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VistaGen Therapeutics Reports Advances in its Pancreatic Cell and Regenerative Medicine Programs

Published: Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Last Updated: Monday, September 26, 2011
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Use of pluripotent stem cells to generate insulin in mice.

VistaGen Therapeutics, Inc. has announced the publication of its original research demonstrating the use of pluripotent stem cells to generate insulin in mice.

The research, titled Pdx1 and Ngn3 Overexpression Enhances Pancreatic Differentiation of Mouse ES Cell-Derived Endoderm Population, stems from a collaboration between VistaGen and the laboratories of Dr. Gordon Keller at the University Health Network's McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine in Toronto and Dr. Atsushi Kubo at Nara Medical University in Japan.

It was published in the peer-reviewed journal, PLoS ONE 6(9): e24058, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0024058 on September 13, 2011.

"In addition to presenting a powerful in vitro model system designed to screen for potential genes or drug candidates capable of inducing the production of insulin-secreting pancreatic beta-islet cells, these research results represent another important step towards our goal of developing superior biological systems for drug development," said Dr. Ralph Snodgrass, President and Chief Scientific Officer of VistaGen.

Dr. Snodgrass continued, "We are grateful for the scientific contributions of our international collaborators to the research reported in this publication, as well as the continuing technical progress we are making through our ongoing and active partnership with Dr. Gordon Keller and his laboratory in Toronto."

VistaGen has an established track record of advancing its internal commercially-focused research and development programs through collaborations that successfully combine the complementary capabilities of its industry leading scientists and those of academic leaders in the field of stem cell research.

The published results are the culmination of a close and productive international collaboration initiated and led by VistaGen scientists in the United States.

These studies are part of VistaGen's versatile Human Clinical Trials in a Test Tube™ platform which has proprietary applications in drug screening, cell therapy, and regenerative medicine in the areas of metabolic disease and diabetes.

The stem cell-derived pancreatic cells developed by the international research team demonstrated the ability to produce and correctly process insulin and secrete C-peptide, characteristics of mature beta-islet cells.

These studies confirm the utility of regulating two key developmental genetic signals for producing pluripotent stem cell-derived beta-islet cells that produce high levels of insulin.

In addition, the specific precursor cell was identified that responds to these signals, suggesting a potential purification or enrichment strategy for beta-islet cell production, facilitating a strategy for the production of large numbers of beta-islet cells for multiple applications.

Finally, these studies point to additional areas for future development as well as provide a strong foundation that supports VistaGen's efforts to produce fully functional human beta-islet cells for drug discovery and clinical applications.

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