Explaining the hype: CAR T-cells

With the start of a new year, I like to take a moment to think about what things in cancer research got me really excited the previous year. Beyond a doubt, that thing for me in 2017 was the first (and second!) FDA approval of a CAR T-cell (chimeric antigen receptor T-cell) therapy as a treatment option for certain cancers. I am particularly excited about these leaps forward for cancer treatment options, as I used…

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What you get for what you gave: Why yield is an important metric in the development of CGTs.

  In this month’s blog on addressing specific bioprocess and bioanalytical challenges to develop Cell and Gene Therapies (CGTs), we hear from Dr. Nick Timmins on quantifying performance of CGTs using cell yield, and some of the methods to measure it, as a metric of optimized manufacturing of CGTs. (SV) Nick Timmins is VP, Process Science at BlueRock Therapeutics – a company focused on harnessing the power of induced pluripotent stem cells as a manufacturing…

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Right Turn: A new science twist on those old Christmas favourites

This time of year is special for many reasons, and traditions are a big part of that. It’s risky to mess with traditions; many people look forward to, and value, the familiarity and ritual of repeating something they have done for years, or even decades. You might think that introduction means I’m heading to the Signals archives to bring you another hilarious holiday video of familiar faces in odd contexts, like CCRM executives dancing the Macarena or…

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Right Turn: Four STEM women to watch

  If I say the names Kirsty Duncan, Mona Nemer, Julie Payette and Molly Shoichet, what comes to mind? There are many ways to answer that question, of course, but the answer I’m looking for is that they are all female scientists or engineers who hold significant posts in government with the ability to influence Canada’s science agenda. The Honourable Kirsty Duncan is the federal Minister of Science. As of the September 2017 announcement, she…

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Art meets regenerative medicine in the hands of Toronto artist

Ann Perry is senior communications officer at Medicine by Design at the University of Toronto. She previously held strategic communications roles in the Ontario government and not-for-profit sector, and was an editorial writer, reporter and editor at the Toronto Star. You can follow Medicine by Design on Twitter @MbD_UofT. Please click here to read the original version of the article that first appeared on Medicine by Design’s site and is reprinted with permission.   Artist…

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Right Turn: CCRM’s holiday science gift guide for kids

The holidays are right around the corner. If you have a child or pre-teen in your life, the pressure is on to find that perfect gift. Since you’re reading Signals, you probably understand the value of encouraging kids to be enthusiastic about science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). After all, a STEM education, both at school and in the home, has a positive impact on overall academic success. So, why not give a STEM-related gift…

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Right Turn: CCRM’s holiday science gift guide for kids

The holidays are right around the corner. If you have a child or pre-teen in your life, the pressure is on to find that perfect gift. Since you’re reading Signals, you probably understand the value of encouraging kids to be enthusiastic about science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). After all, a STEM education, both at school and in the home, has a positive impact on overall academic success. So, why not give a STEM-related gift…

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Second skin: A regenerative medicine approach to treating genetic skin diseases

Schematic drawing of laminin protein. Laminin is made up of alpha, beta and gamma chains that are encoded by three separate genes. Mutations in the genes that encode laminin subunits cause epidermolysis bullosa (EB).   One of my personal highlights from this year’s Till and McCulloch Meetings was attending the “Science for Citizens” panel (reported on in a previous post). Experts including Timothy Caulfield, patient advocate William Brock, and National Post writer Tom Blackwell emphasized…

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Right Turn: Canada 2067 – a STEM action plan

  Eleven months in to 2017, I’m confident you’ve heard of Canada 150: a government-led initiative to celebrate and recognize Canada’s “150th” year – that number is widely disputed by the way. If Canada 150 does not sound familiar, you can find information and December activities here. But have you heard of Canada 2067? Of relevance to the regenerative medicine community, Canada 2067 is a national initiative to shape the future of science, technology, engineering…

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Bioprocessing and bioanalytics

Bioreactors (Copyright CCRM 2017) The recent FDA approvals of Kymriah for the treatment of children and young adults with B-cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, and Yescarta to treat adults with certain types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and the unanimous endorsement by an FDA advisory committee of a gene therapy (LUXTURNA)  has energized the fields of cell-and gene-based therapies. (Learn how gene therapies work, here.) The requirement to manufacture millions of doses of cell- and gene-based therapies no…

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