Here are some recommended stem cell and other reads for the week ranging from COVID developments to prosecutors finally catching up with a stem cell surgeon who had many patients die to a list of interesting pubs. Because Trump now has COVID, I wondered on Friday if he might consider trying unproven stem cells or other cellular therapies for the novel coronavirus because so many in his universe seem upbeat about such stuff.
Indictment of Paolo Macchiarini
From the WaPo, Swedes indict surgeon for stem-cell windpipe transplants. This is a big deal. Paolo Macchiarini has so far seemed to escape serious consequences of his troubled, unethical work years ago in which patients died. From WaPo:
“Although Mikael Bjork, director of Public Prosecution, didn’t name him, Swedish news agency TT said the surgeon was Dr. Paolo Macchiarini, who was once considered a pioneer in regenerative medicine, credited with creating the world’s first windpipe partially made from a patient’s own stem cells.”
Note that of the 20 patients who got the windpipes, only 3 are still alive. A Vanity Fair piece a few years back rightly skewered Macchiarini. Leonid Schneider has been covering Macchiarini’s case for many years and has the full new indictment.
- Those uncomfortable deep nasal COVID samplings sometimes puncture up into the brain space! From JAMA, Cerebrospinal Fluid Leak After Nasal Swab Testing for Coronavirus Disease 2019
- Superspreaders have big impact. From LA Times, Largest study of COVID-19 transmission highlights essential role of super-spreaders.
- Cell Stem Cell pub, SARS-CoV-2 Infection of Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Human Lung Alveolar Type 2 Cells Elicits a Rapid Epithelial-Intrinsic Inflammatory Response.
Stem cell media
- Another exciting development from my colleagues: UC Davis Engineers Lead $36M Effort to Improve Recovery From Spinal Cord Injuries. The team will be lead by Professor Karen Moxon (pic above). From the announcement, info on the neural cell component: “Part of the effort will also aim to improve functional recovery, using neural stem cell and bioengineering scaffold technology developed by professors Mark Tuszynski, Paul Lu, Ephron Rosenzweig and Jacob Koffler, all faculty in the Department of Neurosciences at UCSD. Their stem cell and scaffold technology will be combined with neural electrical stimulation technology (“neuromodulation”) developed by Gregoire Courtine at EPFL. The team hopes to successfully combine this cell and engineering technology to promote nerve regeneration that bridges the injury site.”
- Kelly Servick, Science, Stem cells offer new glimpse at how the placenta emerges—and how the fetus-sustaining organ can fail. This news item cites a paper I had included in my recommended reads two weeks back on induced trophoblast cells.
- Fine-tuning stem cell metabolism prevents hair loss. Interesting mouse work.
- Genna Reed, The Scientist, Scientists Must Battle the Disinformation Pandemic. Why is it that misinformation seems contagious? Reed argues that part of what sets the stage for this happening is “A government actively silencing scientific voices has collided with a shrinking independent news environment and growing dependence upon social media for information.”
Stem cell pubs
- MYC Promotes Bone Marrow Stem Cell Dysfunction in Fanconi Anemia, Cell Stem Cell.
- Production, safety and efficacy of iPSC-derived mesenchymal stromal cells in acute steroid-resistant graft versus host disease: a phase I, multicenter, open-label, dose-escalation study, Nature Medicine. This work used Cynata’s CYP-001 product produced from IPS cells. The key take homes from the abstract, “No serious adverse events were assessed as related to CYP-001. OR, CR and OS rates by day 100 were 86.7, 53.3 and 86.7%, respectively. The therapeutic application of iPSC-derived MSCs may now be explored in diverse inflammatory and immune-mediated diseases.”
- tagHi-C Reveals 3D Chromatin Architecture Dynamics during Mouse Hematopoiesis, Cell Reports.
- Loss of Extreme Long-Range Enhancers in Human Neural Crest Drives a Craniofacial Disorder, Cell Stem Cell.
- Pluripotent Stem Cell-Based Cell Therapy—Promise and Challenges, review in Cell Stem Cell by Shinya Yamanaka about clinical and translational issues for IPSCs and hESCs.
Blast from the past
A piece from a decade ago on what you might call the “1%” of the research lab world, meaning labs that end up with massive collections of NIH awards like 5 or more R01s. Stem cell monopoly: do not pass go, do not collect $200,000. See image above from that post. The consensus seems to be that the first 1-2 R01s give the most bang from the buck.