Cells Weekly – January 20, 2013

by Alexey Bersenev on January 20, 2013 · 0 comments

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Cells Weekly is a digest of the most interesting news and events in stem cell research, cell therapy and regenerative medicine. We emphasize the “stem cell blogosphere” and discussions online.

1. Trends in cell therapy clinical trials
I analyzed some trends in registered clinical trials from 2011 to 2012:

Total number of cell therapy trials, registered in databases increased from 2011 to 2012. I think it’s not a big jump, but good increase. This is positive and somewhat expected trend. First, the interest to the field is progressively increasing. Second, trialists were encouraged or obligated (US mandate to register trials in NCT database) to register trials in databases.

I’d like to invite you to comment and collaborate!

2. Reprogramming adult cells by bacteria
It was “a research paper of the week” to me. A group of researchers from UK have demonstrated that leprosy bacterium can reprogram adult mature Schwann cells into “stem cell-like state” in order to disseminate in the host:

These findings support a model of host cell reprogramming in which a bacterial pathogen uses the plasticity of its cellular niche for promoting dissemination of infection and provide an unexpected link between cellular reprogramming and host-pathogen interaction.

Very interesting discovery!

3. Should cell therapy industry team up with Big Pharma?
This question was recently addressed by David Brindley in his post on the Signals blog. He thinks that cell therapy industry has no choice… He wrote:

Cell therapy is not an empire. It cannot deliver sustainable and practicable benefits to patients by simply fighting turf wars against technological contemporaries. Ultimately, it will lose the war.

The needs of patients and investors resonate the loudest and (despite a few recent setbacks) these needs are most effectively answered by the global pharma industry which, like it or not, will eventually absorb the cell therapy industry (irrespective of how we choose to define it).

Very interesting and provocative post. Highly recommended!

4. New tools for clinical cell processing
New technologies for cellular therapies, presented at World Stem Cell Summit 2012, were reviewed by GEN magazine:

It is critical that there be consistency across rounds of manufacture such that everything used in a clinical trial is well-defined and documented. This is a significant change from “reagent” to “regulated reagent.”

This article worth a look!

5. Commercial opportunities in cell therapy of spinal cord injury
Jason Napodano analyzed a potential market of spinal cord injury and named 3 cell therapy companies to watch.

… in the U.S., nearly $18 billion is spent for the care of patients with SCI. It’s an enormous market opportunity and one where significant new medical breakthroughs are necessary.

6. Overview of retinal stem cells
A nice summary was posted by Ricki Lewis on DNA Science Blog:

Most of the rehomed RPE cells promptly perished, but about 3% of them self-renewed and yielded RPE cells. Dr. Temple estimates, from watching this happen, that one original isolated RPE cell with this hidden talent could generate a thousand RPE cells.

7. Mesenchymal stem cells beat antibiotics in lung infection model
Anti-microbal effects of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) continue to impress us:

Clinical grade human mesenchymal stem cells restored alveolar fluid clearance to a normal level, decreased inflammation and were associated with increased bacterial killing and reduced bacteremia, in part through increased alveolar macrophage phagocytosis and secretion of anti-microbial factors. Keratinocyte growth factor, a soluble factor secreted by mesenchymal stem cells, duplicated most of the anti-microbial effects.

If MSC better than antibiotics, could they be used “off-the-shelf” in critical care?

8. Hiding your research behind a paywall is immoral
I rarely go off topic, but this case is special. The recent article by Mike Taylor for the Guardian science blog, reflects perfectly my view on open science and data availability:

As a scientist your job is to bring new knowledge into the world. Hiding it behind a journal’s paywall is unacceptable.

Publishing behind paywalls is immoral. More than that, it’s oxymoronic: if it’s behind a paywall, it hasn’t been published. We have to stop doing it, now and for always.

Well said! Great discussion!

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That’s all folks. Have a wonderful week!

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