Cells Weekly – January 24, 2016

by Alexey Bersenev on January 25, 2016 · 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. Cells Weekly is posted every Sunday night!

1. CRISPR- “Lander saga” continues on social media
As you know about a week ago, Director of Broad Institute, geneticist Eric Lander, published a review in Cell journal – The Heroes of CRISPR and it made a big splash on a twitter. This week, “Lander saga” continued! Broad’s competitor on CRISPR patents battle, Jennifer Doudna commented on Lander’s review, as well as many others. It was a week of firestorm against Lander’s piece! Here I picked the most interesting blogs and comments:
Heroes of CRISPR – comments (Cell)
Charpentier’s and Doudna’s comments on PubMed Commons
A Scientist’s Contested History of CRISPR (MIT Tech Review)
Controversial CRISPR history sets off an online firestorm (STAT)
“Heroes of CRISPR” Disputed (the Scientist)
A Whig History of CRISPR (Genotopia)
The Heroes of CRISPR (Bits of DNA)
CRISPR in the history of science and intellectual property (Engineering Life)
CRISPR controversy reveals how badly journals handle conflicts of interest (STAT)
Discussion on PubPeer
Eric Lander CRISPR “history” and (lack of) disclosures of conflicts of interest (Storify by Jonathan Eisen)
Doing a disservice to Future “Heroes of CRISPR” (the Spectroscope)
The Villain of CRISPR (it is NOT Junk)
Why Eric Lander morphed from science god to punching bag (STAT)

2. Brain tumor after fetal cell transplantation – a case report
Clinical researchers from Iran recently reported a case of complication from infusion of fetal liver-derived cells in patient with type 1 diabetes. About 2 years after cell infusion, patient developed benign brain tumor. The authors are confident that the tumor originated from infused fetal cells, at least partly. I’ve written about this case here.

3. Reproducibility of Bhatia’s direct transdifferentiation paper
I recently came across of discussion on PubPeer about 2010 Nature paper from Mickie Bhatia paper on direct transdifferentiation of fibroblasts into hematopoietic cells. I’ve asked on twitter and got some interesting responses.

4. Self-renewal of macrophages
As you may know, some types of mature differentiated cells are able to self-renew like typical stem cells. One of very well described examples of it is subset of T-cell memory. This week, the study published in Science, unveiled self-renewal regulatory network in macrophages. Very important conclusion from the study:

This indicates that distinct lineage-specific enhancer platforms regulate a shared network of genes that control self-renewal potential in both stem and mature cells.

From Science Daily:

“As it turned out, the macrophages contain a set of dormant genes that can be reawakened and thus enable self-renewal,” Sieweke says. In this context, the researchers made a surprising discovery: the macrophage genes work together in a network very similar to one that is switched on in proliferating embryonic stem cells. “You could say that the differentiated cells contain dormant stem cell genes,” Sieweke explains.

5. Intracellular cargo delivery by cell-penetrating peptides
Non-viral nongenetic methods of delivery of genetic material into the cell are advantageous, but not yet very effective approaches. The recent study, published in PNAS, describes improvement in gene delivery by cell-penetrating peptides:

We showed that this GET (GAG-binding enhanced transduction) system could deliver enzymes (Cre, neomycin phosphotransferase), transcription factors (NANOG, MYOD), antibodies, native proteins (cytochrome C), magnetic nanoparticles (MNPs), and nucleic acids [plasmid (p)DNA, modified (mod)RNA, and small inhibitory RNA] at efficiencies of up to two orders of magnitude higher than previously reported in cell types considered hard to transduce, such as mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs), human ESCs (hESCs), and induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs).

6. Reform FDA for benefit of cell therapies
Scott Gottlieb – a former FDA commissioner and adviser, posted lengthy piece on Forbes about necessity of FDA reform for benefit of stem cell research:

I spoke before a meeting of the International Society for Stem Cell Research in Berkeley, Calif., this week, addressing the need for the Food and Drug Administration to adapt how it approaches pre-market regulation in order to properly address very novel areas of technology like gene editing and cell and gene therapy.
The thrust of my message was this: FDA needs to more closely focus is organizational structure and its regulatory programs on measures of risk, and move away from its structural legacy that oriented its review programs mostly around discrete clinical areas of medicine.

7. 4D bioprinting
Very interesting overview of so-called 4D bioprinting posted on the Cell Culture Dish blog:

4D bioprinting is analogous to 4D printing in that it is the printing of smart, environmentally responsive biological structures, tissues and organs. 4D bioprinting begins with the printing of multiple cells or biological matrices resulting in structures that undergo subsequent, designed and anticipated (not spontaneous) but self-originated development in response to an environment.

8. Fresh reviews:
Biofabrication: reappraising the definition of an evolving field (Biofab)
Biodistribution, migration and homing of systemically infused MSC (Stem Cell Res There)
Development of MSCs for immunomodulatory therapy (Front Immunol)
Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation for multiple sclerosis: is it a clinical reality? (Stem Cell Res Ther)
Exosomes and their therapeutic potentials of stem cells (Stem Cells Int)
Hematopoietic stem cell expansion and generation (Blood Res)

9. New methods and protocols:
ACT-PRESTO: Rapid tissue clearing and labeling method for 3D imaging (Sci Rep)
Impact of age and hypoxia on proliferation of bone marrow MSC (PeerJ)
Characterization of iPS cell microvesicles (Sci Rep)

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