Cells Weekly is a digest of the most interesting news and events in stem cell research, cell therapy and regenerative medicine. Read Cells Weekly every Sunday night!
Next week I’m going to attend and tweet from World Stem Cell Summit. You can follow my live tweets here.
1. Discussions on adipose cell-based therapy regulation
This week, Paul Knoepfler posted a part of his interview with Cell Surgical Network (also see part 1 and part 3), dedicated to question of regulation autologous fresh adipose tissue-derived cell therapies in US. His post triggered a big and interesting discussion.
The only reason the FDA can claim that HCT/Ps are a drug is if they are being processed in a laboratory manner or have the potential of transmitting communicable disease. Once you use a laboratory to process the cells you are under FDA jurisdiction and they have a list of validation procedures they require all facilities to meet. It’s rare that a physician with a laminar flow hood or a laboratory actually meets these validation standards.
I’d highly recommend you to read it and discuss it!
Some regulatory issues were also discussed in our recent post on fat tissue processing devices. Please feel free to join the discussion!
2. Street “stem cell protests” in Italy
A new spike of “stem cell street protests” took place this week in Rome:
Protesters, including several terminally ill patients in wheelchairs, crashed the gates of the Lower House and demanded a meeting with Health Minister Beatrice Lorenzin before police forced them out, the Italian news agency ANSA reported Monday. During a march to the Lower House, they tied up traffic and caused two buses to crash into each other, ANSA said.
The cause was the same as earlier this year – patients and advocates were demanding to loose regulation on autologous stem cell therapies. It was related to decision to halt proposed government-sponsored trial of Stamina’s Foundation protocol.
3. Mesenchymal stromal cells in knee cartilage defects – results of clinical trial
Results of Phase 2 placebo-controlled trial, assessing bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stromal cells in varus knees with cartilage defects, have been published this week:
Both treatment arms achieved improvements in Tegner, Lysholm, and IKDC scores. After adjustment for age, baseline scores, and time of evaluation, the cell-recipient group showed significantly better scores.
The authors reported 1-year imaging and 2-year functional scores follow-up.
4. Overview of stem cell clinical trials
Tania Bubela’s group from U of Alberta published comprehensive overview of global stem cell clinical trials:
We developed a data set of 4749 stem cell CTs up to 2013 in worldwide registries. We defined 1058 novel CTs (i.e., trials that were not observational in nature; did not involve an established stem cell therapy for an established indication, such as hematopoietic stem cells for leukemia; and did not investigate supportive measures).
This is very good analysis, absolutely worth a look!
5. Generation of lung cells from human iPS cells
Researches from Columbia University developed a method for efficient generation of lung cell types from iPS cells:
We have established, based on developmental paradigms, a highly efficient method for directed differentiation of hPSCs into lung and airway epithelial cells. Long-term differentiation of hPSCs in vivo and in vitro yielded basal, goblet, Clara, ciliated, type I and type II alveolar epithelial cells. The type II alveolar epithelial cells were capable of surfactant protein-B uptake and stimulated surfactant release, providing evidence of specific function.
6. Microvascular networks chip in Top 10 Innovations
SynVivo chip, which mimics microvasculature, made in Top 10 Innovations of 2013 – The Scientist’s annual competition:
The SynVivo platform, launched in December 2012, consists of about 20 standardized chips that mimic the different vascular geometries of hamster, rat, and mouse. Several chips also contain specialized cavities for seeding cells of a particular tissue type, such as neurons, hepatocytes, or tumor cells, which scientists can use to study interactions with drugs or other circulating compounds. The chips run from $50–$150. The company will even work with researchers to develop a customized chip for an additional cost.
New chips and microfluidic devices become more and more popular among academic and industry researchers. Wide introduction of such chips will allow to replace many animal experiments.
7. Bioprinting infographic
I think, this infographic is useful and worth a look!