Cells Weekly – August 28, 2016

by Alexey Bersenev on August 29, 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. Stem cell blog carnival
Canadian the Signals blog hosted for the first time hosted stem cell blog carnival:

Think of a blog carnival as a single venue hosting a variety of entertainment. In this case, the “entertainment” are posts from influential bloggers across the stem cell research community all blogging on the same topic. Visit Signals next Thursday to gain access to all of these perspectives. As you jump from post to post, just as you would between booths at a carnival, it’s a chance to absorb a wide range of opinions and viewpoints from scientists and science communications experts. I’ve read a few of the blogs already and each one is interesting and different – as unique as their authors. You’re in for a real treat.

The theme of the first carnival was 10 years of iPS cell discovery.
The Signals did a great job in promotion of the first carnival and gathering posts together. 11 posts from 7 blogs participates in carnival! Remarkable event for the stem cell social media! I’d highly encourage you to read all posts, give feedback and participate in next carnivals!

2. Commercialization of cell therapy products in Europe
A week ago I wrote a post about failing commercialization of approved cell/ gene therapy products in Europe:

3/4 (75%) purely cell-based ATMPs or 3/7 (43%) of all approved ATMPs were withdrawn in the last 3 years! We can exclude Zalmoxis, which yet to be approved, and statistics will be even worse. We can also exclude Glybera, which was administered only once in 3 post-approval years and considered as commercial flop, and statistics will be much worse. So, is this the solid case of failed ATMPs commercialization? Yes, at this point it is.

I’d like to invite you for discussion!

3. Role of tissue resident stem cells in cancer risk
Very important study for understanding of the cancer-initiating cells and their relationships with normal tissue stem cells was published this week in Cell. Researchers used very elegant models to demonstrate that cancer risk depends on function of resident adult stem cells:

We show that tumor incidence is determined by the life-long generative capacity of mutated cells. This relationship held true in the presence of multiple genotypes and regardless of developmental stage, strongly supporting the notion that stem cells dictate organ cancer risk. Using the liver as a model system, we further show that damage-induced activation of stem cell function markedly increases cancer risk.

4. New level of tissue clearing – see through the body
Researchers from University of Munich brought tissue clearing techniques to the new level – fully transparent body. New modified method called uDiSCO:

We developed ‘ultimate DISCO’ (uDISCO) clearing to overcome these limitations in volumetric imaging. uDISCO preserves fluorescent proteins over months and renders intact organs and rodent bodies transparent while reducing their size up to 65%. We used uDISCO to image neuronal connections and vasculature from head to toe over 7 cm and to perform unbiased screening of transplanted stem cells within the entire body of adult mice.

Images from the paper are amazing!

5. Patient to sue stem cell clinic
Patient, who underwent unproven stem cell therapy, was not satisfied with result and filed lawsuit against the clinic:

Rivero’s suit says the Lung Institute violated Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act by duping clients into believing stem-cell therapy worked despite the absence of credible medical evidence.
“It’s one thing for folks that have an incurable disease to try experimental treatments,” said Rivero’s attorney, Ben Vinson Jr. of Tampa. “But it’s another when the person offering the treatment knows it doesn’t work.”

Totally opposite story, related to Lung Institute, went out in mass media in almost the same day with lawsuit story.

6. New method for expansion of nephrogenic progenitors
Belmonte’s group from Salk Institute described a new methodology for long-term expansion of human nephrogenic progenitor cells and its organization in kidney nephrons:

Here, we show that with appropriate 3D culture conditions, it is possible to support long-term expansion of primary mouse and human fetal NPCs as well as NPCs derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). Expanded NPCs maintain genomic stability, molecular homogeneity, and nephrogenic potential in vitro, ex vivo, and in vivo.

The method looks promising and could be potentially scalable for clinical applications.

7. On toxicity of CAR T-cell therapy
Due to recent CAR T-cell therapy clinical trial temporary suspension, the topic of related toxicity all over the place. STAT news this week posted a piece, where called CAR T-cell therapy as “terrifying”:

One of the hallmarks of CAR-T: It has to nearly kill you if it’s going to save you

This is misleading statement, of course, but article is worth reading.
Yet another interesting piece on the same topic was posted on the Pharmaceutical Journal site:

Competition between the various academic institutions is also fierce. Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, University of Pennsylvania and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, among others, have welcomed investment from industry and philanthropy. The University of Pennsylvania now boasts the largest immuno-oncology group working on CAR-T, with 300 researchers (three years ago there were only 40 researchers). And with grant money now easier to secure, new research groups have sprung up. Reflecting on the sudden popularity of the field, Brentjens says: “I guess for the people who started out this race there wants to be some sense that their contribution is acknowledged. I would say that the field is getting very crowded now.”

8. Fresh reviews:
Adult Stem Cell Therapy and Heart Failure, 2000 to 2016 (JAMA Cardiol)
Meta-analysis: Neural Stem Cells therapy for experimental ischemia stroke in preclinical studies (Sci Rep)

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