July 14, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

Weekend reads: stem cells, CRISPR, glioma, stroke, RTT & more

Tardigrades
Tardigrade.

Every so often I realize I’ve accumulated a bunch of tabs on my browsers of things I need to dive into as time permits, which sometimes translates into a collection of recommended reads here on The Niche. Here are some recommended recent reads in the stem cell/regenerative medicine field and childhood cancer space. It includes some great science and complex social and policy developments and opinions.

‘I just want to live’: California man pleads with scientists around the world to ‘CRISPR me’. Remarkably this STAT story centers on a tardigrade (See image) gene that a man wants introduced into himself. Resonates with Right To Try.  It’s an unsettling, but compelling story. It’s great to get more on patients’ views of things.

On that same topic, this article from Donna Young at S&P Global (and an ensuring Twitter conversation) had many of us scratching our heads last week about what was going on with what seemed to be twin Right To Try related CROs. You can see my interview with the leader of one of them, Richard Garr, here.

An NPR item Gliomas Network With Normal Brain Cells To Grow Faster on a cool new paper from Michelle Monje’s lab and papers from 2 others about how childhood brain tumors connect with the surround brain’s neural network. Brain electrical activity may in a sense “feed” the glioma in various ways including via activity-coupled secretion or pro-growth and perhaps anti-apoptotic factors. Does the tumor actual influence cognition? Does cognition influence the tumor?

Here’s the actual Nature Monje lab article.

Venkatesh, et al. Nature 2019, Fig 2e "2e, Representative confocal image of neurons co-cultured with PSD95–RFP-labelled glioma cells. White box and arrowheads highlight region of synaptic puncta colocalization; magnified view is shown to the right. Green denotes neurofilament (axon); white denotes nestin staining (glioma cell processes); blue denotes synapsin (presynaptic puncta); red denotes PSD95–RFP staining (postsynaptic puncta). Scale bars, 10 µm (left) and 2 µm (right)."
Venkatesh, et al. Nature 2019, Fig 2e “2e, Representative confocal image of neurons co-cultured with PSD95–RFP-labelled glioma cells. White box and arrowheads highlight region of synaptic puncta colocalization; magnified view is shown to the right. Green denotes neurofilament (axon); white denotes nestin staining (glioma cell processes); blue denotes synapsin (presynaptic puncta); red denotes PSD95–RFP staining (postsynaptic puncta). Scale bars, 10 µm (left) and 2 µm (right).”

See the cool Fig. 2e show connections.

Knotty Problem of Cell Reprogramming Solved. Topoisomerase role in reprogramming. Here’s the pub. I hesitated in a way to link to this because those of us at UC’s cannot access Cell Stem Cell and many other papers because of the ongoing UC-Elsevier conflict. Boo. But it’s not this particular journal’s fault.

The stem cell clinic situation in Japan and Japan’s permissive regulatory system are causing problems. From Nature: The potent effects of Japan’s stem-cell policies and an editorial A stem-cell race that no one wins. I’ll be writing more about the situation in Japan soon.

Kudos to Google for banning stem cell ads. Other tech companies should follow. From Jeremy Snyder over at STAT. My own thoughts on the Google stem cell clinic ad ban.

Intravenous Bone Marrow Mononuclear Cells for Acute Ischemic Stroke: Safety, Feasibility, and Effect Size from a Phase I Clinical Trial from the journal Stem Cells.

What are your top recent reads in these areas? Let us know in the comments.

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