Asymmetrex President and CEO James Sherley talks about the company’s recent introduction of new analysis tools for therapeutic stem cells at ISSCR 2021:
Last week, SuperbCrew interviewed James L. Sherley, M.D., Ph.D., the President and CEO of stem cell biotechnology company Asymmetrex, about his company’s then upcoming first presentation at an annual conference of the International Society for Stem Cell Research. After the conference, which ran from June 21-26, we talked with Sherley about the event.
Q: So, what did you think about the conference and Asymmetrex’s participation?
A: Overall, I was impressed by the range of topics and the quality of the research presentations; and Asymmetrex attracted significant interest as indicated by the virtual analytics available to us.
Q: Do you care to share any of your engagement analytics?
A: Well, I don’t think I will give you any specific numbers, because in this new world of virtual engagement, who really knows what any of them actually say about the motivations or future behavior of the engagers. However, engagement goes in two directions. I’m confident that during this conference week a significant number of relevant new eyes gazed upon our new tech for quantifying tissue stem cells. And, importantly, we also engaged actively ourselves in many of the research forums, too. We were watching and listening to continue to improve our understanding of how scientists who are working with tissue stem cells could benefit from quantifying them.
Q: And did you learn anything new about this?
A: Well, mainly our existing understanding about the current context of the world of stem cell science and scientists was re-enforced. First, there was a predominant focus on induced pluripotent stem cell, iPSC, science at this meeting! Even if these engineered cells never yield a safe and effective medical treatment, they will have been a far-reaching wellspring for the life sciences, impacting everything from science education to economic growth. Unfortunately for Asymmetrex, quantifying iPSCs is trivial. Though not as pervasive as iPSC research in the conference, I was pleased to see that the research with cells that need our tech, tissue stem cells, was also well-represented at the meeting.
Q: And was there anything else you learned?
A: Yes. And it’s a practice in stem cell science that we are working continuously to change. I listened to talk after talk in which the presenters of tissue stem cell research introduced the cells of interest as “stem/progenitor” cells, but soon referred to them as “stem cells” for the rest of their talk. In tissue stem cell science, this is a pervasive practice of scientific inexactness, born out of not having a means to quantify stem cells distinctly from progenitor cells. And that is what Asymmetrex’s KSC (kinetic stem cell) counting tech is able to do. It’s an important distinction that stem cell scientists understand, especially those working towards development of stem cell therapies, which progenitor cells can’t provide.
Q: What do you hope the new tissue cell analysis calculator portal will accomplish?
A: Mainly, I want it to begin the work of establishing a stem cell science and stem cell medicine culture in which scientists and physicians quantify tissue stem cells as commonly as they now determine other longstanding important measures of human tissue cells’ quality and potency, like population doubling time, cell doublings, and cumulative population doublings, which are the other calculators we make available.
Q: Is this what Asymmetrex addressed in its presentations in the conference?
A: Exactly. We had both a virtual exhibit booth and a research poster presentation. The information in both focused on this important stem cell biology distinction that, before now, stem cell scientists couldn’t do anything about. I think that once they know they can do something about it, the good scientists, and there were a lot of them in this conference, will. Besides the presentations at the conference to make them aware of it, starting on the first day, we launched a new web portal called our Stem Cell Counting Center. Scientists can go there and find free online calculators for computing commonly used metrics for tissue cell analyses, as well as one for KSC counting. I am looking forward to future ISSCR conferences in which scientists are presenting research with exact tissue stem cell numbers compliments of Asymmetrex’s tech and vision.
Q: So, you are planning on attending ISSCR 2022?
A: Well, truth be said, it would be nice for the organizers to finally get around to inviting Asymmetrex. But in any case, if we have something more to say, we’ll be there. I would also like to have a first visit for Asymmetrex at ASCB (American Society for Cell Biology) 2022 and ISCT (International Society for Cell Therapy) 2022, as well!Activate Social Media: