Today’s post is the latest edition of my weekly recommended reads, which this week include Fate Therapeutics, COVID-19 updates, AAMC, and more including some great pubs such as one on 2 modes of PRC2 function.
I’ll start with the mid-August 2020 recommended pubs and then go to the media items, but first I wanted to highlight some good biotech news.
Mesoblast gets FDA approval for GvHD, keeps studying COVID-19
An FDA panel voted 8-2 to approve the use of Mesoblast’s remestemcel-L MSC product for acute pediatric GvHD. Based on the pre-meeting materials from the FDA some had thought Mesoblast might get bad news instead. I’m glad to see it was good news instead and hopefully this panel vote will lead to formal approval soon.
The firm is also studying the use of remestemcel-L for COVID-19 based on the idea that it might suppress cytokine storms in some patients.
We’ll have a detailed post on the Mesoblast approval in a few days.
- From Stem Cell Reports, “Reprogram Enablement” as an Assay for Identifying Early Oncogenic Pathways by Their Ability to Allow Neoplastic Cells to Reacquire an Epiblast State. My lab has long been interested in the relationship between stem cells and cancer, but also embryogenesis and tissue growth and cancer as well.
- Same journal brings this one as well, Two Functional Axes of Feedback-Enforced PRC2 Recruitment in Mouse Embryonic Stem Cells.
- Nature Communications: Targeted gene correction of human hematopoietic stem cells for the treatment of Wiskott – Aldrich Syndrom. See page of Figure 3d above, where there is evidence of increased percentage of podosome-forming macrophages in cells reverted to WT.
- From Cell Stem Cell there are two related papers including this one Naive Pluripotent Stem Cells Exhibit Phenotypic Variability that Is Driven by Genetic Variation and Mapping the Effects of Genetic Variation on Chromatin State and Gene Expression Reveals Loci That Control Ground State Pluripotency reporting on genetic determinants of pluripotent stem cell phenotypes.
- In Stem Cells, Long noncoding RNA Q associates with Sox2 and is involved in the maintenance of pluripotency in mouse embryonic stem cells.
Making Babies from Bone Marrow?
From Discover Magazine comes How Close Are We To Making Babies from Bone Marrow?
The answer is “not very”, but it’s an interesting area with many bioethical issues.
A number of groups are pursuing the idea of human reproduction from stem cells. This technology could also be used for a form of human cloning. In this case in the Discover article and others, induced pluripotent stem cells or IPSCs are the main thrust of heading toward germ cells.
Fate Therapeutics dosing it up
From my UC Davis colleagues, covered by CIRM
- How COVID-19 Arose and Amplified Along the Meat Supply Chain, from Ricki Lewis who had this piece over at PLOS Blogs DNA Science.
- Large study suggests convalescent plasma can help treat Covid-19, but experts have doubts. Unfortunately, no placebo control group to help with interpretation.
- From ScienceNews: 4 reasons you shouldn’t trash your neck gaiter based on the new mask study for COVID-19. See image of the face coverings that were tested. The key point of the critique of how the study is being interpreted is this: “The study was meant to figure out how to evaluate masks, not compare their effectiveness.” I like to see this kind of thoughtful coverage of research.
From STAT News, AAMC, the medical school trade association, gave $500,000 to dark-money group in 2018. I find this piece kind of unsettling even if important.