Cells Weekly – December 16, 2012

by Alexey Bersenev on December 16, 2012 · 0 comments

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Welcome to Cells Weekly! Every week, we’re trying to filter and pick the most interesting news and provide you a valuable information. This week, we posted results of our poll about “the correct name of mesenchymal stem cells“. We would like to encourage you to vote in our polls and proposed new polls!

1. Clinical cord blood expansion – new data
It was the most interesting clinical publication this week. The team from MD Anderson Cancer Center published results of initial phase trial for assessment of cord blood expansion ex vivo in leukemic clinic. The results are good and encouraging!

Expanded cord blood in combination with unmanipulated cord blood significantly improved engraftment, as compared with unmanipulated cord blood only.

Read my analysis here.

2. “Immune cells to treat leukemia” – analysis of mass media coverage
The recent news about gene-immunocellular therapy for treatment of leukemia, was all around the mass media this week. Multiple major media outlets covered this story. To get a sense of the story, please watch this short documentary:

Health News Review blog analyzed mass media coverage in 2 posts (read here and here).

The story was peppered with sensational descriptions (“amazing,” “phenomenal,” “fantastic,” etc. ) that attest to the electrifying possibilities of the new treatment, which involves infusing patients with a virus that will reprogram their immune systems to fight cancer. But there was no independent voice to deliver any sober admonishment about a treatment that’s only been tested on a dozen people.

3. ACT announced upcoming iPS cell trial in US
It was, probably “the buzz of the week”. Advanced Cell Technology announced their intention to submit IND to FDA for clinical trial, involved iPS cell-derived platelets.

This announcement was very strange, because it was made via New York Times. No press releases.
Unfortunately, NYT article is available only by subscription. You can read some quotes and discussions on InvestorStemCell forum:

ACT’s idea for the U.S. trial would be to infuse both normal platelets and stem-cell-derived platelets into eight patients, Dr. Lanza said, and compare how the cells function. A separate set of eight patients would receive normal platelets and platelets derived from human embryonic stem cells.

Read more on Knoepfler Lab Stem Cell Blog.

4. Long-term engraftment of fetal neural stem cells in ALS trial
I’ve written a comment about recent findings, announced by NeuralStem in press release:

The results of autopsies, give us a hint that engraftment and persistence of cells could be superior mechanism of therapeutic action. Paracrine and trophic effects can not be excluded, but could be less significant.

5. 6-step platform to deal with non-compliant cell therapy clinics
@celltherapy proposed a platform to consider in combating non-compliant cell therapy treatments:

We recognize the problem of non-compliant cell therapies is not just a problem that exists in jurisdictions with little, no, or poor regulation but that is a growing problem even in the most highly regulated jurisdictions meaning the solution cannot be regulated it depends on education and enforcement.

6. Diabetic drug to attenuate tumorigenicity of iPS cells
It was the most interesting research paper of the week. The study published in Sci Reports. The treatment of iPS cells by well-known diabetic drug metformin, dramatically reduced their tumorigenicity, but left intact pluripotent potential:

Mechanistically, metformin appears to suppress the Oct4-driven compartment of malignant stem cells responsible for teratocarcinoma growth while safeguarding an intact, Oct4-independent competency to generate terminally differentiated tissues.

These findings could lead to inclusion of metformin in clinical protocols for iPS cell-based therapies.

7. Relevant topics for safety and success in stem cell therapy
This is a title of very interesting review, which appears online this week:

This paper will discuss some controversial issues of importance for achieving cell therapy safety and success. Particularly, the following aspects of stem cell biology will be presented: methods for stem cells culture, teratogenic or tumorigenic potential, cellular dose, proliferation, senescence, karyotyping, and immunosuppressive activity.

I’d recommend you to read!

8. Opposite effect of mesenchymal stromal cells, derived from different sources, on tumor growth
Yet another very interesting research paper. The authors demonstrated that human adipose-derived MSC promote, but cord blood-derived MSC inhibit glioblastoma growth:

The opposite effects of AT-MSC and UCB-MSC on GBM clearly demonstrate that differences must be considered when choosing a stem cell source for safety in clinical application.

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That’s all for the week! Stay safe!

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