Advanced Cell Technology Betting Future on Embryonic Stem Cell Therapy for Eye Disease

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$50 million.

ACT has reduced its operations to stay in business, closing labs in Alameda, CA, and Charlestown, MA, last year, Caldwell said. The firm is now operating with 14 full-time workers, with additional support from research partners and consultants. It also decided to save money by delaying its mid-stage clinical trial for a therapy in which adult stem cells—and not stem cells from embryos—are used to treat heart disease.

While the firm’s near-term success hinges on the success of its embryonic stem cell therapies, the firm is also participating in the hot field of using adult cells to make stem cells, Caldwell said. (This is not to be confused with treating people with adult stem cells, which has been done for years to treat cancer patients.) Technology that induces adult cells into a stem cell-like, or pluripotent, state has captured a lot of attention because it doesn’t require the use of embryos. Investors are swooning over companies like San Diego-based Fate Therapeutics, which is developing therapies based on such advances in stem cell research, while ACT and other earlier developers of stem cell therapies have struggled to fund their R&D efforts.

Caldwell said it’s important to proceed with the development of embryonic stem cell-based therapies because they are closer to being able to provide benefits to patients, while it will take many more years for approaches based on induced pluripotent stem (IPS) cells to catch up. “The IPS technology is still as science project,” Caldwell said.

Caldwell said that ACT is able to harvest human embryonic stem cells from without damaging embryos, using the same methods that are employed to test embryos for genetic disorders before babies are born.

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11 responses to “Advanced Cell Technology Betting Future on Embryonic Stem Cell Therapy for Eye Disease”

  1. CHUCK McMULLEN says:

    I’M A 58 YEAR OLD MALE WITH STARGARTS AND HAVE BEEN LEGALLY BLIND SINCE THE AGE OF 16, ALL THESE TALKS ABOUT STEM CELL THERAPY IS GREAT NEWS CAUSE IT IS TOUGH BEING BLIND, BUT YET CAN SEE PEOPLE JUST DON’T BELIEVE YOU WHEN YOU TELL THEM

  2. Michael Swit says:

    A minor correction. Advanced Cell is not “based” in Worcester, but is headquartered in Santa Monica, CA according to the firm’s website (see michael.swit@weinberggroup.com). Using the term “based” implies that is the HQ. Rather, the Worcester facility, with all due respect ot what occurs there, is described as the firm’s “Massachusetts Laboratory Facility.”

  3. Michael Swit says:

    Correction to my correction. ACT’s website statement about where its HQ is located appears at http://www.advancedcell.com/contact-us/.

  4. Ryan says:

    Michael, thank you for the comment. You bring up a good point: the website says the company’s headquarters are in Santa Monica. I was told that most of the firm’s employees are now in Massachusetts and that the Californa headquarters was shut down. I’ll look into this; the Santa Monica address is a PO Box, so there may be no office there. -Ryan

  5. Greg Macgregor says:

    I’m a shareholder and this is good news, but how did this release pass with so many grammatical errors? It read’s like it was written by an 8 year old.

  6. Dirty says:

    There are some reports of possibly starting trials as early as March 2010. So…are trials starting Q3 2010 or March 2010?

  7. Greg Macgregor says:

    Dirty, matters little. If you want to invest then read this (although you probably have already):
    http://www.pinksheets.com/edgar/GetFilingHtml?FilingID=6902717

    March or October, that is still not the 1000% we wait on. This one will take some time but still pay off swimmingly.

  8. Psfranko says:

    My child has Stargardt’s Disease. We are so hopeful for this type of treatment….It does seem in regards to animal trials that it works. I hope the company can stay afloat!

  9. Alicia says:

    I have been waiting for this for years. I knew they would come up with something. I am 30 and have had it since I was 9, and bee legally blind since I was 18. I hope and pray I can be a part of this stdy it would be the best thig just to know if it can help me how many other diseases out there it will help.

  10. feeed says:

    Yes Dr. Lanza will be the first Being to heal the Blind since Jesus.

    The Blind will see again, the lame will walk and people will not rott from cancer. Mark my feeed word Healing instead of treating is going to happen in the next 20years.

    feeed loves lanza

  11. Eugenia Ortiz says:

    I have macular degeneration and would love to be helped.
    Please respond to me.