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International Stem Cell, CellSystems Biotechnologie, Transgenomic, National Cancer Institute, Lexicon Pharmaceuticals, BioSeek, Texas A&M Health Science Center Research Foundation, Caliper Life Sciences

International Stem Cell, CellSystems Biotechnologie Ink Distribution Deal for 3D Skin Cell Models
International Stem Cell announced this week that it has entered into an exclusive agreement with German distributor CellSystems Biotechnologie to distribute laboratory-cultured models of human skin that can be used for dermatological and pharmaceutical research.
ISC’s technology, called parthenogenesis, results in the creation of pluripotent human stem cell lines from unfertilized human eggs. The laboratory-cultured models of human skin, called EST-1000 and AST-2000, were developed by CellSystems and contain cells manufactured by Lifeline. These three-dimensional skin cell models are used as alternative methods to animal testing for skin corrosion, skin irritation, skin sensitization, genotoxicity, and phototoxicity.
ISC’s human cell and cell culture research products are manufactured and distributed under the Lifeline brand by wholly owned subsidiary Lifeline Cell Technology, based in Walkersville, Md.

Transgenomic, NCI Collaborating on Mitochondrial Genome Characterization in Cancer Cell Lines
The National Cancer Institute has approved a proposal by the genetic analysis and services company Transgenomic to do mutational analysis and sequencing on mitochondrial genes in the NCI 60 panel of cancer cell lines, the company announced this week.
The collaboration between NCI and Omaha, Neb.-based Transgenomic is expected to be the first comprehensive evaluation of the mitochondrial genome in this cell panel, which has been used to test compounds in NCI’s pharmacological database.
Transgenomic said the work may provide clues about early disease states and insights into some cancer treatments and diagnostics, since mitochondrial damage can be an early warning sign for some types of cancer.
“This collaboration makes it possible to test whether in vitro responses to anti-cancer agents are linked to alterations in the mitochondrial genome and can be detected with our sensitive mutation detection technology,” Eric Kaldjian, Transgenomic’s chief scientific officer, said in a statement.

Lexicon to Use BioSeek Tools for Drug Discovery
BioSeek said this week that Lexicon Pharmaceuticals will use the firm’s BioMAP systems to evaluate selected compounds associated with Lexicon’s drug discovery programs.
The BioMAP systems use predictive primary human cell-based disease models that generate profiles for drug candidates.
“By providing predictive preclinical human data on the pharmacological properties of Lexicon's compounds, the BioMAP platform can help to discern the relevant physiologic pathway impacted by the compounds and identify appropriate cellular assays for their further optimization,” Michael Venuti, CEO of BioSeek, said in a statement.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Texas A&M Research Foundation Using Caliper IVIS in TB Research
Caliper Life Sciences this week announced that the Texas A&M Health Science Center Research Foundation is using the IVIS Spectrum imaging system to develop treatments for tuberculosis.
Research efforts and the purchase of the IVIS system are funded through a grant to the Texas A&M Health Science Center from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Researchers at the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine and a consortium of tuberculosis researchers at Washington University and Stanford University School of Medicine are actively studying tuberculosis infections in live animals using in vivo imaging technology. The IVIS system allows researchers to visualize the progression of the disease and impact of therapeutic candidates in real time.

The Scan

Guidelines for Ancient DNA Work

More than two dozen researchers have developed new ethical guidelines for conducting ancient DNA research, which they present in Nature.

And Cleared

A UK regulator has cleared former UK Prime Minister David Cameron in concerns he should have registered as a consultant-lobbyist for his work with Illumina, according to the Financial Times.

Suit Over Allegations

The Boston Globe reports that David Sabatini, who was placed on leave from MIT after allegations of sexual harassment, is suing his accuser, the Whitehead Institute, and the institute's director.

Nature Papers on Esophageal Cancer, Origin of Modern Horses, Exome Sequencing of UK Biobank Participants

In Nature this week: genetic and environmental influences of esophageal cancer, domestic horse origin traced to Western Eurasian steppes, and more.