E-Scape Bio announced an extension of its Series A funding to a total of $63 million.Created as a spin-off from research conducted at the Gladstone Institutes, E-Scape Bio is a biopharmaceutical company with a mission to develop new therapies to treat neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease.E-Scape Bio obtained an initial investment of $55 million Series A financing from a syndicate of five top-tier venture funds (OrbiMed, Novo Holding A/S, Novartis Venture Fund, Johnson & Johnson Innovation - JJDC, Inc., and Osage University Partners).Its newest investors include Lilly Asia Ventures and Sutter Hill Ventures.The biopharmaceutical company originated from the groundbreaking work of its scientific co-founders Yadong Huang, MD, PhD, and Robert Mahley, MD, PhD, two Gladstone senior investigators."Alzheimer's is a complex disease involving multiple factors," said Stephen Freedman, PhD, vice president of corporate liaison and ventures at Gladstone.
A new study details the successful reprogramming of certain immune cells that could lead to treatments for autoimmune diseases like psoriasis.The work was performed by researchers with the Gladstone Institutes, and it is made possible by a ‘small-molecule drug’ that essentially converts immune cells from the type that attack the body to the type that keep things in check.It could also prove effect for treating cancers.Immune cells are known as T cells, and they come in two varieties: regulatory, which keeps the immune system from running rogue and attacking a healthy body, and effector, which trigger the immune system into action.Autoimmune disorders are the result of a dysfunction with these cells, often resulting in the body attacking some healthy part of itself, such as causing inflamed, scaly skin in the case of psoriasis.Immune system dysfunction can go the other way, as well, resulting from a suppression of it that causes different sorts of diseases or cancers.
The study was partially funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the National Institutes of Health."This approach has the potential to revolutionize biomedical research," said Margaret Sutherland, Ph.D., program director at the NINDS.A dish, or culture, of neuronal cells appears uniform to the naked eye and the different, individual cells in it cannot be seen.A team led by Steven Finkbeiner, M.D., Ph.D., director and senior investigator at the Gladstone Institutes in San Francisco, and professor of neurology and physiology at the University of California, San Francisco, explored whether computers could be trained to identify structures in unstained cells."Every day our lab had been creating hundreds of images, much more than we could look at and analyze ourselves.The researchers used a method called Deep Learning, which relies on principles of machine learning, a type of artificial intelligence in which machines can learn from data and make decisions.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA--September 18, 2018-- About one person out of 500 has a heart condition known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM).This condition causes thickening of the heart muscle and results in defects in the heart's electrical system.3-D Construction Builds a Better Model of the HeartAlthough the genetic defects that lead to HCM are known, it has been difficult to understand how those mutations result in disease, in part because cells in a two-dimensional culture dish do not interact the same way cells in a three-dimensional organ do.Now, using the most advanced techniques in gene editing, stem cell generation, and three-dimensional cell culture, researchers from UC Berkeley and the Gladstone Institutes in San Francisco have for the first time developed a "microtissue" model of the heart in which they can study how common environmental stress affects normal and abnormal heart tissue.The study, published in Nature Biomedical Engineering, was a collaboration between the labs of Kevin Healy, PhD, the Jan Fandrianto and Selfia Halim Distinguished Professor of Engineering in the Departments of Bioengineering and Materials Science & Engineering at UC Berkeley, and Bruce Conklin, MD, a senior investigator at the Gladstone Institutes and professor of medicine at UC San Francisco.
CINCINNATI - Scientists working to bioengineer the entire human gastrointestinal system in a laboratory now report using pluripotent stem cells to grow human esophageal organoids.Published in the journal Cell Stem Cell the study is the latest advancement from researchers at the Cincinnati Children's Center for Stem Cell and Organoid Medicine (CuSTOM).The center is developing new ways to study birth defects and diseases that affect millions of people with gastrointestinal disorders, such as gastric reflux, cancer, etc.The newly published research is the first time scientists have been able to grow human esophageal tissue entirely from pluripotent stem cells (PSCs), which can form any tissue type in the body, according to the authors.Cincinnati Children's scientists and their multi-institutional collaborators already have used PSCs to bioengineer human intestine, stomach, colon and liver."In addition to being a new model to study birth defects like esophageal atresia, the organoids can be used to study diseases like eosinophilic esophagitis and Barrett's metaplasia, or to bioengineer genetically matched esophageal tissue for individual patients."
However, scientists have struggled to identify potential off-target effects in therapeutically relevant cell types, which remains the main barrier to moving therapies to the clinic.Now, a group of scientists at the Gladstone Institutes and the Innovative Genomics Institute (IGI), with collaborators at AstraZeneca, have developed a reliable method to do just that.The challenge is to ensure the tool doesn't also make cuts elsewhere along the DNA--damage referred to as "off-target effects," which could have unforeseen consequences."So, in order to survive, the cell recruits many different DNA repair factors to that particular site in the genome to fix the break and join the cut ends back together.We thought that if we could find the locations of these DNA repair factors, we could identify the sites that have been cut by CRISPR.""The human genome is extremely large--if you printed the entire DNA sequence, you would end up with a novel as tall as a 16-story building," explains Conklin, MD, senior investigator at Gladstone and deputy director at IGI.
In many patients, the exact cause of congenital heart disease is unknown.While it is becoming increasingly clear that these heart defects can be caused by genetic mutations, it is not well understood which genes are involved and how they interact.Yet experimental proof for this concept of human disease has remained elusive - until now.In a paper published May 31 in the journal Science, scientists from the Gladstone Institutes and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) used technological advances to prove that three subtle genetic variants inherited within a family worked together to cause heart disease in multiple siblings at a very young age."With the advent of CRISPR genome editing and improvements in human pluripotent stem cell technology, we felt that we finally had the right tools to test this hypothesis once we found the right case to study."The right case turned out to be a family in which multiple children suffered from the same form of severe congenital heart disease that resulted in poor pumping of the heart.
An international collaboration of researchers from the RIKEN Center for Biosystems Dynamics Research (BDR) in Japan and Gladstone Institutes in the USA have generated 3D blastocyst-like structures from stem cells.After many more cell divisions, the embryo turns into a blastocyst that is implanted in the womb where it differentiates and grows into a fetus.Inside are pluripotent cells--cells that can become any type of cell in the body, but not the placenta--while the outer shell is made from trophoblasts--cells that eventually form the placenta.For several years, scientists have been able to convert somatic cells--like skin cells--into pluripotent cells.In an earlier study conducted at Gladstone, authors Cody Kime and Kiichiro Tomoda were able to convert pluripotent mouse cells from an implanted-like state to a pre-implanted state.As Kime explains, "over seven years ago, our reprogramming experiments suggested that we had found a way to increase cell potency beyond pluripotency, which was unlikely and had not been seen before.
(European Molecular Biology Laboratory - European Bioinformatics Institute) Scientists gathered and published over 200 000 genomes from the human gut microbiome. The catalogue reveals that more than 70% of bacterial species in the human gut have never been grown in the lab. This new data resource could be extremely useful to investigate how the bacterial community in the human gut influences human health and disease.
(Gladstone Institutes) Scientists at Gladstone Institutes have developed such an approach using "neural nets"--artificial intelligence programs that can detect patterns--to analyze the locations of hundreds of cells growing together in a colony. When they applied the technique to a group of stem cells, the program revealed that a small number of cells act as "leaders," able to direct the movements of their neighbors.
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