The most important function of tissue stem cells is the most ignored function of tissue stem cells.
Boston, MA (PRWEB) October 14, 2014
“The most important function of tissue stem cells is the most ignored function of tissue stem cells.” This seemingly paradoxical revelation is the special province of the ASCTC, upon which Director James L. Sherley, M.D., Ph.D. is staking the company’s future success. A newly released video of a presentation given by Sherley at the recent 2014 BioPharm America™ Conference in Boston, provides an opportunity for the regenerative medicine community in particular, and the public in general, to learn directly from the source the scientific basis for this surprising statement.
Director Sherley reveals that the most important function of adult tissue stem cells is their asymmetric self-renewal. Asymmetric self-renewal is the unique property of tissue stem cells to divide continuously to make large numbers of constituent body cells while keeping their own number constant and maintaining their own stem cell function. This tissue stem cell-specific function allows stem cells to continuously renew organs and tissues and to repair them when they are diseased or damaged.
In the video, Director Sherley describes ASCTC’s three main next generation technologies that motivate the company’s current development goals. The first is patented biomarkers that identify tissue stem cells with sufficient specificity to allow them to be counted for the first time. This technology has potential to accelerate advances in stem cell biomedicine by providing a convenient method for counting stem cells in tissues in the body and in therapeutic cell transplant preparations. The ASCTC intends to license its biomarkers to other companies in the stem cell biotechnology and regenerative medicine industries.
The second technological breakthrough is a method of expanding human tissue stem cells in culture without loss of their normal stem cell functions. Based on asymmetric self-renewal principles, the ASCTC developed technologies that induce tissue stem cells to divide reversibly with greater self-duplication than production of constituent body cells. These technologies promote the exponential production of tissue stem cells that later can be reversed back to making constituent cells. Such capability is ideal for producing large quantities of functional normal human tissue constituent cells for drug evaluations or large quantities of normal human tissue stem cells for cell therapy applications. No other currently available method for multiplying human solid organ stem cells provides normal cells as the final product.
Director Sherley relates the ASCTC’s plans to develop its expansion technology to become a manufacturer of human liver stem cells and their derivatives. The company is targeting applications in drug candidate evaluation and liver transplant therapy. For this plan, it is currently working to assemble a superior management team – with the first new member target being an outstanding CEO to join Dr. Sherley as the CSO – and a strategic cell manufacturing partner. In his current role as director, Dr. Sherley projects that a $30 million investment over a five-year period will be required to achieve the company’s first commercial target, which is supplying the pharmaceutical industry with on-demand, reproducible, clinically diverse panels of human cells with mature liver functions for use in drug evaluations.
The video presentation ends with the most recent innovation from the ASCTC. In a partnership venture with AlphaSTAR Corporation (ASC) located in Long Beach, California, ASCTC has recently completed the development of computer simulation software that can accurately estimate the number of tissue stem cells in any human tissue cell culture. ASC develops computer simulation analyses to predict the physical failure of complex composite materials used to build aircraft, racing cars, and other high stress transports like the space shuttle. The two companies have integrated their respective expertise to produce the first-of-its-kind computer simulation-based technology for quantitative monitoring of human tissue stem cells.
The new stem cell monitoring technology has several important foreseeable applications, including determining stem cell number for dosing in cell therapies; identifying agents that increase stem cell number, which might be healing agents or carcinogens; and identifying agents that are toxic to stem cells. ASCTC and ASC are partnering to develop the new technology to screen out stem cell toxic drug candidates at the beginning of the drug development pipeline, before pharmaceutical companies have wasted hundreds of millions of dollars on their evaluation at later stages of drug development, as well as in the marketplace.
Sherley suggests that many stem cell scientists and regenerative medicine companies overlook asymmetric self-renewal, because it has been difficult to study. This difficulty, which is partly due to the scarcity of stem cells in tissues, has fostered a climate of controversy about asymmetric self-renewal. Sherley assures, “ASCTC is past the controversy and on to achieving significant regenerative medicine advances by employing our special know-how in this crucial aspect of adult tissue stem cell biology.”