Weekly reads: stem cells for spina bifida & diabetes trials, pubs

It’s always great when there’s good news in the stem cell field and a new trial of stem cells for spina bifida here at UC Davis School of Medicine is very encouraging. So I’ll lead off with this story.

Stem cells for spina bifida

This pioneering work is led by Drs. Diana Farmer and Aijun Wang. It has received major funding from CIRM, which covered the work on its blog recently.

Stem cells spina bifida
In research on stem cells for spina bifida, Arthur the dog got an experimental therapy. Here is a picture of Arthur visiting the Knoepfler Lab.

I also wrote before about how this work was being tested in animal models including in dogs, including Arthur who at one point visited my lab. You can learn more about the research in the video below.

In spina bifida the spinal cord is exposed and that exposure is damaging. The idea behind the trial is to use a patch that includes placental cells to cover the spine area and allow for healthy spinal cord development.

An almost three-year-long trial will start providing data in people to learn more about the nature of the patch including its safety. The hope is that the therapy may ultimately prove safe and effective for spina bifida. At present if detected by ultrasound surgeons can do in utero surgery to try to close the defect. Sometimes surgery can be done early after birth.

I’m excited to see how this trial proceeds.

Stem Cell News

FDA grants fast track designation to stem cell therapy for type 1 diabetes. This designation goes to Vertex Pharma. The more solid clinical trial work on diabetes the greater the promise of a treatment or cure one day. Hopefully that day is coming in the next 5-10 years.


2 thoughts on “Weekly reads: stem cells for spina bifida & diabetes trials, pubs”

  1. I am a 74 yr old male but enthusiastically play tennis twice and lawn bowling also twice a week . But recently experiencing acute muscular pains in my calf and lower thigh areas .One of my tennis ladies is trying to sell me Light wave x stem cell therapy . Being not sure about this treatment but desperate , read your info relating to the above suggested treatment .Fortunately I did so , Light wave X certainly might not solve my desperation . Back to the Drawing Board I guess.

    1. Hi, I’m a 68 year old UK woman with OA, RA, Carpel Tunnel, Fibromyalgia, Fatty Liver, Diabetes II and I am a double cancer survivor and not surprisingly, somewhat depressed and having difficulty sleeping ! Hence my interest in stem cell activity.
      I too was interested in the LifeWave patches but my main query was, if, as the company blurb would have us believe, light accelerates stem cell production anyway, then surely the same effect could be gained by using a sunbed several times a week? Plus additionally, these patches are meant to be worn on the back of the neck – presumably so the light can access them? but what happens if you are a woman like myself (or man) with very long, luxuriant hair that even strong sunlight has difficulty permeating n’er mind the light on a grey November day?
      Anyway what I really wanted to say is, well done you in maintaining such a high level of exercise well into your 70’s.
      Personally I would have been delighted to be able to walk more than 50 metres any given day of the past 20 years, so to me, you have been lucky to receive at least 7 if not 10 peoples activity levels!
      Keep on keeping on and don’t forget the sunscreen!
      Kind regards

      Daryl Plumpton

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