VistaGen Therapeutics, Inc. (VSTA) to Speed Development of Drug Screening and Cell Therapy for Immune System Disorders through License Agreement

Today before the opening bell, VistaGen Therapeutics, a biotechnology company applying stem cell technology for drug rescue, announced it has licensed breakthrough stem cell culture technology from the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine located at the University Health Network (UHN) in Toronto, Canada.

VistaGen will be utilizing the licensed technology to develop hematopoietic precursor stem cells from human pluripotent stem cells, with the goal of developing drug screening and cell therapy applications for human blood system disorders. The breakthrough technology is included in a new United States patent application.
Hematopoietic precursor stem cells give rise to all red and white blood cells and platelets in the body. VistaGen will use the UHN invention to improve the cell culture methods used to efficiently produce hematopoietic stem cell populations.

“This technology dramatically advances our ability to produce and purify this important blood stem cell precursor for both in vitro drug screening and in vivo cell therapy applications,” said H. Ralph Snodgrass, PhD, VistaGen’s President and Chief Scientific Officer.

“In addition to defining new cell culture methods for our use, the technology describes the surface characteristics of stem cell-derived adult hematopoietic stem cells. Most groups study embryonic blood development from stem cells, but, for the first time, we are able to not only purify the stem cell-derived precursor of all adult hematopoietic cells, but also pinpoint the precise timing when adult blood cell differentiation takes place in these cultures,” Snodgrass added. “It is our belief that these early cells will be the precursors of the ultimate adult, bone marrow-repopulating hematopoietic stem cells.”
Bone marrow-derived hematopoietic stem cells are able to repopulate the blood and immune system when transplanted into patients prepared for bone marrow transplantation. These cells have important potential therapeutic applications for the restoration of healthy blood and immune systems in individuals undergoing transplantation therapies for cancer, organ grafts, HIV infections, or for acquired or genetic blood and immune deficiencies.

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