NYSCF in the News & Research Spotlight

Stem Cells Enable Exploration of Rare Neurological Disease
Stem Cells Enable Exploration of Rare Neurological Disease
NYSCF – Robertson Stem Cell Investigator Alumnus Dr. Paul Tesar of Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine collaborated with NYSCF scientists Dr. Valentina Fossati and Dr. Panos Douvaras to explore the varied genetics behind Pelizaeus-Merzbacher Disease, a rare neurological disorder. Using stem cells, the scientists created models of the disease in a dish that displayed different genetic scenarios, identifying individual and shared defects that could inform treatment efforts.
 
This research, published in The American Journal of Human Genetics, could have a significant impact on clinical approaches to treating this deadly childhood disorder. 

 

Read the paper in The American Journal of Human Genetics >>

Read the press release on EurekAlert >>

Progress Towards Cures Will Stall Under Proposed Budget Cuts
Progress Towards Cures Will Stall Under Proposed Budget Cuts

President Donald Trump's proposed 2018 budget cuts $5.8 billion from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), about 20% of its current budget. While these numbers represent a request to Congress and not a final agreement, the cuts are a dramatic statement against science as a priority for the administration and for our country.

These cuts, if implemented, may have a greater negative impact on the stem cell research field than the restrictions implemented by former President Bush. Ongoing NIH funding is critical to all biomedical research, including ours at The New York Stem Cell Foundation. Cutting these funds is a major risk for all research, and threatens to slow down or stop potentially lifesaving experiments while also put at risk the jobs of many scientists across the country.

The President has also proposed significant budget cuts to the NIH and other scientific agencies for the remainder of this year’s budget. These drastic measures would be a major step back for the advancement of science and medicine in the United States.

 

Read more from Nobel Laureate and founding NYSCF Medical Advisory Board Member Dr. Harold Varmus in the New York Times >>

Politico spoke with NYSCF CEO Susan L. Solomon about the proposed cuts, read the story here (firewalled) >>

Five Women Unite to Crack the Code of Multiple Sclerosis
Five Women Unite to Crack the Code of Multiple Sclerosis
In a collaborative tour de force, five female principal investigators, including NYSCF's own Dr. Valentina Fossati, are elucidating the role of energy metabolism in the progression of multiple sclerosis (MS) in work funded by the Department of Defense. The multidisciplinary team is collecting patient samples and data across a range of Multiple Sclerosis disease types over the course of two years. March is both MS awareness month and host to International Women’s Day. This unique grant and collaborative effort highlight the importance and impact of women in STEM and shed light on current efforts to find cures for multiple sclerosis. 
Patients enrolled in the project are clinically assessed by Dr. Ilana Katz, and further assessed by Dr. Matilde Inglese with brain magnetic resonance imaging, which will further enhance the classification of the patient to one of the three stages of MS disease progression. Skin biopsies are then collected and reprogrammed into induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells by the NYSCF Global Stem Cell Array, permitting Dr. Fossati and her team to generate patient specific neural cells, which will hopefully shed light on the mechanisms of disease progression.
The five Principal Investigators are:
 
  • Dr. Ilana Katz-Sand, an assistant professor of neurology at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City and a member of the MS Microbiome Consortium. Current research projects include studies on the mechanisms of neuronal degeneration in progressive MS, an investigation of the role of the gut microbiome in MS, as well as a clinical trial for neuromyelitis optica. In addition to her own projects, Dr. Katz Sand participates in MS clinical trials. She is also involved in education, teaching residents and medical students at Mount Sinai, and lectures on MS and NMO to other physicians and patients. 

 

  • Dr. Patrizia Casaccia, recently named the founding director of the CUNY Advanced Science Research Center’s (ASRC) Neuroscience Initiative. Her research at the ASRC focuses on glial cell biology, the study of those cells most common the central nervous system. She maintains an affiliation with the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, where she has previously served as professor with the Department of Neuroscience, Neurology and Department of Genomics and Multiscale Biology. She also directed the Center of Excellence for Myelin Repair within the Friedman Brain Institute.

 

  • Dr. Catarina Quinzii, an Assistant Professor at Columbia University Medical Center, with expertise in neurology, neuroscience and genetics, and also holds an appointment in the Division of Neuromuscular Medicine. Her research involves investigating the role of mitochondria dysfunction in disease progression.

