Monday, September 21, 2009


Multi-media Production Dovetails with 2009 World Stem Cell Summit in Baltimore.

September 21, 2009- Johns Hopkins Medicine, a co-host of the 2009 World Stem Cell Summit, is telling a comprehensive stem cell story via a new interactive Web site on which its researchers and clinicians collectively describe their explorations into stem cell biology and engineering.

The production, which launches today, emphasizes applications of stem cell technologies in regenerative medicine and underscores the collaborative effort that is fundamental to translational research.

Highlights of the site include everything from a narrated timeline of stem cell research to a video feature of a Hopkins patient, physician and bench scientist who are linked by stem cell research as it relates to Parkinson’s Disease.

Hopkins experts also weigh in on state-of-the-art issues of ethics and safety as they apply to stem cells.

The World Stem Cell Summit, which takes place Sept. 21-23 at the Baltimore Convention Center, brings together more than 100 speakers—governors, federal officials, top researchers and scientists— who will present and discuss new federal stem cell policies, scientific breakthroughs and human interest stories to an audience of more than 1,200 experts from more than 25 countries and across the United States.

Speakers include: Linzhao Cheng, Ph.D., associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology, Johns Hopkins Institute for Cell Engineering; Chi V. Dang, M.D., Ph.D., vice dean for research, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; Valina Dawson, Ph.D., professor, Department of Neurology, Neuroscience and Physiology, Institute for Cell Engineering; Jennifer Elisseeff, Ph.D., associate professor of biomedical engineering, Johns Hopkins University.

Also speaking: Richard J. Jones, M.D., professor of oncology and medicine, director of the Bone Marrow Transplantation Program and co-director of the Hematologic Malignancies Program at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins.Also, Jeffrey D. Rothstein, M.D., Ph.D., co-director, Brain Science Center, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

The speakers also include: Hongjun Song, Ph.D., associate professor of neurology, Institute for Cell Engineering, Johns Hopkins University; Jeremy Sugarman, M.D., M.P.H., M.A., Harvey M. Meyerhoff Professor of Bioethics and Medicine, Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics and Department of Medicine; and Wesley D. Blakeslee, J.D., executive director, Johns Hopkins Technology Transfer, Johns Hopkins University.

The World Stem Cell Summit is the only conference that combines this mix of researchers, policymakers, business leaders, and ethics and legal advocates to share, explore and discuss the latest breakthroughs and advancements in the emerging field of stem cells.

Demonstrations and discussions will range from tracking how reprogrammed stem cells (iPSCs) might complement the use of embryonic stem cells to stem cells used in regenerative medicine and how new devices such as stem cell integrated fluidic circuits might soon automate and simplify the entire process.

Follow the latest on the conference arrangements on the Web and Twitter.

Story possibilities will be posted by participating universities and agencies on the conference news blog.

Conference media contacts:
Alan Fernandez
Howard High; 650-266-6081 (office); 510-786-7378 (mobile)

On the Web:
Stem Cell Research at Johns Hopkins:
Conference Web site:
Conference Twitter site:
Conference news blog:

Friday, September 18, 2009

Summit Participants Invited to Tour UM BioPark Companies

World Stem Cell Summit participants are invited to the University of Maryland BioPark Tuesday to tour Paragon Bioservices and its new preclinical laboratories and the cGMP manufacturing suites at the University of Maryland BioPark.

Paragon, a CMO specializing in the development and manufacturing of biologics, is located just 5 minutes from the World Stem Cell Summit. Shuttle Transportation will be provided.

20 minute tours are scheduled Tuesday, September 22, between 2:30 pm and 4:30 pm

Space is limited. Please stop by Paragon's booth, #120, at the conference for more information or to register to attend a tour.

Contact: Jessica Boehmer
Sales & Business Development Representative
Paragon Bioservices, Inc.
801 West Baltimore Street Suite 401
Baltimore, MD 21201
Desk: 410.975.4064
Mobile: 410.916.1310
Reception: 410.975.4050
Fax: 410.605.2028

Research Collaboration Agreement with California to be Signed at Summit

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley will witness signing and provide remarks

In connection to the symposium, the State of Maryland and the State of California will enter into a formal stem cell research collaboration agreement. The agreement, which will be signed at the Summit, will make it easier for researchers in California and Maryland to collaborate and obtain joint funding to facilitate groundbreaking stem cell research.

Governor Martin O’Malley will witness the signing of the agreement and provide remarks.

The Maryland Stem Cell Research Commission (Commission) will host the second annual Maryland Stem Cell Symposium on Monday, Sept. 21 at the 2009 World Stem Cell Summit. The symposium will allow Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund (MSCRF) awardees to present notable findings in stem cell research. Posters and presentations from over 80 Maryland-supported stem cell scientists will take place throughout the morning.

