Wednesday, August 26, 2015
Stemedica International and EPFL Awarded Swiss Government Grant for Diabetes and Stem Cell Research
Epalinges, Switzerland — August 26, 2015 — Stemedica International, a subsidiary of Stemedica Cell Technologies, Inc. (San Diego, CA) and its academic partner, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) have been awarded a research grant by the Swiss Commission for Technology and Innovation (CTI). The value of the project is CHF 708,000 (approx. 750,000 USD). Using EPFL’s advanced imaging capabilities, scientists from EPFL and Stemedica International will assess the potential benefits that Stemedica’s ischemic tolerant stem cells and stem cell factors could have for millions of people suffering from Type 1 and Type II Diabetes.
EPFL and Stemedica International recently completed work on a 2012 CTI research grant that showed in pre-clinical studies a dramatic reduction in cerebral Abeta amyloidosis, a major neuropathological hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. The spectacular results from this pre-clinical research along with excellent safety data from Stemedica’s Phase I safety study has recently enabled Stemedica International to receive approval from the FDA for a Phase IIa clinical trial in the United States. This trial is expected to start in late 2015.
“We are pleased that we are continuing our collaboration with one of the world’s leading technical academic institutions,” said Nikolai Tankovich, MD, PhD, Executive Chairman of Stemedica International. “We greatly appreciate the support from CTI for this second grant and their belief in Stemedica International and our goal for practical implementation of stem cell technologies. This grant will enable our team to objectively assess the efficacy of our stem cells to potentially restore the vascularization and blood flow in the critical areas of the pancreas that impact the production of insulin.”
EPFL has developed sophisticated imaging methods that allow for both structural and functional in vivo imaging of islets of Langerhans in the pancreas. Within each islet are several types of cells that work together to regulate blood sugar. One cell type is the beta cell. Beta cells sense sugar in the blood and release the necessary amount of insulin to maintain normal blood sugar levels. The immune system mistakenly sees beta cells as “potential danger” and destroys them, causing type 1 diabetes. The loss of these cells means the body can no longer produce insulin, the hormone required to convert food into energy for the body’s cells. In this study, a three-dimensional assessment of the islet vascularization and blood flow in non-diabetic and diabetic mouse models will be conducted without the need to inject contrast agents.
Professor Theo Lasser, Head of Laboratoire d’Optique Biomedicale (LOB), EPFL, commented, “We are excited to collaborate again with Stemedica International and to apply our methods of Optical Coherent Microscopy developed at LOB, EPFL and to potentially contribute significantly to finding a cure for diabetes.”
Tristan Bolmont, PhD, Stemedica International’s Chief Scientist commented on the scope of the project, “The scale of this project will allow us to make the correlations that are critical to understanding the potential benefits our stem cells may have for treating or even preventing diabetes.”
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Founded in Epalinges, Switzerland, in 2008, Stemedica International S.A. is a biotechnology company that develops therapeutic applications for the treatment and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia and Diabetes. The company is a subsidiary of Stemedica Cell Technologies, Inc., a global biotechnology company that manufactures adult allogeneic stem cells. Stemedica International has an exclusive license to manufacture and distribute the parent company’s allogeneic, ischemia-tolerant mesenchymal stem cell (itMSC) and ischemia-tolerant neural stem cell (itNSC) lines and stem cell factors for Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia indications. The company also has Swissmedic licenses to import, export and distribute Stemedica Cell Technologies’ cell lines worldwide for human use in approved clinical trials. Manufactured in compliance with cGMP standards, the stem cell lines have a unique, proprietary technology based on the expansion of cells in constant hypoxia, which provides critical benefits in terms of safety, efficacy and scalability. For more information, visit www.stemedica-intl.com.
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