Cancer stem cells are one of the most interesting areas of research, intersecting the stem cell and cancer fields. Today’s weekly reads post highlights some new cancer stem cell articles along with some other interesting papers.
I also note a recent weak stem cell clinical trial paper that is not a recommended read but is puzzling. I discuss the issues involved.
Cancer stem cells
- Cancer stem cells in the gut have a bad influence on neighbouring cells, Nature. Non-cell autonomous mechanisms in cancer are likely quite important in the niche.
- Tracing oncogene-driven remodelling of the intestinal stem cell niche, Nature. Here’s another niche paper. It has some very striking figures. See a screenshot of Fig. 1c above.
ASCL1 represses a SOX9+ neural crest stem-like state in small cell lung cancer, G&D. My lab’s paper last summer on mutant histone H3.3 in childhood glioma found ASCL1 to be a likely major mediator of some of the tumorigenic effects. Note that small cell lung cancer is a neuroendocrine tumor.
Puzzling stem cells for diabetes article in SCTM
The journal Stem Cells Translational Medicine got some attention in recent weeks for some back and forth related to controversial papers it has published on cord blood and other unproven approaches to autism.
Now UPI picked up (Stem cell therapy could reverse Type 2 diabetes for some) a stem cell-related article in Stem Cell Translational Medicine that again seems puzzling.
It reports on an open-label, uncontrolled study from Hanoi, Vietnam.
The work claims that bone marrow stem cells can help type-II diabetes in some patients.
There is no clear rationale for this approach.
Also, the article reports that it only showed signs of efficacy in patients who met both of these criteria: having diabetes for less than 10 years and BMI of 22 or less. People in Southeast Asia tend to have lower BMI’s than Americans, but still 22 or less is a low BMI for people with type-II diabetes.
What is the point of a journal publishing this kind of study? I don’t get the benefit to the scientific community and there are potential downsides.
Part of what concerns me is that many stem cell clinics are selling the idea of stem cells for diabetes.
That includes in some cases bone marrow stem cells. We’ve seen cases many times where published weak trials are used for promotion by clinics including with cellular approaches to autism.
This kind of work also may give false hope to patients and their families.