12:50 p.m.-- Remarks by Governor O’Malley at the 2009 World Stem Cell Summit
1:20 p.m. -- Signing of Collaboration Agreement between Maryland and California

Baltimore Convention Center, Ballrooms I-IV, Level 400, 1 W. Pratt Street, Baltimore,

Media Contact: Kathleen Shaffer 410-902-5053

UM School of Medicine Teaches Stem Cell 101

UM School of Medicine Brings Science of Stem Cells to Community, High School Students in “Stem Cells 101” Program at World Stem Cell Summit

Date of Event: September 21, 2009
Time: 9 am to 1:20 p.m.
Where: Baltimore Convention Center 1 West Pratt Street Baltimore, MD 21201
What: Scientists from the University of Maryland School of Medicine will help kick-off the World Stem Cell Summit in Baltimore on Monday, September 21, with a program called “Stem Cell Science and Medicine 101.”

The program is designed to educate community members — including a group of nearly 40 Baltimore high school students — about the science of stem cells and their potential for medical breakthroughs. The students will see about 240 scientific posters on display at the World Stem Cell Summit and hear lectures presented by world renowned scientists Curt Civin, M.D. — co-chair of the summit — and Larry Anderson, Ph.D.

Following the lectures, at about 12 p.m., the students will move outside to welcome Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley when he arrives. The Governor will present the summit’s keynote address at about 1 p.m. that day. The following evening, he will receive a Stem Cell Action award for his support of stem cell research.

Throughout Monday’s activities, the high school students and community members will be guided by groups of students from the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the other schools on the University of Maryland, Baltimore campus. A group of about 40 high school students from the Vivien T. Thomas Medical Arts Academy in West Baltimore will attend the event. The school’s curriculum is designed to prepare students for future careers in medicine, including scientific research. The school and the University of Maryland School of Medicine have an ongoing partnership that includes regular interactions between the high school students and School of Medicine faculty and students.

“Reaching out to enhance the community’s appreciation of the science of stem cells and their medical potential is a key part of advancing the field of stem cell research,” says Dr. Civin, director of the University of Maryland Center for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine and associate dean for research of the University of Maryland School of Medicine. “With presentations like this, we are hoping to catch the interest of new generations of stem cell researchers and advocates in order to ensure the future of this important field.”

The tour of poster presentations will take place from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Dr. Civin will present from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., and Dr. Anderson — a professor in the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology at the School of Medicine — will present from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Media are invited to cover the entire Stem Cells 101 program, including the governor’s arrival at around 12:15 p.m. and his keynote address at 12:50 p.m.

Contacts: Karen Buckelew, University of Maryland School of Medicine Media Relations, office: (410) 706-7590; mobile (410) 456-3705;

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Fact Sheet: Attendees to World Stem Cell Summit

Number of attendees: 1,200+

From: 40 states and 27 countries including USA, Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica, Brazil, Peru, Argentina, UK, France, Spain, Germany, Israel, Czech Republic, Japan, China, Tawain, Singapore, Australia, India, Beleraus, Russia, Portugal, Ukraine, Indonesia, Nigeria, South Africa.

Most are registered for the entire 3 day conference. Some arriving a couple of days early.

50 exhibitors apart from 200 sponsors, supporting organizations, and media partners.

See logos on web site

If you have any questions please call me at 305-801-4928 cell.
Bernie Siegel

Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund Factsheet

The Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund has awarded 141 grants to date and there is considerable variety among the research funded. It includes:

· Mix of investigator-initiated, exploratory and post doctoral grants

· Mix of human stem cells – adult, embryonic, cancer stem cells, iPS – or combination

· Mix of basic and translational projects on diseases and conditions – Blood diseases; Schizophrenia; Neural; Spinal cord injury; Central Nervous System; Genetic development; Burn wounds; Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; Multiple peripheral nerve regeneration; Pancreas; Neurodegenerative Diseases; Acute myeloid leukemia; Multiple leukemia; Brain tumor; Development; Lungs; Multiple cancer; Coronary; Heart disease; Myocardial infarction; Molecular biology; Type 1 Diabetes; Human pluripotent stem cell; Vascular; Neonatal stroke; Retinal degenerative; Generate insulin-producing beta-cells; Neural hematopoiesis; Human erythropoiesis; Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia; Vascular diseases; Brain pathology; Mesenchymal stem cell differentiation; Ewing Sarcoma; Muscular Dystrophy; Chronic pancreatitis, Pancreatic adenocarcinoma; Glioblastoma; Parkinson's disease; Cystic Fibrosis; Chemo-resistance; Bone; Gaucher's; Breast cancer; Osteoarthritis; Transplantation; Paroxysmal Nocturnal Hemoglobinuria (PNH); Liver; Alzheimer's disease; Peripheral Arterial Disease; Prostate cancer

· Mix of institutions and collaborations – majority to Johns Hopkins Institutes and University System of Maryland; three grants to private companies; there are several private collaborators working with academic institutions and collaboration from the University of Pennsylvania, The Scripps Research Institute, University of Newcastle, NIH, and cross campus collaboration within Maryland’s public and private research institutions

These 141 grants are supporting research directly involving over 350 researchers, physicians, lab technicians, and other personnel and an estimated 700 researchers indirectly working in labs supported by the research grants.

