Weekly stem cell reads: bat stem cells, brainier organoids, more

I’m working to send out a big grant on Tuesday so I’m busier than ever but a few stem cell and regenerative medicine stories caught my eye. I can’t write grants 24/7 without a few breaks although sometimes it feels like that’s what I’m doing.

bat stem cell derivation
Bat pluripotent stem cell derivation. Déjosez,et al. Fig. 1. Preprint.

Bat stem cell derivation

Pluripotent bat stem cells as a model to study novel viruses. It’s been fun over the years to follow the attempts to produce pluripotent stem cells in other species besides mice and humans. There were rat ones. I heard about efforts to make bovine pluripotent stem cells. Even rhinos to try to prevent extinction.

The new preprint from a team led by Thomas Zwaka reporting the production of bat stem cells is pretty cool. I can see, for example, how it could impact of emerging viruses such as future COVID-like viruses. They used a modified Yamanaka protocol to make bat iPS cells. The preprint is entitled, “Bat pluripotent stem cells reveal unique entanglement between host and viruses.” They made the iPS cells from the greater horseshoe bat.

See part of Fig. 1 above. Call me crazy but the plot of their RNA-Seq data in 1D almost looks to me like a bat flying very quickly. I think this is also the first iPS cell paper I’ve ever seen with an illustration of a bat in a figure. I love it.

More recommended reads

Making Lab-Grown Brain Organoids ‘Brainier’, Neuroscience News. Cool work. Here’s the original research article. TGFβ superfamily signaling regulates the state of human stem cell pluripotency and capacity to create well-structured telencephalic organoids in Stem Cell Reports from a team led by neuroscientist Bennett Novitch.

Drug Targets Link between Glioblastoma Stem Cells and Circadian Clock Proteins, GEN.

A win for stem cells, Washington Examiner. This highly conservative paper is celebrating the flawed ruling of Judge Bernal here in California giving Cell Surgical Network a win in the big FDA lawsuit. One thing I found interesting about this new article is a quote from network co-founder Elliot Lander:

“We appreciate the Court’s clear and unequivocal ruling, which affirms what we have been saying for 12 years: that our innovative surgical approach to personal cell therapy is safe and legal,” Lander said. “With this victory behind us, we look forward to refocusing our energy on our practice and harnessing life-changing stem cell treatments to support doctors and benefit patients across the country.”

The article notes, “According to Lander, stem cell therapies “are incredibly safe.” I’m not so convinced.

I still think the ruling will be appealed, but the FDA is sure taking its time. Is there a deadline for filing the appeal? Anyone know?

1 thought on “Weekly stem cell reads: bat stem cells, brainier organoids, more”

  1. Inga Andersdotter

    I have nothing good to say about the Washington Examiner, or about Cell Surgical Network. But I think that this illustrates the same point I’ve been making for a long time. As long as people see no hope or timeline or predictions for how long it will be until desperately needed FDA approved stem cell based therapies are available in doctors’ offices– even the most vague guesses clearly labeled as such– they will continue to go to dubious clinics. Someone with knowledge and authority needs to step up and give a timeline or endpoint for when these treatments might actually happen. They can include a 900 page disclaimer to all of their predictions if they want to. Every other sentence can be “this is all theoretical, absolutely nothing is guaranteed, you cannot count on this estimate, etc etc etc.” But this action would save lives, health, and enormous amounts of people’s money. Not could– *would*. There is a moral imperative for a reliable expert to come forward and do this. That’s all I’m going to say.

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