Weekly stem cell reads: Pew, cord cells for COVID, more

Sometimes the recommended weekly stem cell reads are just a bunch of papers I find intriguing, but more often they include at least one or more things that are not necessarily “recommended”. Instead these are items that stimulate discussion and debate. Today’s post includes one such complicated area on cord MSCs related to COVID-19 plus the usual list of other pubs and developments.

We’ll start with a Pew Trust report.

large b cell lymphoma
Large B cell lymphoma is often treated with chemo and a stem cell transplant. Normal heterogeneous lymph node at left with nodules, connective tissue, hilum, etc. (arrowhead and arrows). On the right is the more uniform appearing node filled with large B cell lymphoma cells, lacking normal structural features. From Bakhshi and Georgel, Figure 1 from Blood Cancer Journal, 2020. Creative Commons image.

Pew report on adverse events in stem cell clinic patients

I’ve been meaning to write about this new Pew report on an assessment of side effects related to stem cell clinics. It reports on various adverse events.

They used several approaches including social media items. Some stem cell clinics or their fans have criticized this report for some of its methods. However, it’s a useful addition to the knowledge out there on problems that patients report after going to unproven stem cell clinics.

There are many challenges to conducting this kind of analysis. For instance, some clinics require non-disclosure agreements. Patients have also told me they are reluctant to publicly discuss problems experienced after going to clinics. They can feel intimidated or want their privacy. Clinics themselves often do not report on adverse events or even report them to the FDA so the amount of data out there is on the low side.

Cord cells for COVID?

A new paper was published on the idea of cord MSCs for COVID-19. If it’s helpful for background, I have this explainer on MSCs here: Mesenchymal cells or MSCs: definition, stem cell fraction, & trial map.

The new trial paper is entitled Umbilical cord mesenchymal stromal cells as critical COVID-19 adjuvant therapy: A randomized controlled trial in SCTM.

The small trial reports a possible benefit of cord MSCs for very sick COVID-19 patients. It’s not entirely clear to me how strong this paper is. What do you think?

The data on the baseline characteristics of the control and intervention groups are fairly minimal. How sick were each group to start? Their oxygen levels?

It’s interesting to compare this study to another umbilical cord MSCs pub from earlier this year that is similar in some ways.

My student Mina Kim and I just published a paper analyzing the anticipated future impact of 79 new clinical trials testing cellular medicines of various kinds for COVID-19. I’m going to blog about that paper soon.

The cells used in this paper are laboratory grown MSCs.

Other notable stem cell pubs & media

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