The big news of the week was the launch of Altos labs and their ambitious plan to tackle aging through cell therapies. Altos has recruited a large number of top cell biologists away from academia.
That team plus top biotech execs and a $3B war chest make Altos one to watch in coming years. I wouldn’t be surprised if they work on many diseases, not just those related to aging.
I wonder — what is the origin of the Altos Labs company name? In English, an alto is a low female singing voice. What might be more likely is the Spanish meaning of “high”. What do you think?
Weekly recommended reads including on aging
- New Virus-Like Particles Can Deliver CRISPR to Any Cell in the Body, Singularity Hub.
- Under bill, patients in Nebraska would be informed that stem cell therapies aren’t approved, The Neighbor.
- Going bald? Lab-grown hair cells could be on the way, MIT Tech Review. Check out my very recent article fact-checking stem cells for hair loss.
- Robust differentiation of human enteroendocrine cells from intestinal stem cells, Nat Comm. Enteroendocrine cells are one of my favorites in the Histology class that I help to teach here at UC Davis Med School. They really stand out in the gut with H&E staining and come in a close second to Paneth cells as to cool appearance in the gut. It is thought that with aging the populations of these and other cells in the gut change potentially leaving us more open to infection and other GI issues.
- TRAF6 functions as a tumor suppressor in myeloid malignancies by directly targeting MYC oncogenic activity, Cell Stem Cell. I spent so many years mainly studying MYC that I keep getting drawn back to that molecule. We are still studying it in my lab to some extent but are more focused on H3.3 these days.
- Oocytes from Stem Cells, PNAS. It seems like we are marching toward stem cell-derived human gametes being available for reproductive use. But I’m still not sure that’s a wise or safe way to go. Check out my prediction #16 for the stem cell field for 2022.
- Keio Univ. team from Japan uses iPS-derived cells to treat spine injury in world 1st, The Mainichi. From the article, “According to those who performed the operation including Masaya Nakamura, professor at Keio University’s orthopedic department, they put the patient under general anesthesia face-down, and made an incision in the membrane covering the spinal cord from their back to transplant 20 microliters of liquid containing about 2 million cells, which are the source of nerve cells, into the injured area. The surgery reportedly took about four hours to complete.” This is not the first pluripotent stem cell-related trial. Many will remember Geron’s work in this area using human ES cells, which is continuing via Lineage Cell Therapeutics. However, the trial in this news item is the first iPS cell trial it seems.