Is 2022 going to be any better than 2020 or 2021 when it comes to things in general or for biomedical science? Related to the pandemic?
It’s too soon to say but if I had to guess right now I’d venture an optimistic view that overall it’s going to be somewhat better by the end of the year.
What do you think?
For science more specifically, on one level, biomedical research has flourished during the pandemic in the sense of saving possibly millions of lives quickly. Also, hopefully most people have a better appreciation of its importance. On the other hand, COVID has substantially slowed down research more generally.
My new experiment with a stem cell channel on YouTube had a pretty good 2021 and we are now at more than 330 subscribers. Check it out and subscribe if you like some of the videos. I posted my newest video above, which is on 293 cells. They have been much in the news related to their use in COVID vaccine research.
On to the recommended reads.
Stem cell and other science papers
- Down-syndrome-induced senescence disrupts the nuclear architecture of neural progenitors, Cell Stem Cell. I haven’t read this one yet but on first glance it looks interesting to me.
- Combination of tucatinib and neural stem cells secreting anti-HER2 antibody prolongs survival of mice with metastatic brain cancer, PNAS.
- Online seminars as an information source for direct-to-consumer stem cell therapy, Regenerative Medicine.
- Alternative functions of CRISPR–Cas systems in the evolutionary arms race, Nature.
News & Resources
- New website for the California public cord blood bank collection program, run here through UC Davis. I’m not involved in that effort but have followed it over the years.
Great news. First sickle cell patient treated with CRISPR gene-editing still thriving, NPR. I’ve written before about the courageous Victoria Gray who was the first recipient of a gene-editing therapy for sickle cell. See image of her and her family above. My hope is that many other people with sickle cell can safely be helped long-term by this technology.
- ‘Blastoids’ made of stem cells offer a new way to study fertility, Science News. Models of human embryos like blastoids are getting much more similar to real human embryos. While research on blastoids is valuable and the area is very hot right now as I indicated in my predictions for 2022, there are some big ethical and practical questions there that are largely unresolved.
- Pig brain cells may have cured a sea lion’s epilepsy—are humans next? Nat Geo. There’s a long translational road ahead there but this is encouraging. From the piece, “Casalia has developed a technique for extracting special precursor neurons—called medial ganglionic eminence cells—from pig embryos. During brain development, these cells migrate to the hippocampus and become inhibitory neurons, which counteract hyperactivity in the brain, maintaining a delicate balance of electrical activity. In the brains of people with epilepsy, many of these inhibitory neurons are lost or damaged.”