The COVID-19 pandemic is tearing through the country right as we are starting into the holiday season, but the wheels of science including cell biology keep going and we keep reading all the great work.
What news or papers caught your eye?
Here are some of the things I have on my list of reading. Also, check out our most-read topic here on The Niche of the last month or so in two posts here and here digging into what I see as Duke’s cord blood autism program entanglements with a for-profit stem cell clinic in Panama.
Mesoblast COVID-19 work gets a boost via Novartis
Novartis has signed a multi-$10 million deal with Mesoblast on MSCs for COVID-19. It’s a nice thumbs up from Novartis for the promise of the Mesoblast Remestemcel-L MSC product for ARDS including COVID-19 ARDS. If things go well, the deal could go into the high $100s of millions.
This is very encouraging news. You’d imagine that Novartis went through all the data and came out upbeat.
Now I’m curious about possible developments for Athersys, another big player here. They already had ARDS data before the pandemic. Also, a number of other firms like Cynata pursuing cellular therapies for COVID could be buoyed by the news of this deal.
For Remestemcel-L and the other cellular medicine products being tested for the novel coronavirus in the end it’ll all come down to the phase 3 data. I’m hoping it’s good news on one or more products, even though I have been somewhat skeptical of the rationales here vs. steroid use.
- AMD1 is required for the maintenance of leukemic stem cells and promotes chronic myeloid leukemic growth, Oncogene. AMD1 is quite an interesting enzyme.
- Adult Neural Stem Cells Are Alerted by Systemic Inflammation through TNF-α Receptor Signaling, Cell Stem Cell.
- PET, image-guided HDAC inhibition of pediatric diffuse midline glioma improves survival in murine models, Science Advances. This approach sends the drug right to the tumor, which may be superior to systemic infusion where there are issues like crossing the blood-brain barrier. HDAC inhibitors such as panobinostat have sparked the development of resistance in DIPG cells, but cocktails of multipole drugs and radiation may overpower resistance and these combinations are likely going to be the best way to go with these high-grade childhood gliomas.
- Mechanical Tension Promotes Formation of Gastrulation-like Nodes and Patterns Mesoderm Specification in Human Embryonic Stem Cells, Developmental Cell and Cell Surface Mechanics Gate Embryonic Stem Cell Differentiation, Cell Stem Cell, both deal with cellular mechanics, which is a fascinating subfield of cell biology. See graphical abstract from the latter above.
- The Global Alliance for iPSC Therapies (GAiT), Stem Cell Research, Stephen Sullivan, et al. “The Global Alliance for iPSC Therapies (GAiT) is a new initiative to support the implementation and clinical application of therapies derived from pluripotent stem cells to the benefit of patients globally.”