Weekend recommended reads: Athersys, ALS, COVID-19, Fibroblasts, Zoom brain

What are you reading these days and does it include topics like cell therapies for COVID-19, ALS, regenerative potential of fibroblasts, and why Zoom meetings are so tiring for the brain? I cover those topics and more below with recommended reads including papers and media items. Here’s last week’s recommended reads.

Abbasi et al Cell Stem Cell 2020 Fig 3
“Figure 3. Hic1-Lineage Progenitors Repopulate the Injured Dermis and Reconstitute the Mesenchyme of Neogenic Follicles
(A) Experimental timeline for fate-mapping experiments performed using Hic1CreERT2:RosatdTomato mice labeling hfDSCs and extra-follicular progenitors.(B) Hic1:tdT+ cells following large skin wounds at P28 anagen harvested 20 dpw.(C) Inset (blue box in A) showing magnified neogenic HFs within the wound. Hic1:tdT+ cells (red) reconstitute DP (arrow) and DS (arrowheads).” Abbasi et al Cell Stem Cell 2020 screenshot of part of Fig 3.

Here’s to fibroblasts, which have regenerative activities

Distinct Regulatory Programs Control the Latent Regenerative Potential of Dermal Fibroblasts during Wound Healing. This work from a team led by Jeff Biernaskie was published in Cell Stem Cell, which hints at a key theme here in that fibroblasts have some regenerative potential. This is a very cool paper, defining that there’s more to fibroblasts than meets the eye and Hic1 as well as Runx and reintoic acid signaling are key players in regulating these cells’ regenerative capacity. See part of Fig. 3 above and check out those Hic-1+ cells.

Neural implants for spinal cord injuries

Implanted neural stem cell grafts show functionality in spinal cord injuries. I wonder if in the end the most effective approach to some kinds of spinal cord injury and paralysis, especially those where the injury was years ago, may be a combination of a biologic (stem cells) and a cybernetic implant.

Zoom on the brain

The Weirdness of Watching Yourself on Zoom. What can watching yourself on Zoom do to the brain and is this part of why it can feel so tiring? This article digs in.

Cancer stem cells

From Oncogene DOCK6 promotes chemo- and radioresistance of gastric cancer by modulating WNT/β-catenin signaling and cancer stem cell traits.

Stem cell-derived heart cells

Scientific Reports brings Human pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes as a target platform for paracrine protection by cardiac mesenchymal stromal cells

2 COVID updates

Celularity finds a California home for COVID work in part funded by CIRM

PR: Celularity announces the activation of first California Clinical Trial Site following CIRM Grant Award to Advance Treatments for COVID-19.

COVID infects certain brain cells

SARS-CoV-2 infects human neural progenitor cells and brain organoids

More data from Athersys using MultiStem

From Technology Networks, “Progress in Stem Cell Therapy for Transplant, Stroke and ARDS Patients.” The piece is mainly an interview with Athersys CEO Gil Van Bokkelen. You can see my past interview with him here as well. Athersys is also testing stem cells for COVID-19 as well. Van Bokkelen gives a concise overview of their trials overall:

“We are currently running a Phase 3 clinical trial for the treatment of ischemic stroke (MASTERS-2 study), recently initiated a Phase 2/3 pivotal trial for the treatment of COVID-19 induced ARDS (MACoVIA study), and we have FDA authorization to start a Phase 2 clinical trial for the treatment of trauma (MATRICS-1), which we expect to launch this summer. In addition to these three trials, our partner in Japan, HEALIOS K.K. is also conducting a clinical trial using MultiStem cell therapy for the treatment of ischemic stroke (the TREASURE study) and an ARDS clinical trial (the ONE-BRIDGE study). Both of their studies are expected to finish enrollment this year.”

Stem cells for ALS

From ALS News Today, “Stem Cell Treatment Seen to Safely Aid Speech in ALS Patients in Small Study.

Here’s the original article Articulation recovery in ALS patients after lineage-negative adjuvant cell therapy – preliminary report.

DNMT3 and clones

In Cell Stem Cell from Margaret Goodell Tissue-Biased Expansion of DNMT3A-Mutant Clones in a Mosaic Individual Is Associated with Conserved Epigenetic Erosion

3 thoughts on “Weekend recommended reads: Athersys, ALS, COVID-19, Fibroblasts, Zoom brain”

  1. It’s important to note that both Healios trials could lead to approvals in Japan for both ARDS and Ischemic Stroke. This would be significant for Athersys to validate the efficacy of MultiStem.

  2. Why is CIRM giving money to Celularity? That company was formed with a $250 million investment and is based in New Jersey. They should fund their own research.

    “Personal investors included life coach Tony Robbins; former Apple and Pepsi CEO John Sculley; GV (formerly Google Ventures) founder Bill Maris; former FDA Commissioner Andrew Von Eschenbach, M.D.; and XPRIZE and Singularity University founder Peter Diamandis, M.D., who is also a Celularity cofounder.”

    1. @Bill,
      CIRM may have overdone it with a rush to fund COVID-related work. More broadly they seem to have significantly relaxed the California-based work standard over the pasts 5+ years to just have some kind of presence like doing part of a trial in California.

Leave a Reply