While the Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund supported 141 new research grants in just three years, during the same period the NIH funded only two new awards on human stem cells to Maryland researchers. Assuming a perfect world that all of the actions noted below will happen in a timely manner and the NIH will see its budget increased, Maryland will only likely receive four grants for human stem cell research based on historical data.

As job creation is important to the State in these challenging economic times, the post doc fellowships are direct high paying new jobs of PhDs and MDs. It is more important now more than ever to support research as private foundations that were supporting research are not only holding back, they are receiving far less from their traditional supporters. Scientists will leave Maryland’s universities to work for NIH and other federal agencies.

Based on the language of the Executive Order signed by President Obama on March 9, 2009, additional actions are still necessary to accomplish his goal of federally funded embryonic stem cell research. These actions will take many months to over a year to accomplish and will still leave in place the Dickey-Wicker Amendment of 1995 that prohibits federal funding for research that involves the creation or destruction of human embryos.

Maryland cannot sit back and wait, and risk losing the momentum and investments in stem cell research and economic development made to date. When federal policies, guidelines, and appropriations are solidified, Maryland’s stem cell research community will be poised to successfully compete for federal funding, with years of data and research supporting their requests.

The Governor and the General Assembly have selected a tremendously talented group of individuals to serve on the Maryland Stem Cell Research Commission and they have been working hard, leading and not following the Federal government, and they will continue to do so. In FY2007 there were 85 applications for the initial $15M; however, interest in the program is only growing: in FY2008 there were 122 applications, and in FY2009 there were 147 applications while the budget has been decreasing from $23M to $18M and $12.4M for FY2010. Any cessation of the program would be devastating to Maryland’s research community and to Maryland’s international reputation as a leader in stem cell research.

Maryland is hosting the World Stem Cell Summit, September 21-23, 2009. This will be the only scientific showcase of stem cell research in North America this year. Every researcher who has received funding from the MSCRF is required to present their research to date during the Summit.

For more information, contact Dan Gincel (410) 715-4172.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


September 16, 2009 (Baltimore, MD) – Representatives from the Kennedy Krieger Institute will take part in the 2009 World Stem Cell Summit beginning September 21 in Baltimore, Md. Kennedy Krieger will join more than 1,200 of the world’s most influential stem cell stakeholders, through participation in the following:

Concurrent Session
SOCIETY TRACK: Stem Cell Progress Report—Spinal Cord Injury and Multiple Sclerosis -- Tuesday, September 22, 4:40 p.m. - 6:10 p.m.

Dr. John McDonald, Director of the International Center for Spinal Cord Injury at Kennedy Krieger Institute, and Josh Basile, a spinal cord injury patient at Kennedy Krieger, will join the panel to speak on recent stem cell progress surrounding spinal cord injury. Dr. McDonald will focus on embryonic stem cell transplantation in the injured spinal cord. He will also discuss spontaneous spinal cord repair and recovery as well as using endogenous stem cells for repair through activity-based restoration strategies and principles of brain activity.

Josh Basile will share his patient perspective, addressing the importance of advocacy and the role patients play in motivating scientists and the country toward future cures. Mr. Basile hopes that his discussion will inspire attendees to influence the direction of this potentially life-changing research.

Other panelists include Peter Kiernan from the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, Wise Young from W.M. Keck Center for Collaborative Neuroscience, and Jane Lebkowski from Geron. The panel will be moderated by Thomas Scalea from the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine World Impact Poster Forum
Poster Title: Human Cord Blood Stem Cells in a Mouse Model of Neonatal Stroke

Posters will be viewable throughout the day from Monday September 21 through Wednesday September 23.

Through this exploratory study, Dr. Anne Comi and colleagues bring together a new collaboration to work on the understudied clinical problem of stroke in the immature brain. The study examines how human cord blood derived stem cells enhance endogenous neurogenesis (the process by which neurons are created), and lays the groundwork for future research on methods and interventional strategies clinically relevant to neonatal and infant stroke brain injury.

About the World Stem Cell Summit
The 2009 World Stem Cell Summit will be held in Baltimore, Maryland from September 21st - 23rd. Presented by the Genetics Policy Institute, the Summit brings together the founding visionary researchers, clinicians, business pathfinders, key policy-makers, regulators, advocates, experts in law and ethics to present compelling presentations, share information, and together chart the future of regenerative medicine.

