August 5, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

Weekly stem cell reads: diabetic wound healing, clinic bad outcomes, pubs list

What’s new this week in terms of reads includes a stem cell/drug combo for diabetic wonderments healing, more documentation of patient harms from stem cell clinics, and a list of recommending papers.

CLOCK function in mesenchymal stem cells, stem cell heterochromatin
Screenshot of Fig. 1m. Legend “Left, gene set enrichment analysis showing that SASP-associated genes are enriched in late-passage CLOCK−/− hMSCs compared to CLOCK+/+ hMSCs (P9). Right, network showing the relative expression levels of enriched SASP-associated genes in late-passage CLOCK−/− hMSCs compared to CLOCK+/+ hMSCs (P9).” Liang, et al. 2020, Cell Research. It struck me how the right part of this figure on the gene network mapping almost looks like some kind of clock.

Adult stem cells/glaucoma drug combo promotes diabetic wound healing in mice

From a team of my UC Davis School of Medicine colleagues led by Rivkah Isseroff, Jan Nolta, Athena Soulika, and Thomas Peavy we have in Stem Cells Translational Medicine this exciting new paper, Combination product of dermal matrix, human mesenchymal stem cells, and timolol promotes diabetic wound healing in mice.

The big picture from the journal editor:

“For this work, scientists have combined adult stem cells with a repurposed drug that improves healing to create a novel bioengineered scaffold that could someday lead to a new treatment for chronic diabetic ulcers,” said Anthony Atala, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of STEM CELLS Translational Medicine and director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine. “The outcomes from this study are promising and offer therapy not just for diabetic ulcers, but also for other types of wounds.”

The hope is that these results can hold up in human patients in the future.

Neurologists report side effects from predatory stem cell clinics

From Gizmodo Shady Stem Cell Therapies Can Cause Tumors, Infections, and Death, Doctors Report and here’s the original article “Complications from “Stem Cell Tourism in Neurology.”

Dr. Jaime Imitola
Dr. Jaime Imitola.

And in the big picture, one in four neurologists has had a patient with a bad outcome from stem cell clinic. Then there’s this quote about the broader arena:

“It’s an unethical industry. They use fancy websites promising cures left and right, but which are nothing of the sort. They steal your money but give nothing in return,” says Jaime Imitola, senior author of the paper and director of the Comprehensive Multiple Sclerosis Center at UConn Health.”

I asked Dr. Imitola about their paper and he gave me this additional overall perspective:

“I think that academic neurologists are the last line of defense against “stem cell tourism’, since the majority of patients ask for guidance and have questions regarding stem cells. The results of the survey are not reassuring that university neurologists, that should be more in tune with the latest evidence based-medicine, are fully prepared to deal and counsel patients. Furthermore, the reported complications may be the tip of the iceberg, since many patients due to embarrassment are not going to report negative experiences. This study set up important questions for future research.”

I’m very glad they are doing and probably will continue to do research on this. Plus, they are being vocal about it in a blunt way.

Recommended stem cell and others pubs

Also check out this past Wednesday’s recommended reads.