It’s electrifying! Cell reprogramming using electromagnetic fields

Electromagnetized gold nanoparticles mediate direct lineage reprogramming into induced dopamine neurons in vivo for Parkinson’s disease therapy (used with permission Springer Nature, Nature Nanotechnology) The ability to revert a terminally differentiated, somatic cell back to a pluripotent stem cell state has been of incalculable value to researchers since its discovery in 2006. In recent years, researchers have modified this technique by cutting out a step, allowing somatic cells to be directly reprogrammed into a new…

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Right Turn: Science communication in action at ISCT 2018

The 2018 International Society for Cell & Gene Therapy annual conference (ISCT 2018) took place in Montreal, Quebec, from May 2 to 5. It brought together experts and leaders in cell and gene therapies, and regenerative medicine, working in roles from bench to bedside. The conference provided a forum for academics and industry to communicate and collaborate with their international peers regarding research, challenges and partnering opportunities. Beyond peer-to-peer knowledge translation, conferences like ISCT 2018…

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Right Turn: The ABCs of IP and CEO

For Canada to thrive, supporting and training our future work force and leaders is crucial. This can happen in a myriad of ways. For a group of Canadian organizations in the biotherapeutics field, this has taken the form of joining together to host training workshops for graduate students and early career researchers. Last year, the Clinical Translation Education Group (CTEG)* hosted Bench to Bedside for Biotherapeutics (“B3”), a successful one-day workshop that offered an introduction…

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Right Turn: CRISPR, at a theatre near you

Does it seem like CRISPR is everywhere these days? That’s because it is! The popular gene editing tool – Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats – is significant for its ability to edit DNA at precise locations, making it possible to correct mutations in the human genome to treat diseases caused by genetic defects. It may feel like CRISPR is never out of the news. Feng Zhang’s startup Beam Therapeutics has just raised almost US$100…

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Human brain implants thrive inside mouse skulls and raise ethical questions

Image credit: Nevit Dilmen, NIH 3D Print Exchange, National Institutes of Health Miniature human brains continue to develop when hooked up to a blood supply in the mouse brain in a finding that opens up new avenues for learning how the brain forms and falls ill, while at the same time raising ethical questions. Last week, two teams reported success in transplanting primordial human brain tissue into mouse brains. The grafts survived thanks to nutrient…

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Right Turn: Talking gene therapies at StemCellTalks McMaster

This week (April 15-21) is National Volunteer Week. Across Canada, 12.7 million people donate their time to make Canada a better place to live. In the stem cell community, scientists, clinicians, researchers and hundreds of university students across the country work hard to make StemCellTalks a success every year. In the spirit of National Volunteer Week, thank you for your efforts to educate, inspire and engage high school students in stem cell science. CCRM has…

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Will THIW become the next TIFF?

For those who aren’t familiar with THIW, there are parties but no films getting their world premieres. The comparison I’m making in the title is to the fact THIW is becoming a must-attend week-long event, with so much going on from morning to night, that serious THIW-goers may one year need to block their work calendars and spend their days exclusively hopping from one THIW event to another all week long – much like serious…

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Digital health: The new frontier of diagnosis?

Meredith O’Brien is the Communications Coordinator at CCRM. Meredith graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, Honours in Film and Media from Queen’s University. While writing her fourth-year thesis titled “iViral: The power of the individual in driving viral content,” she quickly realized her passion for marketing and communications, specifically in the areas of digital and social media. Her research analyzed how businesses can leverage the power of the individual to optimize new technologies and channels of communications. Her strength in critical thinking and…

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No “double standards” – Advancements in cell and gene therapy

Dr. Sheng Lin-Gibson is the Chief of Biosystems and Biomaterials Division at the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and directs its Regenerative Medicine Programs. She serves as the Convenor of ISO/TC 276: Biotechnology Working Group 3: Analytical Methods as well as the Chairperson for the U.S. Mirror Committee to ISO/TC 276. She leads or contributes to the development of several international standards particularly relevant to cell and gene therapy manufacturing and characterization. She has coauthored over 60 peer-reviewed publications, served…

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Right Turn: International Women’s Day should be every day

International Women’s Day (IWD), also known as the United Nations (UN) Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace, is an opportunity to honour women’s achievements, “to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.” I don’t dispute the need to have an international day for women. Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General, says “Achieving gender equality and…

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