About the Kennedy Krieger Institute
Internationally recognized for improving the lives of children and adolescents with disorders and injuries of the brain and spinal cord, the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, MD serves more than 13,000 individuals each year through inpatient and outpatient clinics, home and community services and school-based programs. Kennedy Krieger provides a wide range of services for children with developmental concerns mild to severe, and is home to a team of investigators who are contributing to the understanding of how disorders develop while pioneering new interventions and earlier diagnosis. For more information on Kennedy Krieger Institute, visit

Friday, September 11, 2009

National Dental Museum Features Stem Cell Research during World Stem Cell Summit

The ‘Your Spitting Image’ exhibit on display at the National Museum of Dentistry features cutting-edge research that is being done using adult dental stem cells to grow replacement teeth. Bioengineers are already growing the crowns and roots of teeth, and it is anticipated that within the next 20 years we may be able to replace missing teeth with teeth of our own making. The exhibit explores how stem cells behave to form new teeth, and the scaffolding used to grow the stem cells into a tooth root form is on display.

The ‘Your Spitting Image’ exhibit explores the role of genetics in dentistry and what our mouths reveal about us. Visitors can find out how forensic scientists use dental records and DNA analysis to solve real missing person cases, discover the secrets revealed by saliva, and find out how your mouth is a window to health for our bodies.

The National Museum of Dentistry is located on the campus of the University of Maryland Baltimore at 31 S. Greene Street at Lombard. The Museum is open Wednesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Sunday, 1-4 p.m. Admission is $7 for adults, $5 for seniors and college students with ID, UMB employees, and $3 for kids ages 3-18. Visit for more information.

Museum media contact: Amy Pelsinsky / / 410.706.0052

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Stem Cell Chip is Expected to Be Available to the Market Next Year

28 August 2009

FLUIDIGM has announced it will provide a status update on its ground-breaking Stem Cell Chip at the World Stem Cell Summit in Baltimore, Maryland, USA, due to take place 21 to 23 September 2009.

The Stem Cell Chip is expected to be available to the market next year.

The World Stem Cell Summit hopes to bring together the stem cell universe of researchers, ReGEN industry leaders, funders, medical philanthropies, policy-makers, advocates, educators and regulators to chart the future of regenerative medicine.

Organizers say the comprehensive, multi-track program will cover advanced science, commercial perspectives, disease progress reports and in-depth reviews of policy, law, ethics, regulatory issues and global economic development.

Fluidigm says historically, gene expression profiling of single cells, such as stem cells, has been difficult and expensive to perform. The company believes results from single-cell samples can be obtained easily and inexpensively using BioMark System and the company's Dynamic Array integrated fluidic circuits (IFCs).

Fluidigm claims Dynamic Array IFCs are ideally suited for high-throughput cell-line studies to determine individual cell behaviour in a homozygous population.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Expansion, funding could inject new life into stem cell research

By Jay Wilcox
September, 2009
Corridor Inc. news magazine

Hospitals and research facilities are a major part of the corridor's economy. Added research funding, particularly in stem cell research, could boost the local economy.

"At the Greater Baltimore Committee, we see bioscience and health care as one of the center points of economic growth, because of all the educational facilities we have," said Don Fry, president of the Greater Baltimore Committee. "Having a highly-educated workforce usually attracts people in the bioscience field to want to work in our region."

Because of facilities like Johns Hopkins Medical Center and University of Maryland Medical System, the corridor could see a sizable chunk of federal funding for stem cell research.

Right now, at least in Maryland, a lot of the primary stem cell research is in the academic institutions," said Richard Zakour, director of the Tech Council of Maryland.

"The Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund supports 141 research projects," said Dan Gincel, director of MSCRF. "These 141 grants are supporting research directly involving over 350 researchers, physicians, lab technicians and other personnel and an estimated 700 researchers indirectly working in labs supported by research grants. The Post Doctoral Fellowship Grants support high-paying new jobs for PhDs and MDs. Expanding the program would certainly create additional direct and indirect jobs."

Maryland currently is home to more than 400 bioscience companies and 50 federal centers of research, and medicine is a big part of the economy. New facilities are on the way, as more big names enter the corridor.

RNL Biostar, a subsidiary of South Korea's RNL Bio Inc., is investing $6 million in the construction of a new stem cell research and manufacturing facility in Germantown. The company aims to occupy a total of 20,000 square feet in Montgomery County by 2014. The majority of its employees will be cell-manufacturing technicians,with an average annual salary of $50,000.

Gov. Martin O'Malley recently cut another $3 million from Maryland's 2009 stem cell research budget, the fourth such cut in the past 15 months. The research fund is now at $12.4 million dollars, about half of the $24 million it had in 2008.

