View in a browser
  Newsletter Issue 5, 23 September 2015




"Opportunities & Challenges in Stem Cell Based Medicine"

17 -18 November 2015

Matrix Building
30 Biopolis Street, Singapore 138671







Media Partner


Dear Friends & Members,

Newsletter Issue 5 is ready for your reading pleasure again featuring two of the Symposium speakers:


Prabha Sampath, Institute of Medical Biology, Singapore

Antonio Lee, Medipost America Inc, USA.


Enjoy reading about the topics these speakers are going to discuss during the symposium and also learn more about the insights they provide in the interviews.


Other important information

The Poster Abstract submission deadline is just around the corner (9 October).

This year we will have a dedicated poster session combined with a networking session held after the first keynote lecture in the evening of the 17th November.

Expect some sparkling discussions supported by Wine & Cheese.

The poster session will be an excellent opportunity to discuss projects with colleagues and get some valuable feedback from experts in the field, particularly for junior researchers.

Finally, the SCSS will award three poster prizes each $200 for the best posters. So make sure you submit a poster abstract in time and be available at your poster during the poster session.


Upcoming deadlines to note:

1) Poster abstract submission: 9 October 2015

2) Online registration closure: 30 October 2015


A tentative programme can be accessed HERE.

To learn more about the symposium, follow this LINK.

To register, click HERE.

In case you have any queries, contact us HERE.

We look forward to welcoming you at the Symposium 2015 soon.

The Organizing Committee "Stem Cell Society Singapore Symposium 2015"

Featured Speakers  


Institute of Medical Biology, Singapore

OncomiR-138: A Therapeutic Target for Malignant Gliomas


Malignant gliomas are aggressive forms of brain tumors, associated with high rates of mortality. Despite surgical advances and progress in adjuvant therapies, the prognosis for patients with malignant gliomas has remained poor. Recurrence and tumorigenesis are attributed to a subpopulation of tumor-initiating glioma stem cells (GSCs) that are intrinsically resistant to therapy.

We identified microRNA-138 as a molecular signature of GSCs. Sequence-specific functional inhibition of oncomiR-138 impedes survival of GSCs and prevents tumor growth, suggesting that microRNA-138 is a potential therapeutic target to treat malignant gliomas.


Biography Lab webpage


Prabha Sampath obtained her Ph.D. in Molecular Medicine in Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Ohio, United States in 2004. She worked on gene regulation during inflammation and translational regulatory mechanisms that control expression of an acute-phase plasma glycoprotein. She elucidated RNA and protein factors comprising major pathways in inflammation. As a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Cardiovascular and Regenerative Medicine, University of Washington, Prabha Sampath worked on translational control mechanisms in embryonic stem cell differentiation. Her innovative work is well recognized as evidenced by outstanding publications and multiple awards. Prabha Sampath is the recipient of prestigious A*STAR Investigatorship award and she joined the Institute of Medical Biology, Biopolis, Singapore to set up her own research group in May 2008.

She is now a Senior Principal Investigator at IMB, holds an adjunct position at Department of Biochemistry, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore and Duke-NUS School of Medicine. Prabha Sampath is currently pursuing research on the mechanism of translational regulation/dys-regulation in multiple systems including cancer. Visualizing these interactions at the molecular level and integrating this information within the framework of physiology Prabha Sampath’s projects are focused on identification of specific novel therapeutic targets.


What attracted you to a career in Science?

My dream was to become a neuro-oncologist. Due to some unavoidable circumstances I could not pursue medicine. I decided to be a scientist and contribute to the field and I am happy that, I am now working on malignant gliomas, most aggressive forms of brain tumors.

What do you think is the single most important factor driving or inhibiting a broader clinical application of stem cells?

Successful use of stem cells in regenerative medicine still depends on the efficacy to modulate the stem cell niche, which can enhance expansion or differentiation of stem cells.

What would you be if not a scientist/clinician?

A science teacher.

What was the first phenomenon you can recall that fascinated you about science?

Newton’s law of gravitation.

What was the first phenomenon you can recall that fascinated you about science?

An extremely interesting field to work, however in addition to passion, you need patience and perseverance to be successful.

Do you believe stem cells will ever be successful commercially?

Yes, stem cells will be successful commercially, that is the long term goal of labs working on stem cells.



Antonio (Tony) LEE

Medipost America Inc, USA

World’s First Approved Allogeneic Cell Therapy Product CARTISTEM® for Osteoarthritis: 3-year Market Experience from Korea  

CARTISTEM® was approved with a Biologics License Application (BLA) by Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) Korea in 2012 as the world’s first approved allogeneic cell product for the treatment of degenerative osteoarthritis. Since the product launch, over 2,400 patients have been treated on market in Korea. CARTISTEM® is currently under US-FDA IND Phase 1/2a clinical trial in the U.S. MEDIPOST’s successful commercialization experience from cell therapy product R&D utilizing umbilical cord blood stem cell platform will be shared with its development experience and market experience.

