Bedford Research Foundation 2019 Newsletter
Read about all of the progress and the research that has occurred at the Foundation over the course of the past year, and a retrospective on the past 23! Dr. Kiessling outlines her vision for the upcoming year as well. Thank you for your support.
Bedford Research Foundation is TWENTY THREE
Founded in 1996 to conduct research that cannot be funded by the National Institutes of Health, Bedford Research scientists have achieved ground-breaking milestones!
See our Timeline of Milestones!
Stem Cells for Every Body
Unfertilized eggs can be activated artificially (parthenogenesis) to undergo cell multiplications similar to fertilized eggs, but do not give rise to offspring. At the time of activation, a protein responsible for tissue rejection can be silenced by gene editing.
“Universal donor” stem cells that are missing the major tissue rejection protein can then be derived from such edited parthenotes. Similar to Type O blood, such “universal” stem cells could be available “off-the-shelf” in emergency rooms for acute injuries, such as heart attack, stroke and spinal cord injury. This would be a major step forward in stem cell therapies for acute, as well as chronic conditions.
The Activated Egg Symposium 2019 brought together thought leaders in circadian rhythms, human egg parthenogenesis, human-animal chimeras for disease research and drug modeling, and the ethics of gene editing human embryos. It was an extraordinarily successful gathering with both speakers and attendees taking away new, important information. Unlike the large, commercial science meetings common today, registration was less than $100 for academics.
“Dr. Kiessling and her staff have shown their determination to tackle some of the most difficult health problems of our time.” – Representative Ken Gordon
Letter From The Director
We founded the Bedford Research Foundation as a unique, independent, not-for-profit research institution because of the prohibition on federal funding for our important work on unfertilized eggs (“parthenotes”). The result of our research will be a broadly applicable source of “universal” human stem cells for every body. We must forge ahead into areas of stem cell development that larger institutions shy away from because of the Dickey-Wicker Amendment that prohibits federally funded research on human eggs and the stem cells derived from them. Thanks to the guidance of the meritorious individuals serving on our Ethics Advisory Board, our Human Subjects Committee and our Stem Cell Research Oversight Committee, we are doing just that.
With our over 30 years of research experience in human egg biology and stem cell derivation, BRF scientists are uniquely qualified to push this exciting field forward. We were joined this year by Dr. David Albertini, a pioneer in egg biology, dedicated to understanding human eggs not only for stem cell derivation, but also to fill in critically important information gaps about human reproduction. Dr. Albertini’s research expertise will markedly accelerate our progress in successful stem cell derivation.
Our goals for 2020 include applying the research findings we have made in unfertilized mouse eggs to similar studies with unfertilized human eggs. The single copy of each chromosome in unfertilized eggs can be edited to eliminate the major protein on the surface of cells that causes tissues to be rejected following transplantation. Such “universal donor” stem cells can then be used as “off-the-shelf” treatments for acute conditions, such as heart attack, spinal cord injury and stroke, as well as chronic conditions, such as Parkinson’s Disease, diabetes, Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS), Alzheimer’s Disease, and Huntington’s Disease. We won’t know the full therapeutic potential of human parthenote stem cells until the cells are actually derived.
Human egg research MUST be privately funded, please make a contribution to help us move this important work forward, we are most grateful for your support!
Ann A Kiessling, PhD
Director, Bedford Research Foundation
Who is Bedford Research Foundation?
Philanthropy Is The Key To Continued Progress
The average cost of each experiment is $90,000. Because much of our overhead is covered by fee-for-service laboratory tests, 92% of every dollar donated goes directly toward these experiments. This innovative funding model allows Bedford Research scientists greater flexibility to move quickly in promising new research directions.
Continued progress requires meeting our annual funding goal of $450,000 in 2019.