Cells Weekly – August 4, 2013

by Alexey Bersenev on August 5, 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.


1. Stem cell meat buzz
It was the most discussed topic of the week.

Dutch stem cell researcher Mark Post is going to do some public demonstration (tomorrow?):

Some details of Monday’s event are still secret, but Ogilvy, the PR agency hired to handle Posts’s publicity, says that the meat will be cooked and then eaten by two volunteers in front of an audience of invited journalists. (It also says that Post, who works at Maastricht University, is not available for interviews until then.) Speculation is rife that the anonymous U.S. billionaire who has bankrolled Post’s research project will step forward. And of course, there is the biggest question of all: What will the burger taste like?

learn more from this video:

2. Update on first iPS cell trial
This week Japanese RIKEN Institute launched a trial officially:

RIKEN is pleased to announce the launch of a pilot study to assess the safety and feasibility of the transplantation of autologous induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cell sheets in patients with exudative (wet-type) age-related macular degeneration.

Even though some sources says that recruitment started on August 1, It could still take a long time before the first procedure:

Takahashi has said treatment will actually take place about a year after, indicating an actual transplant is possible next summer at the earliest.

3. Stem cell criminal?
Former Assistant Professor of one of American Universities has entered a guilty plea in stem cell therapy scam:

During the plea, Dammai admitted that beginning in 2006 while employed with the university, he used university facilities to harvest and process stem cells for a company called Caledonia Consulting located in South Carolina. He further admitted he harvested stem cells for Caledonia from March 2006 through December 2008 and was paid approximately $161,625. Dammai acknowledged he was only authorized to conduct research for kidney cancer and was not permitted to harvest or process stem cells.

Sentencing has been set for Nov. 14, 2013, at which time Dammai faces up to one year in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Read some interesting comments on Knoepfler’s blog.

4. Transplantation of adipose stem cells converted in insulin-producing cells
BMJ Case Reports published a two clinical cases report, describing a patients with type 1 diabetes, who received allogeneic adipose-derived mesenchymal stromal cells transdifferentiated into insulin-making cells. These cells together with hematopoietic bone marrow were pumped into abdomen, thymic and portal circulation:

Over follow-up of 22.93 and 13.8 months they have stable blood sugar levels with glycosylated haemoglobin level of 6.3% and 6.8% with present insulin requirement of 18  and 22 IU/day, respectively.

BMJ continues to wonder!

5. Stem cell therapy in multiple sclerosis – analysis of immune system
I wrote a summary of recent findings from multiple sclerosis cell therapy trials, where inactivation or replacement of auto-reactive T-cells was expected:

So, despite the “clinical absence of MS activity” after stem cell therapy, there was no “re-installation” of immune system. Apparently hematopoietic stem/ progenitor cells have a “memory of disease”. Unfortunately, on the cellular invisible level, MS has not gone away. So, why MS activity has disappeared clinically then?

I’d like to invite you to discuss this topic with me!

6. Modulation of stem cells to repair chemoradiation-induced tissue damage
It was the most interesting scientific paper of the week. A group of researchers demonstrated that modulation of intestinal stem cell activity can save animals from lethal irradiation and chemotherapy in the cancer model. From Science Daily coverage:

“It’s our belief that this could eventually cure later-staged metastasized cancer. People will not die from cancer, if our prediction is true,” said Geng, who emphasized that the findings had not yet been proven in humans. “All tumors from different tissues and organs can be killed by high doses of chemotherapy and radiation, but the current challenge for treating the later-staged metastasized cancer is that you actually kill the patient before you kill the tumor.

“Now you have a way to make a patient tolerate to lethal doses of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. In this way, the later-staged, metastasized cancer can be eradicated by increased doses of chemotherapy and radiation.”

This is very interesting and promising therapeutic approach!


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