MEDIPOST’s other products in the pipeline include PNEUMOSTEM® for the prevention of BPD (with Orphan Drug Designation in Korea, U.S. and E.U.) which is awaiting results from the Phase 2 and Phase 1/2 clinical trials in Korea and the U.S., respectively. NEUROSTEM® for AD is in Phase 2a clinical trial in Korea after successfully completing first-in-human Phase 1 trial in Korea with patients suffering from advanced-stage AD.

Dr. Antonio (Tony) Lee is the CEO and Managing Director at MEDIPOST America Inc. Prior to his appointment, Tony held the position of Associate Director, Business Development since 2011 at MEDIPOST Co., Ltd. and has been involved in the product development, clinical trials, regulatory affairs, licensing and marketing of human Umbilical Cord Blood-derived Stem Cell technology and products developed by MEDIPOST.

Prior to joining MEDIPOST, Tony held research scientist positions in the filed of Stem Cell Biology & Regenerative Medicine in Sydney, Australia working on the pre-clinical adult stem cell transplantation project funded by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NH&MRC). Tony received his PhD in Developmental and Stem Cell Biology with studies conducted at the University of Wales, Cardiff, U.K. and the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.

What was the first phenomenon you can recall that fascinated you about science?

The moment I saw the beating heart formed in a chick embryo during my undergraduate Embryology class.

What attracted you to a career in Science?

The applied and applicable nature of Medical Science that can help people heal and retain their quality of lives.

Which scientist/clinician has made the biggest impact in your field and why?

Professors Arnold Caplan and Darwin Prockop, because of their invaluable works on Mesenchymal Stem (Stromal) Cells, many groups/companies were able to attempt at commercialization of allogeneic somatic stem cell therapy.

What publication(s) had the most influence on you and why?

“The myoD gene family: nodal point during specification of the muscle cell lineage.” Because MyoD was one of the first examples directly demonstrating genetic hierarchy in cell lineage specification.

What do you think are the main issues confronting stem cell researchers at the moment?

Given the tremendous amount of potential and public interest on stem cell research, stem cell researchers could benefit from more exposure to cell therapy & regenerative medicine industry, so that their research efforts could include “translational” elements to shorten the “bench-to-bedside” timeframe.

What are the main regulatory issues confronting companies trying to bring stem cell therapies into the clinic (your answer may be country specific)?

Lack of clinical/commercial experience by regulatory agencies (owing to the fact that the stem cell therapy & regenerative medicine industry is a relatively young field) and the fundamental physical/biological difference of cell therapy modalities (compared to conventional Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients) resulted in the absence of streamlined regulatory framework for cell therapy products in most regulatory jurisdictions. Sharing of information/experience among regulatory agencies and efforts to harmonize such regulatory framework could benefit the industry significantly.

How are challenges relating to upscaling of stem cell culturing for large scale manufacturing being overcome?

Depending on the commercial maturity/stage of the cell therapy company, R&D on scaling-up and/or scaling-out may be more relevant. Engineering-based research teams with expertise in culture vessels/methods are clearly making advancements and stronger early-stage R&D partnership with cell therapy developers is desirable.

What do you think is the single most important factor driving or inhibiting a broader clinical application of stem cells?

Most important driving factor for the clinical application of stem cells is the so-called “meeting the unmet medical need”. By being able to utilize live stem cells as a therapeutic modality will, sooner or later, bring a paradigm-shift in medicine especially for incurable and degenerative medical conditions.

Do you believe stem cells will ever be successful commercially?

Absolutely yes.

Where do you think stem cell research will be with regards to clinical application in 5-10 years’ time?

More therapies and products (both approved and unapproved) will be made available in the next 5~10 years time throughout the world.

What do you believe is the most promising direction in stem cell research?

Clinician-scientist interaction from the early stage of stem cell R&D should set forth a path for a very promising translational research and eventually a commercialization of a stem cell R&D output. Combining identification of “unmet medical need with clinical reality” by clinicians and biological understanding on stem cells by scientists is desirable.

From which other scientific fields would you suggest stem cell researchers could benefit the most?

Biomaterials (engineering and material science).

What would you tell a student asking for advice whether to pick up a career in the stem cell field?

I suggest meeting with people working in various positions in the stem cell field (e.g. research, clinical, manufacturing, regulatory affairs or patient advocacy etc.) and see if there is a job which makes you feel excited based on your character and strengths.

How many medically approved allogeneic stem cell therapy products are currently available in the market (anywhere in the world)?

As far as I am aware, 2 products – CARTISTEM approved in Korea and Prochymal approved in Canada and New Zealand.

© 2015 Stem Cell Society Singapore