Positive Stem Cell Developments in 2014

top ten listA lot has happened in 2014 in the stem cell and regenerative medicine field and so much of it has been good news so let’s focus on the positive.

These positive developments are often the result of many years of creative, hard work by amazing teams of researchers.

Here is my top 10 list of these exciting advances.

  • 1. First IPSC study in humans by team led by Masayo Takahashi.
  • 2. and 3. Major Diabetes advances: ViaCyte starts stem cell-based clinical trial for Diabetes and multiple teams of researchers make human beta cells with some encouraging functions, which may prove very important in the future as a basis for treatment.
  • 4. Ocata therapeutics‘ clinical trials for vision impairment continued on track with encouraging published results.
  • 5. Stem cell gene editing cures “bubble baby” disease (SCID) in some infants.
  • 6. BioTime and its subsidiaries make substantial progress with multiple clinical trial pipelines including Asterias’ push on OPC1 for SCI.
  • 7. Human therapeutic cloning of ES cells moves rapidly forward.
  • 8. Engineering resistance to HIV in stem cells by UC Davis team in the journal Stem Cells and a team led by Cowan and Rossi at Harvard (reported in Cell Stem Cell paper).
  • 9. Young blood reverses aging in mice. Is it at least in part a stem cell-mediated phenomenon?
  • 10. CIRM launches CIRM 2.0  with warp speed grant funding mechanism.

Did I miss any in your top 10? Tell us in the comments please.

Note: The author has a small long-term stake in Ocata.

2 thoughts on “Positive Stem Cell Developments in 2014”

  1. You completely missed out on the progress made on very small ES-like stem cells (VSELs). VSELs do exist despite all the associated controversies (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24018851; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ pubmed/25170822) and have potential to differentiate into multiple lineages (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ pubmed/24372153). It was reported in 2014 that the VSELs are implicated in regeneration of adult mouse pancreas after partial pancreatectomy (islets as well as acinar cells)(http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ pubmed/25182166). VSELs restored spermatogenesis in chemoablated mouse testis (doi:10.4172/21577633. 1000216). VSELs were shown to be implicated in formation of primordial follicles in adult ovary and their role during menopause and ovarian cancer was discussed (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/ 25269615). Thus VSELs are endogenous pluripotent stem cells that have remarkable ability to regenerate. If one could exploit their potential– there may be no need for therapeutic cloning (to make autologus pluripotent stem cells) and also VSELs have better potential than ES/iPS cells. The striking example is of making synthetic gametes from pluripotent stem cells. It has not been possible with ES/iPS cells yet (despite almost 30 years of mES cells and 15 years of hES cells and 8 years of iPS cells) whereas VSELs (reported in 2006 along with iPS cells for the first time) have the ability to make gametes (http://www.ncbi.nlm. nih.gov/pubmed/25421462).

    They will prove to be the game changers in due course of time. Slow and steady wins the race.

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