Cells Weekly – June 26, 2016

by Alexey Bersenev on June 27, 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. Coverage of ISCCR 2016
Annual meeting of International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) is a main scientific event in the stem cell field. I was following conference via blogs and twitter. It was great coverage on my favorite blogs, but less so on a twitter. I’d highly recommend you to follow live stream of Chris Wells from ISSCR. Here is blogs roundup:

CIRM’s the Stem Cellar:
Presentations at ISSCR that caught our eye
Circular RNAs: the Mind-Boggling Dark Matter of the Human Genome
Multi-Talented Stem Cells: The Many Ways to Use Them in the Clinic

The Niche:
Thought provoking talk from John Dick at #ISSCR2016 on cancer stem cells
Shinya Yamanaka at #ISSCR2016 on reprogramming of cells & scientists
Austin Smith talk at #ISSCR2016: a ground state inhibitor pathway
5 big picture stem cell trends at #ISSCR2016

The Signals (more updates will come next week):
ISSCR Day 1: Escaping the ground state of pluripotency

2. CRISPR-based gene editing is moving closer to the first human trial
The week started from the NIH Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee (RAC) session (watch webcast here), where researchers from the University of Pennsylvania presented their proposal for the first time ever cell-gene editing human trial, based on CRISPR/Cas9. This news made a big splash in the media. Penn’s team is proposing a triple gene edit (NY-ESO-1, PD-1 and TCR) on autolgous T-cells of patients with multiple myeloma. Here is some coverage to read:
First Human Test of CRISPR Proposed (MIT Tech Review)
Federal panel approves first use of CRISPR in humans (STAT)
Money Behind First CRISPR Test? It’s from Internet Billionaire Sean Parker (MIT Tech Review)
First CRISPR clinical trial gets green light from US panel (Nature)
First proposed human test of CRISPR passes initial safety review (Science Insider)
They’re going to CRISPR people. What could possibly go wrong? (STAT)
Video: To Fight Cancer, Sean Parker Backs First Use Of CRISPR Gene Editing In Humans (Forbes)

Also check few discussions on a twitter here, here and here. RAC members voted “YES” and recommended to proceed. The next step is IND application to FDA.

3. Spinal tumor as complication of “stem cell tourism”
Yet another bomb in the media this week was the clinical case, reported in NEJM. A patient, who was traveling to few “stem cell clinics” got a spinal tumor, originated from donor’s cells. Here is some coverage:
A Cautionary Tale of ‘Stem Cell Tourism’ (New York Times)
Stem Cell Tourist Ends Up with Sticky Mass in His Spine (MIT Tech Review)
He went abroad for stem cell treatment. Now he’s a cautionary tale (Boston Globe)

4. NIH to distribute the first clinical-grade human iPS cell lines
NIH announced that clinical-grade iPS cell lines are available now for distribution. You can order it here. The lines were derived in industrial GMP facility (Lonza). The process was described last year.

5. Using organoids for personalized drug therapy
Proof of principle study on value of tissue organoids in personalized therapy, was published this week in Science TM. Researchers used organoid cultures, derived from the rectal epithelia to predict response to drugs in cystic fibrosis patients:

In vitro drug responses in rectal organoids positively correlated with published outcome data from clinical trials with VX-809 and VX-770, allowing us to predict from preclinical data the potential for CF patients carrying rare CFTR mutations to respond to drug therapy. We demonstrated proof of principle by selecting two subjects expressing an uncharacterized rare CFTR genotype (G1249R/F508del) who showed clinical responses to treatment with ivacaftor and one subject (F508del/R347P) who showed a limited response to drug therapy both in vitro and in vivo.

Hopefuly, organoids will go mainstream soon!

6. Fresh bone marrow cells as good as cultured
Researchers demonstrated that in the model of anal sphincter injury, freshly isolated minimally manipulated bone marrow cells as good as cultured mesenchymal stromal cells from the same marrow:

In the present study we demonstrated in a preclinical model that minimally manipulated BM-MNC were as effective as in-vitro expanded MSC for the recovery of anal sphincter injury followed by primary sphincter repair. These results may serve as a basis for improving clinical applications of stem cell therapy in human anal incontinence treatment.

Very important comparative study, which every developer should do before decide to culture cells!

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