"The governor faced some pretty difficult decisions in having to reduce a $14 million office budget," said Shaun Adamec, spokesman for the governor's office. "The federal government has really revamped their effort and priority of funding stem cell research, which allows the state to not be alone in the game."

Despite budget cuts, research remains strong. In May, the Maryland Stem Cell Research Commission evaluated 147 project applications, according to a release. The board of directors for TEDCO reviewed the commission's recommendations and approved 59 projects for a total of $18.9 million in funding.

In the research community, optimism abounds.

"Maryland cannot sit back and wait, and risk losing the momentum and investments in stern cell research and economic development made to date," Gincel said. 'When federal policies, guidelines and appropriations are solidified, Maryland's stem cell research community will be poised to successfully compete for federal funding, with years of data and research supporting their requests."

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Fluidigm Developing Stem Cell, Sample Prep, and Higher-Throughput Genotyping Chips
August 18, 2009
Newsletter: BioArray News
By Justin Petrone

Fluidigm is deep into a product-development cycle that will result in the commercialization of new biochips for stem cell studies, sample preparation, and higher-throughput genotyping, according to company officials.

While launch dates for the new products are still undetermined, the South San Francisco, Calif.-based integrated fluidic circuit maker expects the new chips to roll out over the next two years.
Founded in 1999, Fluidigm already makes and sells IFCs embedded in silicone for SNP genotyping, single-cell gene expression, copy-number, and gene-expression studies, second-generation sequencing sample preparation, and protein crystallization.

Fluidigm officials told BioArray News during a site visit earlier this month that the new products will build on the firm’s expertise in these applications.

Stem Cell Chip
Chief Scientific Officer Marc Unger said that the firm is developing a new chip that should address the needs of the stem cell research market. The chip will be based on a prototype developed by Fluidigm co-founder and scientific advisory board member Stephen Quake, a professor of bioengineering at Stanford University.

In 2008, Fluidigm and San Diego stem cell reagent supplier Stemgent received a $750,000 grant from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine to develop a cell culture chip.

Fluidigm's IFCs are already being used by stem cell researchers for single-cell gene expression studies. In June, the firm said that Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto University and Toshio Suda of Keio University, both in Japan, had adopted its BioMark platform for use in their studies (see BAN 6/30/2009).

Unger said that the new chip in development should simplify protocols recently developed to turn differentiated cells into stem cells, and to reprogram stem cells to redifferentiate in a desired way.

"There are some very interesting developments that have happened in the stem cell field in the last year and a half," Unger told BioArray News. "Dr. Yamanaka, specifically, took stem cells and turned them into pluripotent stem cells," he said. "However, that protocol was long and with low efficiency. Yamanaka's protocol took 30 days and had 25-percent efficiency."

Even though scientists can now turn differentiated cells into stem cells, they must also redifferentiate them before attempting to use them therapeutically, Unger said. "Those cells can turn into anything and they do, like hair, fingers, or teeth. So you need to reprogram the cells into the appropriate type in order to use them therapeutically. "It is very difficult to do that using welled plates,” he added. “It's difficult to get the conditions uniform and it is very labor intensive."

According to Unger, Fluidigm will be able to simplify the protocol for turning differentiated cells into stem cells and redifferentiating them by locating the processes in one integrated fluidic circuit. This stem cell chip is expected to launch in late 2010. It will have 64 chambers with controls to automatically feed cells in the chambers and provide a medium in which the researcher can individually and automatically dose the cells in a chamber with up to 16 different reagents, according to Unger.

Fluidigm is also developing a supporting instrumentation system that will control the elements on the stem cell IFC and allow researchers to modify the composition of the medium delivered to each chamber in the chip over time, Unger said. The system will also provide time-lapse microscopic images in both transmitted light and fluorescence of the cells so the researchers can consistently monitor the progress of their experiments, he said.

Fluidigm spokesperson Howard High told BioArray News that the market for stem cell research tools is an "emerging and huge area" that the firm views as a "big opportunity." He said that Fluidigm currently has a presence in the market and "intends to remain a significant player as this stem cell area emerges."

Unger said that large pharmaceutical companies are beginning to show an interest in stem cell research, making them potential target customers for the stem cell chip in development.

"Big pharma is making small-molecule drugs, but they are kind of reaching the end of the road and it is getting more expensive to develop them," Unger said. "There are limitations on what small-molecule drugs can do that cells don't have. Cells take hold, grow, and can replenish themselves."

If pharma companies seized on that opportunity, it would "open up a new continent in terms of what therapeutics could do," Unger said.

Sample Processor and Higher-Throughput Genotyping
Another IFC in development at Fluidigm is being referred to as a sample processor chip. According to High, users could input raw samples, such as blood, directly into the integrated fluidic circuit and the chip would extract and purify what the user desires to analyze, such as DNA, RNA, proteins, or other biomolecules.

