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Few would dispute the fact that more progress has been made in medicine and the overall science of healthcare in the past century than in all of the previous centuries put together. If there’s a focal point for this ongoing revolution, it’s the increasing ability to treat disease at the cellular and even molecular level, often through tapping the patient’s own unique cellular powers for regeneration and combatting disease. Working in this field requires dealing with biochemical complexities that were unimaginable a few decades ago, and can involve huge up-front investments of time and money, but the potential applications are almost endless.
However, in the case of VistaGen Therapeutics, the ability to work directly with human cells offers a way for pharmaceutical companies to save money while risking less of it. VistaGen has developed a way to use advanced stem cell technology to generate human cell based bioassay systems that allow new drug candidates to be effectively tested for possible toxicity without having to expend the volumes of money and effort required to take a drug all the way to human clinical trial. It’s a highly accurate and economical way to identify problems early on, in addition to making it feasible to cost-effectively develop non-toxic drug variants, so that promising drugs aren’t shelved unnecessarily.
This superior method of drug toxicity testing, not to mention the thousands of other advancements that have already taken place as a result of new stem cell discoveries, will potentially enable even greater strides in medicine over the next century. Notable publicly traded companies using stem cell and associated technologies for the rapid advancement of health care include the following:
•Aastrom Biosciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: ASTM) uses ixmyelocel-T, a patient-specific multicellular therapy, which draws on the human body’s own healing powers, to help people with severe chronic cardiovascular disease.
•Advanced Cell Technology, Inc. (OTCBB: ACTC.OB) applies stem cell based technologies in the field of regenerative medicine.
•BioTime, Inc. (AMEX: BTX) develops and markets products and technologies in the field of stem cells and regenerative medicine, including proprietary ACTCellerate™ cell lines, culture media, and differentiation kits.
•Cytori Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: CYTX) focuses on regenerative medicine, with products for the cosmetic and reconstructive, cell banking, research, and various disease markets.
•Bacterin International Holdings, Inc. (AMEX: BONE) is a developer of anti-infective coatings for medical applications and bone graft materials.
•Pluristem Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: PSTI) develops placenta-based cell therapies to treat a variety of local and systemic inflammatory diseases.
•Geron Corporation (NASDAQ: GERN) uses differentiated human embryonic stem cells to develop biopharmaceuticals for the treatment of cancer and chronic degenerative diseases.
•Neuralstem, Inc. (AMEX: CUR) has a patented technology that can produce neural stem cells of the human brain and spinal cord in commercial quantities, and also has a cell therapy platform for targeting central nervous system conditions.
•Neostem, Inc. (AMEX: NBS) is accelerating proprietary cellular therapies, and becoming a single source for collection, storage, production, development and transportation of cells for cell-based medicines and regenerative science.
•ImmunoCellular Therapeutics Ltd. (OTCBB: IMUC) harnesses the body’s immune system for therapies against a variety of cancers.
•VistaGen Therapeutics, Inc. (OTCBB: VSTA), in addition to developing human pluripotent stem cell-based bioassay systems, focuses on using its unique stem cell technologies for cell therapy and regenerative medicine, such as repairing, replacing, or restoring damaged tissues or organs.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.
Additional disclosure: VSTA is a client of MissionIR. We have included a full disclaimer at the top of this article.