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Pfizer, Biotech to Partner on Brown Fat Cell Research

Brown adipose tissue

Brown adipose tissue (Lucasmcorso/WikimediaCommons)

22 May 2014. BioRestorative Therapies Inc. in Jupiter, Florida and the pharmaceutical company Pfizer Inc. in New York are conducting a joint study of human brown fat tissue and cell lines, to discover more about their use as a platform for therapies for type 2 diabetes and obesity. Financial and intellectual property aspects of the deal were not disclosed.

BioRestorative Therapies is a biotechnology company developing therapies based largely on adult stem cells. The company’s portfolio includes stem cell-based treatments for bulging and herniated lumbar discs and cosmetic facial creams that aid in the production of proteins to delay skin aging. One of its products in development is ThermoStem, designed to treat diabetes and obesity with stem cells from brown adipose (fat) stem cells.

Brown fat in the body is linked with the maintenance and regulation of metabolism, and its main function is to transfer energy from food into heat. BioRestorative cites preclinical studies indicating a potential for brown fat to encourage weight loss, as well as reduce glucose and lipids (fats, oils) in the body, thus delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes. The company envisions developing ThermoStem into a small-molecule treatment for obesity and diabetes from brown fat stem cells, where the stem cells populate a bio-safe scaffold implanted into the patient.

The deal with Pfizer calls for a two-year joint study to identify and find out more about the metabolic functions of brown fat cells, leading to a human brown adipose cell model. Pfizer has a standing interest in partnering with other labs on weight-loss methods based on brown fat’s role in metabolism.

BioRestorative is also collaborating with University of Utah on its ThermoStem program. Utah provided BioRestorative with adipose tissue samples under a 2011 licensing agreement. And in 2012 the company engaged the services of Utah’s Amit Patel, a professor of regenerative medicine and tissue engineering, to conduct preclinical research leading to early-stage clinical trials of ThermoStem. Patel serves on BioRestorative’s science advisory board.

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