In the whirlwind that is the stem cell and regenerative medicine world, there are many concerning things that need attention, but also good stuff happens too and this post focuses on the positive.
The Asterias spinal cord injury clinical trial, a phase 1/2a trial called SCiStar, continues to make encouraging news with a clean safety profile and additional hints at possible positive indicators of efficacy. With the usual, important caveats such as that this is early and it is not an RCT, the SCiStar momentum is positive. I’m excited to see what the future holds for this one including from an RCT. You can read my interview from last month with Asterias leadership here.
I remain very enthusiastic about ViaCyte’s trial as well using a stem cell capsule product for treatment of Diabetes. Their joining forces with BetaLogics a year ago just made their position even stronger.
I’m going to do a post soon on an analysis on the total number of stem cell and regenerative medicine trials compared to historical data I collected. Stay tuned on that. I’m guessing it’ll be good news.
Recently, we also saw evidence of fast action from FDA in response to the 21st Century Cures Act in terms of providing a clear document on Regenerative Advanced Therapy designations and applications. It’s still unclear how the Cures stem cell provisions will play out, but I consider quick, clear action from the FDA to be a positive. I wish they were this fast on other stuff like dealing with stem cell clinics marketing unapproved drug products.
There have been a number of cool papers recently that I recommend reading:
- Recent Zika Virus Isolates Induce Premature Differentiation of Neural Progenitors in Human Brain Organoids
- Stem cells: Valine starvation leads to a hungry niche
- Human organs grown in pigs? Not so fast
- Identifying the Biphasic Role of Calcineurin/NFAT Signaling Enables Replacement of Sox2 in Somatic Cell Reprogramming
- Pericytes of Multiple Organs Do Not Behave as Mesenchymal Stem Cells In Vivo (see image above)
- Direct Conversion of Human Fibroblasts into Schwann Cells That Facilitate Regeneration of Injured Peripheral Nerve In Vivo
- Glioblastoma Cancer Stem Cells Evade Innate Immune Suppression of Self-Renewal through Reduced TLR4 Expression
- Human iPSC-Derived Cerebral Organoids Model Cellular Features of Lissencephaly and Reveal Prolonged Mitosis of Outer Radial Glia