Methuselah Foundation Fellowship Award Winner Tackles Research in Macular Degeneration 

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Typically, a fellowship and participation in a research study to cure a major disease would occur years after completing undergrad, possibly even after earning a PhD. But Jennifer DeRosa is not a typical student.

As early as high school, DeRosa was already in the lab, conducting research in plant biotechnology at the College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF) before graduating valedictorian from Skaneateles High School. As a freshman student at Onondaga Community College, she continued to develop skills in molecular biology, analytical chemistry, and cell biology. She logged over 1,600 hours in academic and industry laboratories while maintaining a perfect 4.0 GPA, completing her associate’s degree in Math and Science in only one year.

Although she had planned to continue to a bachelor’s program, DeRosa elected to defer enrollment after being offered a Methuselah Foundation research fellowship. “The fellowship provides distinguished students a year-long stipend to work in any laboratory of their choosing that conducts work on age-associated diseases,” said Methuselah Foundation CEO David Gobel. “We are very pleased that she chose to complete her fellowship at Ichor Therapeutics, where she has been working as a paid intern. Methuselah Foundation has a high degree of confidence in the quality and scope of work being conducted there.”

Her enthusiasm for her work has caught the attention of everyone who works with her. “Jennifer [DeRosa] has distinguished herself at every level since beginning as an intern in January,” stated Ichor’s Quality Assurance Director Scott Campbell. “We are delighted about her decision to stay on and help us drive our age-related macular degeneration program into the next stage of development, including adopting of stringent GMP and GLP regulatory requirements.”

DeRosa is excited about the research that Ichor Therapeutics is currently engaged in, as well as the opportunities to learn in areas beyond the science itself. She said, “I chose to intern at Ichor because as a startup, I knew it would allow me to explore entrepreneurship and take on a greater role than I otherwise could at a large company. Between being able to participate in board meetings, discuss legal and translational strategy with Ichor’s counsel and advisory teams, and meeting the company’s investors to better understand their expectations – Let’s just say it was a simple decision for me to remain here.”

DeRosa’s previous research at Ichor substantially and directly contributed to the company successfully raising $600,000 for its macular degeneration program earlier this summer. DeRosa was a listed author on both the research proposal and business plan, and is also listed on two pending grant applications.

Kelsey Moody, CEO at Ichor Therapeutics, noted, “The most difficult part of having her here is finding sufficient challenges. She has earned complete autonomy since her arrival. Beyond her expansive laboratory skills, she has designed her own studies, written proposals for grants, and led a small team to develop product leads for the macular-degeneration program.”

When her fellowship draws to a close, DeRosa intends to pursue a bachelor’s degree or matriculate directly into a graduate program. However, she plans to remain opportunistic. “The pace, progress, and potential impact of Ichor’s macular degeneration program is addicting. The company’s main focus now is to prepare for series A, after which, who knows what opportunities may present themselves.” 

Vascular Tissue Challenge Introduction Webinar

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Event Description

The Vascular Tissue Challenge is a $500,000 prize purse for the creation ofthick, human vascularized organ tissue in an in-vitro environment that maintains metabolic functionality similar to in vivo native cells throughout a 30-day trial period. The Methuselah Foundation’s New Organ Alliance and NASA’s Centennial Challenges Program have partnered to create this challenge with the goal of advancing research on human physiology, fundamental space biology, and medicine taking place both on the Earth and the ISS National Laboratory.

Additionally, the Center for Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) will be providing an additional “Innovations in Space” Award covering $200,000 in hardware costs and the launch costs to send one team’s vascular tissue experiment to the International Space Station that could further their research in the field.

This introductory webinar is for anyone interested in potentially competing for the Vascular Tissue Challenge. In the webinar we will discuss the following items:

  1. Introduction to the Methuselah Foundation, New Organ Alliance, and NASA Centennial Challenges.
  2. Goals of the Vascular Tissue Challenge.
  3. Rules & evaluation criteria review.
  4. Innovations in Space Awardresearch opportunity using microgravity environment onboard the ISS.
  5. Processes and Procedures to compete.
  6. Question & Answer session.

Registration is free, but is required. The web address for the webinar will be emailed to webinar registrants prior to the event.

