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. Dispelling the myth of premature aging of cloned animals
Very important study, proving that cloned animals don’t have serious health problems with age, was published this week. Researcher from University of Nottingham, analyzed health condition of 13 cloned sheep, including 4 sisters of famous Dolly the Sheep. Because Dolly had some health issues before death, the scientists believed for long time that cloned animals do not age normally due to development diseases and cloning-related abnormalities. It is the first study “to assess the long-term health outcomes of somatic cell nuclear transfer in large animals”. This news was massively covered by the media and blogs. From New York Times coverage:
Similar evidence disproving premature aging in cloned animals was previously found in mice and cows, said Jose Cibelli, who studies reproductive cloning at Michigan State University. The study of the sheep confirms that once cloned animals survive the first few years of life, they won’t die any sooner than other animals.
“It really changes the perception of how people look at cloning,” said Charles Long, a scientist who studies artificial reproduction at Texas A&M University and was not involved in the study.
Many scientists hope that changes in perception will lead to advances in reproductive technology that will enable us to provide food for a growing global population, save endangered species and develop advanced therapies. Scientists involved in and separate from the study don’t think it will mean we might clone humans anytime soon, nor do they condone it, but they can’t say someone won’t try.
2. Results of Phase 3 stem cell trial in Crohn’s disease fistulas
Belgian cell therapy company Tigenix this week published results of Phase 3 trial, assessing adipose tissue-derived mesenchymal stromal cells in perianal fistulas of Crohn’s disease patients. It was one of the biggest stem cell trials in Europe, conducted in 49 centers. The study was designed as randomized, double-blind and placebo-controlled. As announced by company last year, the study met primary end point – combine remission. (51% in experimental group versus 36% in placebo). Tigenix submitted marketing authorization application to EMA earlier this year and expecting approval by the beginning of next year.
3. Controversy around new gene editing technique NgAgo
New gene editing technique NgAgo was described by Chinese researchers this year. Since the publication, some doubts about reproducibility were expressed on the Niche blog. Since more and more labs were trying to reproduce technique, the controversy came out. Paul Knoepfler covered reproducibility of NgAgo on his blog in details here and here. You can also join and follow PubPeer discussion.
4. American poll on human enhancement
This week U.S. Pew Research Center released results of large poll about human biomedical enhancement technologies. There were specific questions about such technologies as gene editing, brain chip and synthetic blood. The short conclusion:
Americans are more worried than enthusiastic about using gene editing, brain chip implants and synthetic blood to change human capabilities.
But, of course, devil in details. First, worried majority is only about 60%. Second, about 90% of surveyed knew almost nothing about such thing as gene editing. Third, (quote) “those familiar with gene editing are more inclined to wont it for their child” in case of risk of serious disease.
T cells were more sensitive to cryopreservation than other cells. Our results indicated that submitting the thawed cells to a 1 h rest period improved the detection of some cell markers when compared to fresh samples. In contrast, cells submitted to a 24 h rest period, or to none, were less representative of fresh sample distribution.
6. Fresh reviews:
Senescence in Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells – Implications in Stem Cell-Based Therapy (Int J Mol Sci)
Cellular GFP Toxicity and Immunogenicity (Stem Cell Rev Rep)
Bioengineered Livers (Eur Surg Res)
7. New methods and protocols:
Generation of induced pluripotent MSCs from human dermal fibroblasts using recombinant proteins (Stem Cell Res Ther)
Production of tissue-engineered intestine from expanded enteroids (J Surg Res)
In vitro generation of fertile oocytes from mouse primordial germ cells (PNAS)
cGMP production of patient-specific iPSCs and photoreceptor precursor cells (Sci Rep)
Isolation, characterization, cryopreservation of human amniotic stem cells (PLoS ONE)
In vivo testing of iPS cell-derived 3D cardiac tissue (Sci Rep)
Depletion of mouse cells from human tumor xenografts to improve downstream analysis of target cells (JoVE)
Tissue-like microgel arrays for evaluating stem cell differentiation (Sci Rep)
3D cryo-imaging for studying of biodistribution of human MSCs (Stem Cells TM)
Comparison of a xeno-free and serum-free culture system for human ES cells with conventional culture systems (Stem Cell Res Ther)
Comparison of KnockOut™ serum with FBS for culture of limbal epithelial cells (J Ophtalmol)