Cells Weekly – September 25, 2016

by Alexey Bersenev on September 26, 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!

Announcement 1
Annual 2016 Ogawa-Yamanaka Stem Cell Prize award ceremony will take place on Wednesday, September 28 at 11am PST at the Gladstone Institutes (San Francisco, California). If you will not be in San Francisco, you can watch live-stream of the event online.
The Ogawa-Yamanaka Stem Cell Prize recognizes individuals whose original translational research has advanced cellular reprogramming technology for regenerative medicine. Recipients receive an unrestricted prize of $150,000 USD

Announcement 2
All “cell reprogramming crowd” gathered for 3 days in Berkley, California for Cell Symposia “10 Years of iPS“. There is a quite good activity on twitter, so you can follow it live via hashtag #csstemcells16.

1. FDA public hearing on regulation of cell therapy
Last week FDA organized first public hearing in the history of cell therapy field. I did not attend, but was watching it via live webcast. Here is my coverage:

The reason for the hearing was unexpectedly high number of controversial comments about 4 guidances that FDA released in 2014-2015. These guidances are aimed to clarify FDA’s current thinking on regulatory classification of Human Cell Tissue Products (HCT/P) and included definitions of “same surgical procedure“, “homologous use“, “minimal manipulation” and “adipose tissue-derived products“. The latest guidance was released almost a year ago, so it was long overdue to have this public hearing. Unusual public participation and controversial comments made FDA to reschedule this event from April to September and split it for 2 days. You can watch recorded webcast here and here.

I’d like to invite you all to discuss it with me!

2. CRISPR gene editing of normal human embryos
NPR released the news this week about the first attempt to use CRIPS gene editing on healthy human embryos in Sweden:

The step by the developmental biologist Fredrik Lanner makes him the first researcher known to attempt to modify the genes of healthy human embryos. That has long been considered taboo because of safety and ethical concerns.

Lanner, however, says he is initially planning only to study the modified embryos for the first seven days of their growth and would never let them develop past 14 days. The potential benefits could be enormous, he argues.
“Having children is one of the major drives for a lot of people,” Lanner says. “For people who do struggle with this, it can tend to become an extremely important part of your life.”

3. Results of 2 cellular immunotherapy trials
I’d like to bring your attention to two recently published clinical studies in cancer cellular immunotherapy field. First, defined composition of CAR T-cell therapy of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma by Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center. Important conclusion here is that good efficacy and cell persistence was observed after addition of fludarabine in conditioning regimen. Sorting of CD8+ cell subsets (bulk versus central memory) was useless.
Second study is small safety trial, which assessed so-called memory-like NK cells in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Besides safety endpoints, 4/9 patient went to complete remission – very good preliminary result for NK cell field.

4. The history of the first bone marrow transplant
Jovana Drinjakovic of the Signals blog wrote a wonderful story about the first bone marrow transplant cases in adults:

It was a failed transplant that saved his life. In 1958, Radojko Maksic became the first person to receive a bone marrow graft from a stranger, after he was accidentally exposed to a lethal dose of radiation in Belgrade, in what was then Yugoslavia. He still lives in Belgrade, almost 60 years after the procedure.

Highly recommended to read whole piece!

5. Assessment of young blood plasma in Alzheimer Disease model
Stanford’s neuroscientist Tony Wyss-Coray, who studied effects of “young blood” on brain rejuvenation, has started company (Alkahest) and clinical trial 2 years ago. However, preclinical data for this particular trial were not released. Now, Wyss-Coray’s group published a rationale study for Alzheimer Disease trial:

Aged mutant amyloid precursor protein mice with established disease showed a near complete restoration in levels of synaptic and neuronal proteins after exposure to young blood in parabiosis (synaptophysin P = .02; calbindin P = .02) or following intravenous plasma administration (synaptophysin P < .001; calbindin P = .14).

6. Testing of pancreatic organoids in transplantation model
Organoids field is moving to in vivo models. It is important test for the safety, engraftment and function of organoids. Researchers from Germany created human pancreatic organoids from pluripotent stem cells and tested them in xenomodel:

Upon orthotopic transplantation into immunodeficient mice, these organoids form normal pancreatic ducts and acinar tissue resembling fetal human pancreas without evidence of tumour formation or transformation. Finally, we implemented this unique phenotyping tool as a model to study the pancreatic facets of cystic fibrosis (CF). For the first time, we provide evidence that in vitro, but also in our xenograft transplantation assay, pancreatic commitment occurs generally unhindered in CF.

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