WHEN

Episode 007 – Control Alt Delete Cancer Research into longevity, human health, ageing, New Organ Research including bioprinting liver, kidney, and other medical pursuits

 

Control Alt Del

Hello and welcome to Episode 7!  On this episode, we’ll talk with Dr. Haroldo Silva and David Halvorsen of the SENS Research Foundation.  They’ve launched a new crowdfunding campaign designed to attack and stop cancer using a new approach.  You’ll hear what that approach is, why they think it has a good chance of success, and you can help in the fight.

If you’d like to comment on the show, have a question or want to reach us, write Rod.Wheaton@MFoundation.org

To learn how you can help the Methuselah Foundation continue its mission to extend heathy human life, CLICK HERE

NASA’s Vascular Tissue Challenge to help in study of deep space environmental effects

NASA’s Vascular Tissue Challenge to help in study of deep space environmental effects

Those working in the field of bioengineering should be ready for a challenge worth $500,000. NASA, along with the nonprofit Methuselah Foundation’s New Organ Alliance, has introduced the new prize competition, named as the Vascular Tissue Challenge. The first three teams that will succeed in creating thick, metabolically-functional human vascularized organ tissue in a controlled laboratory environment will be offered the prize money.

The participants in the competition have to produce vascularized tissue that is more than .39 inches in thickness and one that would offer over 85% of survival to required cells throughout a 30-day trial period. The teams in order to succeed should conduct three trials with at least a 75% of success rate. Moreover, teams must submit a proposal on ways to advance some aspect of their research further through a microgravity experiment, which would be conducted in the US National Laboratory on the International Space Station.

Tissue is a combination of related cells joined together to function as…to read more, CLICK HERE

Longevity, ageing, research, cancer, new organs, bioprinting, nasa, sens, age, human, health,kidney,liver,transplant,organ,doctor,grants

BREAKING: Methuselah Partnering with NASA

June 13, 2016

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NASA Challenge Aims to Grow Human Tissue to Aid in Deep Space Exploration

NASA, in partnership with the nonprofit Methuselah Foundation’s New Organ Alliance, is seeking ways to advance the field of bioengineering through a new prize competition.

The Vascular Tissue Challenge offers a $500,000 prize to be divided among the first three teams that successfully create thick, metabolically-functional human vascularized organ tissue in a controlled laboratory environment.

“The humans who will be our deep space pioneers are our most important resource on the Journey to Mars and beyond,” said Steve Jurczyk, associate administrator for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate in Washington. “The outcome of this challenge has the potential to revolutionize healthcare on Earth, and could become part of an important set of tools used to minimize the negative effects of deep space on our future explorers.”

Related cells that are joined together are collectively referred to as tissue, and these cells work together as organs to accomplish specific functions in the human body. Blood vessels around the cells vascularize, providing nutrients to the tissue to keep it healthy. The vascularized, thick-tissue models resulting from this challenge will function as organ analogs, or models, that can be used to study deep space environmental effects, such as radiation, and to develop strategies to minimize the damage to healthy cells. 

Studying these effects will help create ways to mitigate negative effects of space travel on humans during long duration, deep space missions. On Earth, the vascularized tissue could be used in pharmaceutical testing or disease modeling. The challenge also could accelerate new research and development in the field of organ transplants.

When the Wright Brothers discovered how to control aircraft during flight for aviation in the early 1900s, there was an explosion of progress after this key barrier was removed”, said Dave Gobel, chief executive officer of the Methuselah Foundation. “In the same way, once the ‘vascularization limit’ is solved, via the NASA Vascular Tissue Challenge, there inevitably will be an historic advance in progress and commercialization of tissue engineering applications to everyone’s benefit.”

Competitors must produce vascularized tissue that is more than .39 inches (1 centimeter) in thickness and maintains more than 85 percent survival of the required cells throughout a 30-day trial period. Teams must demonstrate three successful trials with at least a 75 percent success rate to win an award. In addition to the laboratory trials, teams also must submit a proposal that details how they would further advance some aspect of their research through a microgravity experiment that could be conducted in the U.S. National Laboratory on the International Space Station.

The new challenge was announced as part of White House Organ Summit, which highlighted efforts to improve outcomes for individuals waiting for organ transplants and support for living donors. In a related initiative, the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), which manages the International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory, announced a follow-on prize competition in partnership with the New Organ Alliance and the Methuselah Foundation that will provide researchers the opportunity to conduct research in microgravity conditions. CASIS will provide one team up to $200,000 in flight integration support costs, along with transportation to the ISS National Laboratory, support on station and return of experimental samples to Earth. CASIS also announced the winners of the $1 million 3-D Microphysiological Systems for Organs-On-Chips Grand Challenge.