"This is the automation of the sample-prep process," High said of the system, which the company expects to launch in 2010 or 2011. "For us, it’s a way to simplify and reduce cost for the researcher by automating the process with the chip."

Fluidigm says the sample processor chip builds on its BioMark system, which enables users to perform quantitative PCR, gene expression, and genotyping on one system. "If you look at Fluidigm’s BioMark System for genetic analysis, it starts with DNA or RNA and then amplifies and analyzes those materials," High said. "The sample processor is one step upstream of what the BioMark system does."

While Fluidigm develops the sample processor it is also looking to increase the density of its integrated fluidic circuits. The current 96.96 Dynamic Arrays it sells for use on the BioMark allow users to run 96 different samples on 96 distinct genetic markers. High said that Fluidigm hopes next year to launch chips that will enable users to run 192 different samples in assays of up to either 24 or 96 markers.

Internally, Fluidigm refers to the new higher-density IFCs as "rectangular chips" because they don’t follow its existing square matrix. High said that the genotyping market would most immediately benefit from the higher-density IFCs.

"Genotyping will be the initial market segment where these chips will be targeted," High said. "It could ultimately be used in other areas, but the customers’ desire is to reduce the cost of a given data point by focusing specifically on their points of interest, [which] allows them to just study the markers they are after and minimize them to the greatest extent possible. These types of chips would allow them to utilize the capabilities of a given chip to the best of their ability," he said.

High cited the agricultural biotechnology market as a customer segment that is demanding higher-density chips that offer lower cost per data point. In May, for example, the firm said that Dutch seed producer Enza Zaden had selected its BioMark System for genetic engineering and would use its 96.96 Dynamic Arrays to ensure the quality of its feed supply .

High said that rectangular chips will also "add value" for researchers conducting single-cell gene expression. "In this market segment, cost is not the primary concern," High said. "Here researchers want to study many genes using very little sample," he said. "The ability for maximum utilization off of a rare or small sample will have them tap into the properties of a 192x24 chip, for example."

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Stem Cell Action Honorees

Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley Leads Distinguished
Group of 2009 “Stem Cell Action” Honorees

5th Annual Stem Cell Action Awards Presented at 2009 World Stem Cell Summit in Baltimore

WASHINGTON--The Genetics Policy Institute (GPI) will honor Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), two leading Michigan stem cell organizations and two patient-advocates who serve on the Maryland Stem Cell Commission at its 5th annual Stem Cell Action Awards dinner on Tuesday, September 22, at the Baltimore Hilton as part of the 2009 World Stem Cell Summit in Baltimore, Maryland.

Here are the 2009 Stem Cell Action honorees:

1. Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley (National Leadership Award) - Since taking office, Governor O’Malley has spearheaded a number of strategic investments in Maryland’s bioscience industry. In addition to creating the Life Science Advisory Board, he has been instrumental in securing funding for bio initiatives, including $59 million over three years for Maryland’s Stem Cell Research Fund, thereby continuing Maryland’s innovative leadership in the burgeoning field of regenerative medicine. He serves as a national example of effective governmental leadership in the field of regenerative medicine.

2. The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International (JDRF) (International Advocacy Award) - JDRF is the global leader in research leading to a cure for type 1 diabetes. It sets the agenda for type 1 diabetes research, and is the largest charitable funder and advocate of diabetes science worldwide. JDRF has played a historic role in advocating for new federal funding guidelines for stem cell research, and has also directly funded diabetes research into the use of adult, embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells in the pursuit of a cure for diabetes.

3. Michigan Citizens for Stem Cell Research & Cures (Education Award) - MCSCRC is dedicated to educating the citizens of the State of Michigan, including public officials and policy makers, about the complex science, the biomedical potential and the current policies affecting stem cell research in Michigan. In 3 years the organization engaged in over 300 presentations, 10 radio programs and 11 cable and television shows for a statewide educational program that reached over 2 million citizens throughout the state.

4. Cure Michigan (Grassroots Advocacy Award) - In 2008, 2.5 million citizens of Michigan voted to protect embryonic stem cell research in the state constitution. Cure Michigan organized this successful ballot initiative campaign and remains Michigan's leader promoting the advancement of state and national embryonic stem cell research and policy.

5. Margaret Conn Himelfarb, (Inspiration Award) - Margaret, whose son has type 1 diabetes, has worked tirelessly and effectively to promote stem cell research. She founded the coalition Maryland Families for Stem Cell Research and led the statewide grassroots campaign for stem cell research funding. She serves on the Maryland Stem Cell Research Commission, the Johns Hopkins Embryonic Stem Cell Research Oversight Committee, and JDRF’s International Board of Chancellors. A legendary advocate for JDRF, Margaret spearheaded the successful national campaign for a Diabetes Awareness postage stamp.

