Nestlé Partners with Stem Cell Tech Company to Study Link Between Nutrition and Disease

The Nestlé Institute of Health Sciences (NIHS) has signed a long-term research agreement with Wisconsin-based Cellular Dynamics International (CDI), a leading developer of stem cell technologies for in vitro drug development, stem cell banking and in vivo cellular therapeutic research.

The agreement gives Nestlé access to certain types of CDI’s cell products to support nutrition-research programs on maintaining health and helping to prevent conditions such as diabetes and obesity.

Human stem cell research provides the scientific basis for the development of preventative and therapeutic treatments for serious human diseases. However, CDI’s iCell® and iCell® products, which will be used by the Institute, are not embryonic stem cells — they are obtained using a pioneering method using adult human cells that have been reverse-engineered to behave like human stem cells; Nestlé asserts that it does not do any research using human stem cells.

Nestlé’s long-term biomedical research strategy combines the use of these cells — called pluripotent stem cells, as they can grow into many different types of body cell — with other advanced technologies to better define the genetic and metabolic basis of health and disease. Nestlé’s research will provide the scientific basis for new nutritional solutions that could play an important role in helping to prevent or slow the onset of certain serious human health conditions, including obesity, diabetes and cognitive disorders.

CDI says its iCell® product line includes cardiomyocytes, neurons, hepatocytes, and endothelial cells, with numerous other cell types in development. The company's MyCell® Products are cell products manufactured from donor samples using iPSC technology to make stem cells or differentiated cells from any individual, including those with diseases of interest.

"The ongoing work and this long-term supply agreement with NIHS demonstrate the utility and broad applicability of our iCell and MyCell Products," said CDI CEO Bob Palay. "Our customers already benefit from a reliable supply of human iPSCs and human differentiated cells for their biomedical research and drug discovery. This supply agreement with NIHS adds nutritional research as yet another field that will benefit from CDI's products and expertise."

In other Nestlé news, last month the food and beverage giant announced a partnership with Walmart Chile, Coca-Cola Chile, PepsiCo and Unilever, with the goal of helping reduce waste and boost responsible disposal in Chile through a new recycling network. The companies will be provided with useful energy recovery data on each type of waste, which Nestlé says it will use to redesign its product packaging to reduce waste and improve the environmental performance of its products. The partnership is part of Nestlé’s commitment to eliminate waste at every level of its operations — a goal it is already well on its way to achieving in Europe.


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