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In Vascular Disease, a Sustainable Model for Cell Therapy

This article was originally published in Start Up

Executive Summary

If there's one word that ought to sum up the goal of cell therapy today, it's sustainability. Certainly that's the hope of using living cells to restore health and function to diseased tissues so that they perform as the body intended them to. But more to the point, in today's tough financing environment for venture-capital-backed start-ups, sustainability is the watchword for companies facing 15- to 20-year development curves. Tissue-engineered three-dimensional organs are complex, decades-long projects. Embryonic stem cells are much simpler in concept but are far from a commercial reality. Between those two extremes of tissue-engineering, however, there exist some well-defined opportunities, notably in the treatment of blood vessel disease. Start-ups Pervasis and Cytograft are gaining clinical validation in those areas.

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Recent research advances and relaxation of government restrictions have opened the stem cell field to product possibilities. Companies developing these potentially revolutionary products must also come up with workable business models. In this issue we profile five emerging contenders: Amorcyte, California Stem Cell, Cardio3 BioSciences, CellDesign and Fate Therapeutics.

Stem Cell Therapy for Cardiovascular Disease-Progress Despite Economic Turmoil

The Fifth International Conference on Cell Therapy for Cardiovascular Disease is one of the largest medical meetings focused solely on cell-based therapies for cardiac repair and regeneration. While the primary focus during this year's meeting was on cardiac repair, vascular restoration and construction, critical limb ischemia, and noncardiac applications were also presented. Despite a difficult investment environment, optimism remains high with some therapies undergoing approval assessment.

Harvest Steps into Stem Cells

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