6. John L. Kellermann, III (Inspiration Award) - John has courageously battled Parkinson’s disease with his characteristic resilience and courage. He made an important leadership contribution to the grassroots organization Maryland Families for Stem Cell Research. An exemplary and inspiring voice for patients and their families, John testified both in Annapolis and Washington in favor of stem cell research. He serves is a member of the Maryland Stem Cell Research Commission.

"The Genetics Policy Institute’s Stem Cell Action Awards, presented at the World Stem Cell Summit, honor dedicated individuals and organizations that significantly advance the cause of stem cell research. These honorees are heroes. Their actions bring us closer to the day when scientific discoveries will translate into effective treatments and cures,” said Bernard Siegel, Executive Director of GPI.

Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm stated, "I congratulate Michigan Citizens for Stem Cell Research & Cures and Cure Michigan for this well-deserved honor. Stem cell sciences are the vanguard of innovation technologies that will spur economic growth in the coming decades and this recognition underscores Michigan's transformation as a biotechnology leader."

The World Stem Cell Summit is presented by GPI and by Johns Hopkins University, the University System of Maryland, University of Maryland-Baltimore, Maryland Department of Business & Economic Development, Maryland Technology Development Corporation and Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund. This event has garnered more than 150 sponsors, supporting organizations and media partners. It is the flagship networking conference bringing together the world stem cell community.

For information on how to register for the World Stem Cell Summit or to sponsor and attend the Stem Cell Action Awards Dinner, visit Policy Institute (GPI) supports stem cell research to develop therapeutics and cures. GPI pursues its mission by honoring leadership through the Stem Cell Action Awards, producing the World Stem Cell Summit, publishing the World Stem Cell Report, organizing educational initiatives and fostering strategic collaborations.

For more information about GPI, visit or call 888-238-1423.

The Genetics Policy Institute
Bernard Siegel, 305-801-4928

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

World Stem Cell Summit Coming to Baltimore

World Stem Cell Summit to be held in Baltimore
Baltimore Convention Center September 21-23, 2009

This summit will attract more than 1,200 experts from more than 25 countries and across the United States. It will feature more than 100 speakers, including governors, federal officials, and top researchers and scientists and will discuss new federal stem cell policies, scientific breakthroughs, and human-interest stories. This is your chance to meet and talk to all the experts at one location and time with on-the-record sessions, press briefings and interviews.

The World Stem Cell Summit is the only conference that combines this mix of researchers, policy makers, business leaders, ethicists, legal experts and patient-advocates to share, explore, and discuss the latest breakthroughs and advancements in the emerging field of stem cells.

Demonstrations and discussions will range from tracking how reprogrammed stem cells (iPSCs) compare to embryonic stem cells, the prospects for the emerging regenerative medicine industry, the impact of new Federal guidelines, regenerative medicine for wounded soldiers and civilians, medical tourism issues and how new devices such as a stem cell integrated fluidic circuits might soon automate and simplify the entire process.

Follow the latest on the conference arrangements on the web site and Twitter site. Story possibilities will be posted by participating universities and agencies on the conference news blog.

Conference web site:
Conference Twitter site:
Conference news blog:

Conference media contacts:
Alan Fernandez -
Howard High -
650-266-6081 (office)
510-786-7378 (mobile)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Federal stem cell policies to be discussed

