About 1 million people are living with multiple sclerosis in the U.S. alone with millions of other cases around the world so a huge effort has gone into trying to find new approaches to the disease including stem cells for MS. We’ll start our weekly recommended reads by talking about a new paper on MS and using cells called MSCs to try to tackle it.
Stem cells for MS
Effects of Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplantation on Cerebrospinal Fluid Biomarkers in Progressive Multiple Sclerosis, Stem Cells Translational Medicine.
Here’s the Clinicaltrials.gov listing. This is a very short study report tracking Neurofilament light chains (NF-L) as a marker of MS. CXCL13 was also tracked and fit with the pattern of change with NF-L.
This finding is a bit encouraging but we’ll see how the work progress with larger studies.
I’m not sure I get the rationale for why the marrow cells would help other than a possible anti-inflammatory action.
A different recent study linking MS to EBV was very interesting. I wonder if there’s some combo gene-cell therapy approach based on the EBV connection that could be helpful for patients or prevention.
The idea of stem cell therapy for MS has been around a long time with some encouraging results using true bone marrow stem cells. MSCs are more of a mixed bag and only a fraction are usually stem cells. The most promising approach here uses the combo of chemo and a hematopoietic stem cell transplant.
Other recommended reads
- CRISPR’s Nobel Prize winners defeated in key patent claim for genome editor, Science.
- How the Coronavirus Steals the Sense of Smell, NYT. Here’s the original Cell paper with my colleague Qizhi Gong as part of the team: Non-cell-autonomous disruption of nuclear architecture as a potential cause of COVID-19-induced anosmia.
- Myc Supports Self-Renewal of Basal Cells in the Esophageal Epithelium, Stem Cell Reports. This was a great collaborative project that I was part of about Myc’s interesting function and some pluripotency factors in the esophageal basal cells, which are stem cell-like cells.
An orally available, brain penetrant, small molecule lowers huntingtin levels by enhancing pseudoexon inclusion, Nat Comm. This comes from Novartis.
- Genetic manipulation of stress pathways can protect stem-cell-derived islets from apoptosis in vitro, Stem Cell Reports.
- Meet the scientist at the center of the covid lab leak controversy, MIT Tech Review. In this piece, the author Jane Qiu spends time in a bat cave.