SYDNEY, 28 November 2014: Australian stem cell company Genea Biocells and Duke University have been awarded a joint collaborative grant by the Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA). HDSA declared this award their highest ranking application and the distinguished winner of the Amy Bradshaw Humphrey Memorial Award.
The joint application, entitled Human Stem Cell-Derived Neuromuscular Co-culture Platform for Assessing Peripheral Manifestation of Huntington’s Disease was awarded for the development of a stem cell based neuromuscular model of the debilitating neurodegenerative genetic disorder.
Dr Lo’s team, led by Dr. Barbara Calamini and also including Duke researchers Bijal Shah and Emery Edmondson, will collaborate with Genea Biocells to compare stem cell derived muscle cells with biopsied muscle cells from HD patients and provide an alternative resource for disease modelling and drug screening in difficult to obtain patient tissues and organs.
“We are very grateful for HDSA’s support and delighted at the opportunity to partner with Dr Lo’s team to further the development of a novel platform which aims to facilitate drug screening efforts and biomarker studies in Huntington’s Disease,” Genea Biocells Business Development VP Dr Jamshid Arjomand said.
Also co-Principal Investigator on the application, Dr Arjomand said the aim of the studies is to investigate the suitability of skeletal muscle for HD research using stem cells coaxed into becoming muscle cells.
“Since sampling human brain for drug testing is not possible, more accessible tissues, such as blood, skin and muscle might provide alternative substitutes for research and drug discovery.”
Genea Biocells has previously derived HD human stem cells and recently developed a proprietary method for making human skeletal muscle from pluripotent stem cells.
Genea Biocells develops disease-specific and unaffected human pluripotent stem cell lines, differentiation protocols, chemical compound libraries and culture media for use in disease modelling, research, drug development and cell therapy.
Building on extensive stem cell capabilities as well as expertise in high-content screening, assay design and chemical biology, Genea Biocells partners with scientists in industry and academia to advance research projects using stem cell-driven approaches and customized solutions for drug development.
Genea Biocells has the world’s largest private bank of pluripotent human embryonic stem cells and developed the world’s first consistent, scalable and high-yield differentiation process for functional skeletal muscle cells.
Genea Biocells is part of fertility group Genea, a public, unlisted company that has been operating world leading IVF clinics since 1985. The company has been supplying commercial stem cell solutions for 10 years, drawing on an almost 30 year research heritage within Genea. More information is available at www.geneabiocells.com