Cells Weekly – August 18, 2013

by Alexey Bersenev on August 19, 2013 · 0 comments

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Welcome to Cells Weekly! This is a digest of the most interesting news and events in stem cell research, cell therapy and regenerative medicine. This week we’ve asked your opinion about definition of stem cell product in the light of new commercial press release. I’d like to encourage you to take our poll and discuss this issue! I’m planning to post results on this poll in 2-3 weeks.
Next week, I’ll be tweeting from MSC 2013 conference. Follow me for real time updates!

1. Tumor-specific T-cells from iPS
Gene-modified T-cells is a very promising cell therapeutic agent in clinical oncology. A group of authors from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, have demonstrated that human chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cells, linked to CD19+ malignancies, could be successfully generated from iPS cells:

These iPSC-derived, CAR-expressing T cells display a phenotype resembling that of innate γδ T cells. Similar to CAR-transduced, peripheral blood γδ T cells, the iPSC–derived T cells potently inhibit tumor growth in a xenograft model.

A quote from the Scientist:

“By combining the CAR technology with the iPS technology, we can make T cells that recognize X, Y, or Z,” said Sadelain. “There’s flexibility here for redirecting their specificity towards anything that you want.”

Sadelain’s group is not the first to derive T cells from stem cells. Last year, two groups in Japan grew T cells from iPSCs, but unlike the current study, the Japanese studies failed to fully compare the derived T cells with natural T cells, nor did they create enough T cells to test in vitro.

This is very interesting proof-of-principal study!

2. Re-creation of human heart in situ
A team of tissue engineers from University of Pittsburgh used decellularized mouse heart and human iPS cell-derived cardiac progenitors, to create a humanized heart in situ:

We show that the seeded multipotential cardiovascular progenitor cells migrate, proliferate and differentiate in situ into cardiomyocytes, smooth muscle cells and endothelial cells to reconstruct the decellularized hearts. After 20 days of perfusion, the engineered heart tissues exhibit spontaneous contractions, generate mechanical force and are responsive to drugs.

From the press release:

“This process makes MCPs, which are precursor cells that can further differentiate into three kinds of cells the heart uses, including cardiomyocytes, endothelial cells and smooth muscle cells,” Dr. Yang explained. “Nobody has tried using these MCPs for heart regeneration before. It turns out that the heart’s extracellular matrix – the material that is the substrate of heart scaffold – can send signals to guide the MCPs into becoming the specialized cells that are needed for proper heart function.”

“One of our next goals is to see if it’s feasible to make a patch of human heart muscle,” he added. “We could use patches to replace a region damaged by a heart attack. That might be easier to achieve because it won’t require as many cells as a whole human-sized organ would.”

3. Critical analysis of Osiris press release on Grafix
This week, I spent a lot of time analyzing the latest press release of stem cell therapeutic company Osiris. I thought this is very interesting case and opportunity to start few discussions with cell therapy professionals. First discussion that I’ve started: What is a definition of stem cell product?. And the second discussion is how to separate hype from real exciting data:

Despite some reasons for optimism, based on preliminary Grafix data in DFU, recent Osiris PR was designed specifically to boost stock price. As for now Grafix is hype, but not a revolution in medicine.

As always, I’m open to all (especially critical) comments and would like to invite you to discuss with me!

4. Interview with cord blood transplant pioneer Joanne Kurtzberg
Paul Knoepfler did 2 parts interview with Joanne Kurtzberg on his blog. I find this interview very interesting and informative. Read part 1 and part 2. One of the most interesting quotes from Kurtzberg:

I believe that cord blood cells help patients with brain injuries primarily through paracrine and trophic effects.

I think they decrease inflammation and stimulate endogenous neurogenesis and endothelial repair. Cord blood cells are capable of differentiating into neurons, oligodendrocytes and microglia in vitro. I think this capability is helpful to patients with leukodystrophies who undergo allogeneic stem cell transplantation with cord blood. In these cases, the donor cord blood cells engrafting in the brain also serve as a source of permanent cellular enzyme replacement therapy.

5. The latest public poll on stem cell research and morality
Pew Research posted results of the last poll on moral issues related to stem cell research, abortions and IVF. The latest data look very interesting. The authors concluded that “fewer see stem cell research and IVF as moral issues”:

The percentage of U.S. adults who consider abortion to be morally wrong (49%) far exceeds the percentage who express this view about in vitro fertilization (12%), non-embryonic stem cell research (16%) or embryonic stem cell research (22%).

Highly recommended to look and cite!

6. Overview of available 3D cell culture systems
Nature Marketplace posted nice overview of recent advanced techniques and products for cell culture, available on a market:

Several new technologies recently emerged to better care for cells in culture, including ways to provide environments for 3-D culture, methods to isolate rare cells, quick tests to validate identities, and 96-well plates that better support high-resolution microscopy.

7. Scaling up of adherent cell culture for industrial manufacturing
Cell Culture Dish blog posted overview of different aspects adherent cell culture for clinical manufacturing. Significant part of the essay dedicated to culture on microcarriers:

Microcarriers are one means of supporting the large-scale culture of “adherent” or “attachment-dependent” cells. They are small beads of glass, plastic or other composition having various densities, porosities and surface treatments that are dispersed in a suspension within a culture vessel.

Highly recommended to all cell therapy manufacturers!

8. One more retraction of Moriguchi’s paper
A couple of months ago we noted new publications from scandalous Japanese researcher Hisashi Moriguchi. Now, Retraction Watch reported about retraction one of those publication from BMJ Case Reports. As noted by editor: “Temporarily withdrawn while we investigate a complaint”.

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