The long slog of medical R&D and finding inspiration

Creative Commons license to reproduce Research and development (R&D) of a medical therapeutic is a long slog. This isn’t news to anyone working in the field. The average time to bring a new drug product to market is over a decade. Moreover, this is the timeline when everything progresses well – funding and business decisions align, manufacturing processes come together, and regulatory submissions don’t face any substantial setbacks. For less established cell and gene therapies…

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Right Turn: Stem cell researchers develop more than undifferentiated stem cells at StemCellTalks Toronto

StemCellTalks Toronto, March 10, 2017 The eighth annual Toronto StemCellTalks (SCT) symposium took place on March 10, 2017, in Toronto’s urban innovation hub (and CCRM’s new home), MaRS Discovery District. SCT is a national stem cell biology outreach program for high school students in partnership with Let’s Talk Science and the Stem Cell Network. (CCRM is also a proud national sponsor of this annual event.) This year’s theme was Immune Cells and Cancer; however, for…

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From organ survival to organ revival – how patients can regenerate their own donor lung prior to surgery

image courtesy of John O’Neill, first author For most areas of medicine, the supply of a treatment can easily meet demand (access issues aside). Need an antibody? A steroid? Millions of pills are manufactured every day. The case could not be more different for solid organ transplantation, for which the list of patients with end-stage organ failure vastly exceeds the number of organs available for transplant. If that weren’t bad enough, the situation is even…

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Right Turn: Stem cells, like children, are a labour of love

For many Canadians with kids, we’re nearing the end of March Break – a holiday from school for elementary- and secondary school-aged children. Whether you’re travelling or at home this week, you’ve spent lots of quality time with your children and this new video from a group at Cambridge may really resonate with you. According to their website, Dish Life is one of four films made by University of Cambridge researchers for the 2016 Cambridge…

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Improving ultrasound imaging may have applications in regenerative medicine

Andy Bell, a writer working with Toronto3dprinting, loves to write about different topics related to technological gadgets and gears. 3D printing is his current interest. This is a CVT anesthesiologist, standing in front of an ultrasound machine, in the operating room at the University of Miami. The view on the monitor is the four chamber view of the heart. Picture by J.Sciarra, MD 2008. Though ultrasound technology is commonly associated with the imaging of fetuses…

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Right Turn: My question to Paul Knoepfler: Do you ever sleep?

Paul Knoepfler, already well known for his prolific blogging at The Niche and for his role as a stem cell educator and tireless patient advocate – award winning no less – has taken on another project. Ask him a question about stem cells and you may get a live response. On February 26th, Dr. Knoepfler, who is also a respected scientist and professor at the UC Davis School of Medicine (presumably in his spare time?),…

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Why do stroke regenerative therapies fail to reach the clinic?

Dale Corbett, University of Ottawa (photo used with permission) The author of the popular Seven Habits of Highly Effective People book, Steven R. Covery, said “strength lies in differences, not in similarities.” While this may be helpful advice for improving your personal life, researchers are learning that differences in preclinical studies are weakening the ability to translate effective therapies to the clinic. While one might assume that it is beneficial to have diversity in the…

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Right Turn: Raising awareness about spinal cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak

Have you heard of spinal cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak? No? That’s why the Spinal Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) Leak Foundation, established in June 2014, is holding its first educational campaign (Feb. 27-March 3, 2017) to raise awareness of spinal CSF leak, an underdiagnosed cause of headaches that are easily treated and cured. If you suffer from frequent headaches and/or migraines and notice that they are worse when you are sitting or standing (#uprightheadache), pay attention to…

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Interspecies generation of insulin producing cells now a reality

From science fiction novelists through to medical doctors and industry leaders, a huge amount of attention has been given to the idea of growing human organs for transplantation in large farm animals like pigs and sheep. The need for organs to transplant into patients is one driving motivation (~5000 patients waiting in Canada alone), but there also exists a need for the cells that those organs would produce (e.g., insulin producing cells from pancreases to…

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Right Turn: New stem cell product for ALS seeking approval in Canada

This week, BrainStorm Cell Therapeutics issued a news release announcing its intent to seek early regulatory approval to distribute its Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) product to patients in Canada. This news was eagerly received by patient groups in Canada and internationally. ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a progressive neuromuscular disease in which nerve cells die and muscles are paralyzed. It is fatal and current treatments are inadequate. Thanks to the #icebucketchallenge social…

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