description of risks and uncertainties can be found in the Companys Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019 and in its subsequent reports on Form 10-Q, including in the sections thereof captioned Risk Factors and Forward-Looking Information, as well as in its subsequent reports on Form 8-K, all of which are filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and available at

Contact for Orgenesis:Crescendo Communications, LLCTel:

Read more from the original source:
Orgenesis Announces Agreement to Acquire Koligo Therapeutics, a Leader in Personalized Cell Therapies - GlobeNewswire


Bariatric surgery is booming, as obese patients worry about their Covid-19 risks – The Daily Briefing

Wednesday, September 30th, 2020

Bariatric surgery, a significantly underutilized treatment for weight management, is beginning to see an uptick in usea trend spurred by a somewhat unlikely cause: the novel coronavirus epidemic.

The 3 most important considerations for patients deciding on bariatric surgery

According to the New York Times' "Well," bariatric surgery is an increasingly safe, effective, and simple procedure available to patients with a BMI of at least 40 who cannot lose weight via diet and exercise alone, as well as patients with BMIs between 30 to 35 who have obesity-related health issues.

Bariatric surgeriesincluding gastric bypasses, laparoscopic bands, and gastric sleeveswork by reducing the physical size of the stomach and curbing appetite by altering the hormonal signals between a patient's stomach and brain. Bariatric surgery, according to "Well," has become increasingly safe over the years, with the rates of complications and deaths related to such procedures plunging from a peak of 11.7% and 1%, respectively, in 1998 to 1.4% and 0.04% in 2016.

However, despite the safety and efficacy of the procedure, experts say it's significantly underutilized. "Only one-half of 1 percent of people eligible for bariatric surgery currently undergo it," Anne Ehlers, a bariatric surgeon at the University of Michigan, said.

According to a JAMA article, this under-use of bariatric surgery likely stems both from "the reluctance of the medical community and patients to accept surgery as a safe, effective, and durable treatment of obesity," and because patients worry that they "may be judged by others for taking the easy way out and not having the willpower to diet and exercise."

According to the Wall Street Journal, several studies have found a link between obesity and its related health issuessuch as diabetes and hypertensionand increased rates of serious Covid-19 infection. In fact, CDC this month confirmed that new research demonstrates that Covid-19 patients who are obese have a greater risk of severe outcomes.

Researchers think this increased risk for obese patients may stem in part because of how the coronavirus enters the body via an enzyme called the ACE2 receptor. This enzyme is located in cells that line the lungs and fat tissue, which means that patients with excess weight may be more likely to experience a high viral load. In addition, obesity is linked to hyperinflammation and shortness of breath, two conditions that make it more difficult for someone to combat viral infection.

As John Morton, head of the bariatric practice at Yale Medical Center, said, "The virus frankly has an easier job" replicating itself among patients who are obese, because "[i]t has more targets."

But ongoing research indicates that losing weightand losing weight via bariatric surgery in particularmay help lower this risk, the Journal reports. According to a clinical study from the Cleveland Clinic that's currently under peer review, patients with obesity who've had bariatric surgery were 25% less likely to require hospitalization after contracting Covid-19 when compared with obese patients who have not had the surgery. In addition, among those patients in the study who were hospitalized, none of those who've had bariatric surgery were admitted to the ICU or died from the pathogencompared with 13% and 2.5%, respectively, of hospitalized patients who have not had the surgery.

In light of this increased risk, some patients who are struggling with their weight are undergoing bariatric surgery as a proactive measure against severe infectiona trend that seems to have made bariatric surgery more popular than ever, the Journal reports.

In fact, while most scheduled procedures are now experiencing a rebound after several months' pause amid the epidemic, bariatric surgery is not only rebounding more quickly than other services, but it's surpassing even its 2019 levels. Specifically, according to research from health care data company Perception Health, claims for bariatric surgery fell to nearly zero in April, but then rebounded by June to a higher level than that same month in 2019.

Separately, Optum, which owns medical facilities and surgical centers across the country, reported a 26% annual increase in patients joining bariatric-surgery programs this summer. (The Daily Briefing is published by Advisory Board, a division of Optum.) Similarly, Cigna said that while prior authorizations for bariatric surgeries declined 38.8% annually between March and May of this year, they increased 9.3% annually in June, July, and August.

The leaders of various surgical practices at major hospitals have reported similar anecdotal evidence, according to the Journal. For instance, Morton said that after Yale reopened its five hospitals for scheduled surgeries in June, bariatric surgery volume increased 20% when compared to 2019 levelsand inquiries about the procedure are also on the rise. "The only two surgeries that have been Covid-proof have been cancer and bariatric," he said.

Similarly, Ali Aminian, director of the Cleveland Clinic's Bariatric and Metabolic Institute, said intake for severely obese patients seeking bariatric surgery increased 40% annually over the summer. "We've had patients who wanted to come and take care of their obesity, to be healthier, and when we ask them, why did you come now? It's because they've heard this message that it's a risk factor for Covid infection," Aminian said.

And speaking as a bariatric surgery patient, Eliza Henderson said the coronavirus spurred her to "take the plunge" and schedule herself for the procedure later this month. "I don't want my being obese to stack the odds against me with something like coronavirus," Henderson explained. "More than anything, I want to have a better chance to survive" (Whelan, Wall Street Journal, 9/28; Brody, "Well," New York Times, 9/28).

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Bariatric surgery is booming, as obese patients worry about their Covid-19 risks - The Daily Briefing


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