Stem cell studies continue to make big news with a mixed bag of trends, and some good stem cell news and others not so much.
Mesoblast ($MESO) had its stock suspended for quite so time recently in anticipation of a big announcement. When that news came today it was discouraging in the form of its partner Teva choosing to end their relationship with Mesoblast on a stem cell heart disease trial. Mesoblast spun this as something good that they regained the rights from Teva, but investors saw it very differently and the stock has plunged today. I’m not sure I get the point of the two-week hold on the stock leading up to this.
On a more upbeat front, BioTime‘s subsidiary Cell Cure Neurosciences is making progress on their trial work for a treatment for Dry AMD. The company received safety board approval to start a second cohort for the OpRegen product that will include a more clinically meaningful dose.
The use of stem cells for multiple sclerosis (MS) continues to make headlines. It is important to note that the recent upbeat media stories on a stem cell treatment for MS, while based on encouraging data, are focused on an approach that is extremely high risk and thus is appropriate only for the most severe MS cases. The treatment itself can be fatal. Other stem cell offerings for MS, such as those sold by stem cell clinics, have little if any data behind them. Interestingly, Health News Review did an analysis of that “this isn’t hype” Vox story on the stem cells for MS development and they gave the story a very strong rating (9/10). They only dinged it for “disease mongering”.
The FDA sent a warning letter to another stem cell cosmetics company, Hollywood Skincare International. The FDA says the product “DermaSet Stem Cell 3D Renewal Treatment” is an unapproved drug. The FDA continues to be active on stem cell cosmetics, but not so much on stem cell clinics.
Next week is the big ISSCR annual meeting in San Francisco. If you haven’t registered yet, you can do so here. It’s a great opportunity to learn about stem cells and talk about everything to do with stem cells with other stem-o-philes.
Did I miss any recent stem cell news that you think is important? Weigh in.