 

  • Dr. Matilde Inglese, an Associate Professor of Neurology, Radiology and Neuroscience at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Her lab focuses on understanding the pathophysiological mechanisms leading to disease onset and progression in patients with multiple sclerosis. She serves as a member of the National Institute of Health study sections, and is also a member of the American Academy of Neurology and the International Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine.

 

  • Dr. Valentina Fossati, an Investigator at the New York Stem Cell Foundation since 2011. She was a recipient of the NYSCF - Druckenmiller Fellowship in 2009. Her current research focuses on using induced pluripotent stem cell modeling for understanding neurodegeneration in MS. 

 

 
Spotlight on the NYSCF Global Stem Cell Array
Spotlight on the NYSCF Global Stem Cell Array

The NYSCF Global Stem Cell Array was a central talking point in both an exclusive interview and digital panel with The Regenerative Medicine Network. NYSCF Senior Vice President of Research Dr. Scott Noggle spoke with RegMedNet about how he became interested in stem cell research, NYSCF's growth in the past eleven years including construction and launch of the NYSCF Array, and NYSCF’s ongoing efforts to continually improve stem cell production and derivation using cutting edge automation.

In addition to the interview with Dr. Noggle, NYSCF’s Dr. Daniel Paull, Vice President, Automation Systems & Stem Cell Biology, highlighted the importance of the NYSCF Array in a RegMedNet digital panel discussing induced pluripotent stem cell derivation and applications in research. The panel covered challenges in stem cell derrivation, future potential applications in regenerative medicine, and regulatory challenges. Fellow panelists included Lia Kent of Biological Industries USA, Dr. Yvonne Mica of Thermo Fisher Scientific, and Dr. Fiona Watt of Centre for Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine at King’s College London.

 

Read the full RegMedNet interview with Dr. Scott Noggle >>

Learn more about the RegMedNet panel with Dr. Daniel Paull >>

Learn more about the NYSCF Global Stem Cell Array >>

NYSCF Innovator Investigates Genomic Instability in Cell Reprogramming
NYSCF Innovator Investigates Genomic Instability in Cell Reprogramming

Adult cells can be reprogrammed into stem cells through a technique called somatic cell nuclear transfer where the nucleus of the adult cell is transferred into an enucleated oocyte or egg cell. However, this process often causes the cell to stop dividing and growing. NYSCF – Robertson Stem Cell Investigator Dr. Dieter Egli and a team of researchers at Columbia University Medical Center studied why this developmental arrest happens. Published in Nature Cell Biology, the scientists showed that cell-type-specific features of cell cycle progression are different enough from one another to prevent the transition from one cell type to another during reprogramming, independent of gene expression. 

It is not yet known which type of stem cell derivation will result in the best cells for use in research, drug toxicity testing, and future cell replacement therapies. Understanding the causes and affects of reprogramming techniques on DNA and genome expression is a critical step towards better research, and new treatments and therapies. 

 

Read the paper in Nature Cell Biology >>

  • NYSCF Press Releases

    NYSCF Opens New Research Institute and Headquarters in Manhattan
    NYSCF officially opened its new state-of-the-art Research Institute and headquarters in Manhattan. The expanded NYSCF Research Institute will allow scientists to conduct the most advanced…

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    Partnership Results in the Availability of Fully-Sequenced Stem Cell Lines
    A collaboration beginning in 2013 between the NYSCF Research Institute and the Personal Genome Project (PGP) resulted in the availability of a unique new stem…

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    Feng Zhang Receives 2016 NYSCF – Robertson Stem Cell Prize
    NYSCF announced today that Feng Zhang, PhD, is the 2016 recipient of the NYSCF – Robertson Stem Cell Prize for his pioneering advances to edit…

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    NYSCF Announces the Six Members of the 2016 Class of NYSCF - Robertson Investigators
    NYSCF announced the 2016 class of NYSCF – Robertson Investigators, welcoming six of the most talented stem cell researchers and neuroscientists from around the world…

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    NYSCF Calls For Faster FDA Review to Curb Stem Cell Tourism Citing Baby Born Using Mitochondrial Replacement Therapy
    A report in The New Scientist presents claims that the first baby was born in Mexico by a New York based doctor using mitochondrial replacement…

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