Now that Massachusetts stem cell biotechnology company Asymmetrex has developed the first and only technology for specific and accurate counting of therapeutic tissue stem cells, today the company has launched a campaign to alert stem cell scientists, physicians, and patients to the long unmet need of a means to count tissue stem cells. The major misconception that compromises progress in stem cell medicine is the presumption, by a surprising number of people even in the stem cell field, that stem cell scientists and physicians have had a way to count the stem cells in their investigations and treatments, when in fact they have not.
Asymmetrex’s director, James L. Sherley, M.D., Ph.D., asks audiences questions like, “How far do you think we would have gotten in medicine, if we didn’t have the means to measure the number of drug molecules in drug development research or in medicines used to treat patients?” His answer, “Nowhere! And that is what’s holding up progress in stem cell medicine.”
“Can you imagine taking an approved medicine or an experimental medicine without knowing its dose?” Yet, that is exactly how both approved stem cell medical treatments and investigational ones in clinical trials are conducted, without knowing the number of stem cells administered to the patient.
The awareness campaign was launched today with four new posts on the company website. These early posts provide general information on stem cell science and stem cell medicine in a question-answer format. Director Sherley explains, “Stem cell counting is not the only misconception about stem cells! First, we want to get all scientists, physicians, and patients who are interested in accelerating progress in stem cell medicine on the same page for stem cell knowledge.” Later posts will address more specifically how the new ability to count tissue stem cells will move stem cell research and stem cell medicine to a new era of progress.
The prohibitive effects of the unmet need for a means to count tissue stem cells specifically and accurately precede the clinical challenges. Tissue stem cell experiments of all kinds are conducted without knowing the number of stem cells involved. Stem cell manufacturing and stem cell isolation companies attempt to optimize their production processes without being able to count the number of stem cells during production; and they supply their stem cell products to researchers and physicians with no measure of the number of stem cells provided.
The ironic stem cell blindness of the stem cell research and medical fields might not be a problem, if stem cells were an abundant cell type. However, because of their unique stem cell biology, they are invariably a rare cell type even in the best enriched preparations. This property contributes to the difficulty counting them. However, the main cause of the difficulty is that with conventional methods for counting cells, to date, tissue stem cells have been indistinguishable from their own non-stem progeny cells, which they make in much larger quantities than themselves.
Asymmetrex and its partner AlphaSTAR Corporation, collaborated to invent a now patented technology that uses computational simulation to extract specific and accurate tissue stem cell counts from conventional cell count data. So far, the novel approach has been used to count stem cells in many human tissues, including bone marrow, umbilical cord blood, umbilical cord tissue, liver, lung, and amniotic fluid. The counting of stem cells in many other human organs and tissues will soon follow along with major advances in stem cell research, stem cell therapy, stem cell clinical trials, stem cell manufacturing, and drug development.
Asymmetrex, LLC is a Massachusetts life sciences company with a focus on developing technologies to advance stem cell medicine. Asymmetrex’s founder and director, James L. Sherley, M.D., Ph.D. is an internationally recognized expert on the unique properties of adult tissue stem cells. The company’s patent portfolio contains biotechnologies that solve the two main technical problems – production and quantification – that have stood in the way of successful commercialization of human adult tissue stem cells for regenerative medicine and drug development. In addition, the portfolio includes novel technologies for isolating cancer stem cells and producing induced pluripotent stem cells for disease research purposes. Asymmetrex markets the first technology for determination of the dose and quality of tissue stem cell preparations (the “AlphaSTEM Test™”) for use in stem cell transplantation therapies and pre-clinical drug evaluations.