3 bits of stem cell good news

Nichelle Obar had her stem cells transplanted to her baby, Elianna, before birth. ..Nichelle and her fiancé Chris Constantino, the baby's father, are staying at Family House...

Periodically I also try to post (as I am today) specifically about stem cell good news amongst all the swirling developments out there. You can see the most recent past installment focused on good news here that include vascularized organoids. I recently stumbled on this quote that for me linked up the potential of stem cells and good news, probably because I’m a stem cell scientist:

“Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is!”

The above quote is attributed to the inspirational Anne Frank.

Here are 3 bits of recent stem cell good news.

The very important, long-term possibility of stem cells for chronic spinal cord injury moves a smidgen forward. A Cell Stem Cell paper entitled “A First-in-Human, Phase I Study of Neural Stem Cell Transplantation for Chronic Spinal Cord Injury” is a small, preliminary reason to see hope. The authors are appropriately cautious, “Despite these encouraging secondary data, we emphasize that this safety trial lacks statistical power or a control group needed to evaluate functional changes resulting from cell grafting.”

Baby Eliana who received an in utero stem cell transplant from her mother. Photo Credit Noah Berger of UCSF.
Baby Eliana who received an in utero stem cell transplant from her mother. Photo Credit Noah Berger of UCSF.

Stem cells transplanted in utero may have helped a baby Eliana (pictured above with her parents) with alpha thalassemia major. MIT Tech Review covered it with a concise piece entitled, “A stemcell transplant in the womb appears to have saved a baby girl.” From the piece, “The procedure: A team at the University of California, San Francisco extracted bone marrow from the mother-to-be between the 18th and 25th weeks of pregnancy and isolated stem cells from it. They then injected the cells into the fetus’s umbilical vein, allowing them to circulate through the bloodstream and develop into healthy blood cells.” I expect we’ll see more in utero stem cell transplants in the coming year and this current development checks a box on my prediction #5 in my top 20 predictions for stem cells and regenerative medicine for 2018.

Prizes! It’s also great to see researchers in the stem cell and regenerative medicine field getting more recognition including via prizes. The Niche blog gives out a yearly Stem Cell Person of the Year Award, while there are other awards out there too such as the Ogawa-Yamanaka Prize.

The newest one is the Sartorius & Science Prize In Regenerative Medicine And Cell Therapy, which began last year. The winner gets $25K and there are other components to this as well. To be eligible you must be within 10 years of your last degree. Nominations are now open for the 2018 Sartorius Prize. You can also always send me nominations for the Stem Cell Person of the Year Award as well.

What other recent stem cell good news is out there?

2 Comments


  1. A shameless plug that nominations for the RegMedNet Award for Cultivating Excellence, in partnership with the journal Regenerative Medicine, also opened recently – this award aims to recognise whole lab groups that have not only done good research but have excelled in career development, public outreach, collaboration etc. You can nominate here: http://bit.ly/2GukEBu

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