VistaGen Therapeutics Inc., a biopharmaceutical company pioneering the use of embryonic stem cells as proprietary biological systems for discovery and development of novel drugs for the treatment of diabetes and neurological diseases, announced today three recent publications highlighting important advances in the understanding of how embryonic stem cells can be efficiently and reproducibly differentiated into heart and liver cells. These advances are a result of the research efforts directed by Dr. Gordon Keller, a highly regarded international stem cell scientist, Director of the McEwen Center for Regenerative Medicine in Toronto and Chairman of VistaGen.s Scientific Advisory Board.
In the three recent publications in Nature Biotechnology, Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences, and Developmental Cell, Dr. Keller.s laboratory announced significant advancements in the understanding of how to induce and control the efficient differentiation of embryonic stem cells into important immature endoderm cells that ultimately go on to form the internal organs of the body, especially the liver and heart. These publications also expand the understanding of the culture conditions necessary to generate large populations of cells which have functional properties of liver and heart cells.
“My team’s efforts represent important building blocks we need to begin to develop new tools for multiple medical applications of ES cells, including drug discovery and screening for the treatment of diseases of the cardiovascular system and liver,” said Dr. Keller. Dr. Ralph Snodgrass, VistaGen’s President and CEO, added, “We are very encouraged by the advancements made by Dr. Keller’s research, and are excited to work in concert with him to develop reproducible and powerful biological systems that will open new approaches in the field of predictive toxicology assays involving the two most important target organs, the heart and liver, as well as new opportunities for drug discovery, especially in diabetes.”