The Vascular Tissue Challenge prize purse is provided by NASA’s Centennial Challenges Program, part of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate. Centennial Challenges, managed by the agency’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, is NASA’s citizen inventor prize program that invites the nation to help advance the technologies that will enable us to go to Mars and beyond, as well as improve life on Earth. The New Organ Alliance, which is administering the competition on behalf of NASA, is a nonprofit organization focused on regenerative medicine research and development to benefit human disease research and tissue engineering.

For information about the Methuselah Foundation’s New Organ Alliance, official challenge documents, rules and schedule of events, visit:

https://neworgan.org/vtc-prize.php

For more information about the Vascular Tissue Challenge, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/vtchallenge

Turning science fiction into science fact

turningscien

April 29, 2016 by Lauren Flynn

Joints that can be reconstructed. New tissues or entire organs to replace those damaged in injury or disease. A transplant of healthy beta cells so a diabetic never needs an insulin injection again.

It sounds a bit like science fiction, but these are among the problems Western’s stem cell researchers are working on and may be a reality in the very near future. The Western stem cell community is growing and currently 17 Western labs and their trainees are members of the Ontario Institute of Regenerative Medicine (OIRM). These members are engaged in a wide range of research activities, from understanding the earliest steps in embryonic development, to harnessing the power of adult stem cells to direct tissue repair or replacement.
Dr. David Hess has more than a professional interest in stem cells.
“As a teen,” he said, “I underwent bone marrow transplantation to treat severe aplastic anemia, a disease where stem cells within the bone marrow fail to produce red blood cells that carry oxygen to our tissues, leukocytes that fight infection, and platelets involved in blood coagulation.”
So, why stem cells?
Well, for one, stem cells are rather captivating entities. They are captivating in their ability to create perfect replicas of themselves and also create more specific cells the body needs for survival every day. Roughly two million red blood cells are produced every second. The lining of your intestine, probably the most hostile environment in your body, is completely regenerated by stem cells every three days. However, stem cells have also been subject to more than their fair share of controversy in the form of ethical debate and, more recently, hype as the ‘magic bullet’ to cure all ails.

To continue reading, CLICK HERE

New protein injection reverses Alzheimer’s symptoms in mice in just one week Human trials are not far off.

New protein injection reverses Alzheimer’s symptoms in mice in just one week

Human trials are not far off.

BEC CREW
21 APR 2016
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Researchers have discovered that an injection of a protein called IL-33 can reverse Alzheimer’s-like symptoms and cognitive decline in mice, restoring their memory and cognitive function to the same levels as healthy mice in the space of one week.

Mice bred to develop a progressive Alzheimer’s-like disease as they aged (called APP/PS1 mice) were given daily injections of the protein, and it appeared to not only clear out the toxic amyloid plaques that are thought to trigger Alzheimer’s in humans, it also prevented more from forming.‌‌

“IL-33 is a protein produced by various cell types in the body and is particularly abundant in the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord),” says lead researcher, Eddy Liew from the University of Glasgow in the UK. “We found that injection of IL-33 into aged APP/PS1 mice rapidly improved their memory and cognitive function to that of the age-matched normal mice within a week.”

Before we go any further, we should make it clear that these results are restricted to mice only, and at this stage, we have no idea if they will translate at all in humans with Alzheimer’s.

And the odds aren’t great – one study put successful translation of positive results in mice to humans at a rate of about 8 percent, so we can never get too excited until we see how things fare in human trials.

To read more at the original post, CLICK HERE

Scientists grow skin that replicates function of tissue for first time

Skin grown with follicles, glands and nerves could transform burns treatment and offer alternative to animal testing

grown skin

Bioengineered skin complete with functioning hair follicles, glands and nerves has been grown using a new technique that could transform burns treatment and end cosmetics testing on animals.

Working with mice, scientists in Japan created the skin by first producing three-dimensional clumps of cells that resembled embryos in the womb.

They then implanted the so-called “embryoid bodies” into immune-deficient mice, where the cells developed further. Next, the maturing cells were grafted on to the bodies of other mice to complete their transformation into skin.

The end result was functional “integumentary tissue”, the deeply layered tissue that allows the skin to work as the body’s largest organ.Lead scientist Dr Takashi Tsuji, from the RIKEN Centre for Developmental Biology, said: “Up until now, artificial skin development has been hampered by the fact the skin lacked the important organs, such as hair follicles and exocrine glands, which allow the skin to play its important role in regulation.