Federal stem cell policies will be extensively discussed at the World Stem Cell Summit in Baltimore in September. This is the report from AP reporter Lauran Neergaard on the President Obama's policy change July 6:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The government issued final rules Monday expanding taxpayer-funded research using embryonic stem cells, easing scientists' fears that some of the oldest batches might not qualify and promising a master list of all that do.
President Barack Obama lifted previous restrictions on the field in March, but left it to the National Institutes of Health to decide just what stem cell research was ethically appropriate: Only science that uses cells culled from leftover fertility clinic embryos — ones that otherwise would be thrown away — the agency made clear in draft guidelines.
But the final rules issued Monday settle a big question: Would new ethics requirements disqualify many of the stem cells created over the past decade, even the few funded under the Bush administration's tight limits?
The NIH came up with a compromise, saying it deems those old stem cell lines eligible for government research dollars if scientists can prove they met the spirit of the new ethics standards. Further, NIH will create a registry of qualified stem cells so scientists don't have to second-guess if they're applying to use the right ones.
"We think this is a reasonable compromise to achieve the president's goal of both advancing science while maintaining rigorous ethical standards," acting NIH Director Raynard Kington said Monday. "We believe that judgment is necessary."
He wouldn't speculate on how many old stem cells ultimately would qualify, but scientists welcomed the change.
"I expect that most existing lines will be found to have been ethically derived," said Dr. Sean Morrison, director of the University of Michigan Center for Stem Cell Biology. "This will eventually make hundreds of new stem cell lines available for use."
The issue: Trying to harness embryonic stem cells — master cells that can morph into any cell of the body — to one day create better treatments, maybe even cures, for ailments ranging from diabetes to Parkinson's to spinal cord injury.
Culling those stem cells destroys a days-old embryo, something many strongly oppose on moral grounds. Once created, those cells can propagate indefinitely in lab dishes.
The Bush administration had limited taxpayer-funded research to a small number of stem cell batches, or lines, already in existence as of August 2001. This spring, Obama lifted that restriction, potentially widening the field — there now may be as many as 700 stem cell lines around the world — but letting NIH set its boundaries.
Federal law forbids using taxpayer money to create or destroy an embryo. At issue here are rules for working with cells that initially were created using private money.
NIH sifted through 49,000 comments from the public in finalizing the rules, which take effect Tuesday. The draft changed little: Stem cells created solely for research in whatever manner, including cloning, won't qualify.
Any newly made stem cells must come with documentation that the woman or couple who donated the original embryo gave full informed consent. For example, they must have been told of other options for leftover embryos, such as donating to another infertile woman, and the donation must have been voluntary.
That kind of documentation may not exist for stem cell lines created years ago, Kington said, but "some and perhaps many of those lines might be eligible" on a case-by-case evaluation.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Josh Basile's story: Determined2Heal

One of the human interest stories at the World Stem Cell Summit will be Josh Basile, a student at the University of Maryland, College Park campus. This story is from his web site:

Josh Basile grew up in Potomac, Maryland and graduated from the Bullis School in 2003. He loved all sports, especially tennis. Josh played number one singles for the Bullis Varsity team and was recruited to play tennis at Skidmore College. After his freshman year at Skidmore he went on his annual summer family vacation to Bethany Beach in August 2004.

Josh was standing in waist high water when he turned his back to the ocean. A single wave picked him up and slammed him head first against the ocean floor, shattering his fifth cervical vertebrae, leaving him paralyzed from the shoulders down. He was told that he would never get off the ventilator that was keeping him alive.

After a month at the Baltimore Shock Trauma unit, Josh’s health improved enough for him to be transferred to the National Rehabilitation Hospital. He continued to improve and was released from the NRH in November. Josh went to outpatient therapy at NRH and enrolled in a college poetry course. Being home gave Josh the opportunity to look back on his experiences and helped him realize that his life would be “different, but not ruined.”

There were a number of lessons that Josh learned during the difficult first months of his recovery. He realized that things could always be worse, that hope was keeping him alive, and that nothing is impossible. He also learned that there is much that he can do to help others.
Josh has been giving speeches around the country and at local schools educating beachgoers about beach safety.

He formed a foundation called Determined2Heal which helps newly injured patients make the transition from normal life into paralysis. Determined2Heal also supports research and rehabilitation for Spinal Cord Injury. Josh is developing another foundation called Adventurers on Wheels. He is planning to take paralyzed children on adventures to get them out of the house and show them that there is still a lot of life to be lived.

Josh participated in intensive restorative therapy at the Kennedy Krieger International Center for Spinal Cord Injury under the care of Dr. McDonald and Dr. Sadowsky and a whole team of remarkable therapists. Josh dedicates four to five hours a day to his therapy program that was developed at Kennedy Krieger. Almost a year after his accident, Josh was able to transition from a complete to an incomplete spinal cord injury.

Since Josh’s August 1, 2004 spinal cord injury, he has been a man with a plan. He has been able to battle through adversity and has been able to come out on top.

Media specialists who are helping (so far)

This is a group effort. Many media specialists are helping already:
  • Shaun Adamec, Gov. O'Malley press secy - 410-260-3833
  • Dan Gincel, Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund 410-715-4172
  • Mike Lurie, University System of Maryland 301-445-2719
  • Audrey M. Huang, Johns Hopkins University Medicine 410-614-5105
  • Karen Buckelew, UM School of Medicine 410-706-7590
  • Karen Shaffer (MGH), Maryland Stem Cell Commission 410-902-5053
  • Karen Glenn Hood, Md DBED, 410-767-6318
  • Jeff Raymond, University of Maryland, Baltimore 410-706-3803
  • Steve Berberich, University of Maryland, Baltimore 410-706-0023

2009 World Stem Cell Summit - News Media

This is a simple blog for media specialists and news reporters who are interested in the 2009 World Stem Cell Summit to exchange information and discuss media requests. The Summit will be held September 21-23 at the Baltimore Convention Center and will provide stories about:
  • New research findings
  • New government stem cell policy
  • Human interest stories
  • Public education at the Maryland Science Center
  • Economic impact on the city, state, and country