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Stem Cell Technologies: Entering the Next Generation of Cellular Therapies

This article was originally published in Start Up

Executive Summary

With use of embryonic stem cells problematic because of ethical and technical issues, the competitive landscape in cell therapy is being shaped by the adult stem cell opportunity. The firms profiled in this issue are taking a variety of approaches. NeuroNova has shown that neural stem cells transplanted into mouse blastocysts could differentiate into heart, liver, and intestinal cells, and is using its stem cells as a drug discovery tool to identify a broader range of factors affecting cell differentiation in the brain it can potentially turn into drugs. Stem Cell Pharmaceuticals wants to build a franchise around TGF-alpha, which causes adult stem cells to proliferate, induces migration of new cells, and allows their subsequent differentiation into fully functional tissue. StemCo Biomedical has developed a way to measure intracellular activity of aldehyde dehydrogenase, an enzyme highly expressed in stem cells, as a marker for isolating the cells and separating them out. StemSource Inc. has created a stem cell bank for individuals to store their own stem cells, which the company isolates from adipose (fat) tissue, for future use.
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