“With this new technique, we have successfully grown skin that replicates the function of normal tissue.

Read more at:  www.theguardian.com/science/2016/apr/02/new-bioengineered-skin-could-transform-burns-treatment

‘Groundbreaking’ Stem Cell Treatment Could Regrow Limbs, Repair Bones

image: http://www.redorbit.com/media/uploads/2016/04/cells.jpg

Human cells isolated

APRIL 5, 2016

‘Groundbreaking’ stem cell treatment could regrow limbs, repair bones

In the pages of comic books and on the silver screen, superheroes like Wolverine and Deadpool have a “healing factor” that allows their bodies to regenerate and recover from injuries or illness at an amazing rate – but certainly nothing like that is possible in real life, right?

Amazingly, a team of scientists led by John Pimanda, a hematologist and associate professor at the University of New South Wales in Australia, published a study in Monday’s edition of the journal PNAS reporting that they had successfully reprogrammed bone and fat cells into induced multipotent stem cells (iMS) – the first step to making such a repair system a reality.

As they explained in a statement, stem cell therapies using iMS cells could theoretically repair a fractured bone or fix injured spinal discs, using a technique similar to how salamanders are able to regenerate lost limbs. These treatments could radically alter the field of regenerative medicine, and perhaps most surprisingly, the authors believe they could be available in just a few years.  The technique, which has been successfully tested in mice, “is a significant advance on many of the current unproven stem cell therapies, which have shown little or no objective evidence they contribute directly to new tissue formation,” Pimanda said.

Human trials could begin by the end of 2017

Read more at http://www.redorbit.com/news/health/1113413468/stem-cells-regrowth-040516/#EvTOIPDBBg2QCgD3.99

NASA Announces Plans for New Medical Frontier Challenge

DATE: 3-4-13 LOCATION: Bldg. 7, SSATA Chamber SUBJECT: STB-ST-990 - Crew Training, SSATA ISS Increment 36 EMU Dry Run (Crewmember Luca Parmitano). PHOTOGRAPHER: Lauren Harnett

NASA WANTS YOUR HELP

NASA is carrying forward its mission to reach out to new frontiers with the announcement today of plans for a “Vascular Tissue Challenge”, a $500,000 prize to be given to the team who can first develop vascular thick tissue that will lay the basis for treatments ranging everywhere from new tissue for burn victims to 3-D organ printing, and providing new organs for all who might need them, when they need them.

NASA has always reached beyond the limits of today. In the early 1960s, then U.S. President John F Kennedy issued a challenge to the science community to land a man on the moon and return him safely to the earth by the end of the decade. Think for a moment of the world in which President  Kennedy issued that challenge: less than 2 decades since jet propulsion had come into use, in which a journey to the moon seemed impossible. Only 60 years had passed from the first  Wright brothers flight at Kitty Hawk! But when Neil Armstrong laid the first human footprint on the moon’s surface on July 21st, 1969, the seeming impossible had become reality because forward-looking, brave men and women refused to accept false limitations in what they could accomplish.

Just as they did a generation ago, brave men and women at NASA and in the medical research community are looking forward to accomplishing what has been thought impossible: the creation of tissue and organs for all who in need.

As with the moon shot, what seemed a giant task is believed to be within reach.  To quote NASA’s website:

Developing this capability will enable new research initiatives that may bring real solutions to organ disease, skin burns and other medical concerns. NASA’s objective for this challenge is to produce viable thick-tissue assays above and beyond the current state of the art technology that can be used to advance research on human physiology, fundamental space biology, and medicine taking place both on the Earth and the ISS National Laboratory. Specifically, innovations may enable the growth of de novo tissues and organs on orbit which may address the risks related to traumatic bodily injury, improve general crew health, and enhance crew performance on future, long-duration mission.

NASA is inviting your feedback.  They would like to hear your thoughts on the rules, goals and competition parameters.  They would also like to hear the input of potential competitors for this prize as they look to move forward in the research and planning phase.  You can find the proposed rules and information HERE.

The Methuselah Foundation has the opportunity to work closely in the operation of this challenge.  Stay tuned for more in-depth information on what promises to be one of the most exciting medical prize challenges yet!

Be sure to look at projects the Methuselah Foundation has in progress!  Learn more about other Methuselah Foundation work including the Liver Prize,  our Bowhead Whale Study, the Methuselah Mouse Prize and more HERE.