Recommended reads: ISSCR guidelines pushback, TB outbreak from regen product, pubs

Although in my years as a stem cell biologist I haven’t yet been in a leadership role at the International Society for Stem Cell Research or ISSCR, unproven stem cell clinics have claimed that I somehow speak for ISSCR.

I am just a standard member of the group like thousands of other researchers. In fact, I have on rare occasions been a bit critical of ISSCR related to their policies. In a way not being a leader there allows me more freedom to speak my mind. I think of myself as an independent voice in the stem cell space.

You’ll see that in today’s post which includes pushback on the newly released ISSCR guidelines related to human embryos. Let’s cover that first and then go into other recommended reads.

human-embryo-modification, ISSCR
Human embryo digitally  “painted” to simulate modification. ISSCR guidelines open the door to much longer growth of human embryos in the lab and leave the door a crack open to possible eventual heritable CRISPR of human embryos for reproductive reasons in the future.

Pushback on ISSCR policies on human embryos

Heritable editing

Françoise Baylis, a member of the WHO Expert Advisory Committee on the Governance of Human Genome Editing, has a brief critical piece in Nature on ISSCR’s new guidelines on human genome editing. It does seem like ISSCR could both have been clearer here. Also, it’s notable how ISSCR seems to want to keep the door open to possible heritable human CRISPR if certain conditions are met. I still don’t get the point of doing that. As many of you know I have favored rolling temporary moratoriums on human reproductive CRISPR.

ISSCR’s seeming “leave the door open for the future” approach to this seems like some other panels over the last few years including National Academy groups.

A key take home from Françoise’s piece:

These imply that, in time, research that involves making heritable changes to the human genome will be permitted.

14-day rule drop

Another new brief critical piece in Nature is entitled Don’t abandon 14-day limit on embryo research, it makes sense. The authors are an impressive group: Ronald M. Green , Michael West & Leonard Hayflick. They lay out their rationales for keeping the 14-day rule including four key points:

There are 4 compelling reasons for the 14-day limit. Its clarity leaves little room for misinterpretation. It corresponds to important biological events, including the beginning of ectoderm/neural progenitors. In marking the end of the possibilities of twinning or chimaerism, it is the start of a unique biological identity. There is no later relevant nexus of events.

This makes good sense.

Françoise and I were both also separately critical of ISSCR’s new guidelines recommending a lifting of the 14-day rule on growing human embryos in the lab.

TB outbreak from regenerative medicine bone product

From the WaPo, CDC investigating TB cases linked to tainted bone repair product used in more than 100 patients. The product comes from Aziyo Biologics and is distributed by Medtronic. It is called FiberCel. In this case the lot was made from a single cadaver, which was likely infected with TB. Surprisingly, testing for TB is not required in this kind of case, in part because it is so rare in the U.S. Perhaps now TB testing will be implemented. Could it be done quickly by PCR or ELISA? Or would it require culturing specimens?

This situation brings to mind the bunch of patients who were sent to the hospital with sepsis from a contaminated lot of umbilical cord material from Liveyon

Anyone know what Liveyon or its leader John Kosolcharoen are up to these days?

Recommended stem cell pubs

Leave a Reply