Weekly reads: bat stem cells & viruses, Lineage Cell, He Jiankui visa

Occasionally when I write a post there is an angry reaction to it in the blog comments, which was the case for my recent fact-check of the LifeWave X39 patches

bat stem cells, stem cells
Bat pluripotent stem cells provide insights into their unique relationship with viruses.

As you can see in that post, I didn’t find convincing data to either back up the claimed stem cell connection. In my opinion, there also aren’t clear clinical trial data to support their claimed systemic health benefits.

Some people have been mad about my X39 post. They let me know in the comments. Some were not postable.

One complaint was that I didn’t actually try the patches myself. Another common theme seemed to be that some of the commenters were selling X39 themselves. They were mad I wasn’t a fan of the product perhaps because it could lower sales? Still others just wanted to tout the patches. I did post one such comment, but others were over the top so it just felt too promotional to post those.

Why do these patches matter and why do a review? Check out my post and you can see my rationale for spending time on that.

If you haven’t already, please also take a look at our stem cell YouTube channel and subscribe. I’ve posted one of the videos below on MSCs.

Recommended stem cell reads

Bat pluripotent stem cells reveal unusual entanglement between host and viruses, CellThis is a cool study led by Thomas Zwaka. They made and studied bat iPS cells, finding insights into connections between hosts and viruses. I wrote about the preprint for this bat stem cell work earlier. A big question is how bats can tolerate having so many viruses.

I can see many logical extensions of this work. We’re going to be hearing a lot more in this area, which is great. There are definite potential applications to COVID-19.

Chemically defined cytokine-free expansion of human haematopoietic stem cells, Nature. 

Lineage Enters Into Option and License Agreement With Eterna Therapeutics to Develop Hypoimmune Pluripotent Cell Lines for Multiple Neurology Indications, PR. The whole area of hypoimmune stem cells is fascinating. Some folks argue and there are some data to support the idea that certain stem cells are already hypoimmune. There is some logic here too. Certain stem cells do express none or far less of most lineage-specific antigens.

On the other hand, any allogeneic cell, even a stem cell, is going to be recognized in some way as foreign. The promising idea here is to engineer new versions of stem cells that escape that. I’ve been following the biotech Universal Cells (now part of Astellas) for many years. It’s funny that mesenchymal cells or MSCs are often talked about the most in terms of having immune evading potential, but MSC products often are partially differentiated and extremely heterogeneous. For that reason you’d expect them to be reasonably immunogenic. Can you select for specific MSC clonal lines that are somewhat immune evasive?

He Jiankui gets Hong Kong visa and then quickly loses it. He seems to be trying to rehabilitate his career with mixed success. As I wrote last week, I’m still scratching my head as to what scientists and institutions who have invited He to speak think that the world is going to get out of that in a positive way.

Thousands of gene and cell therapies are inundating FDA reviewers as the agency tries to keep up, EndPoints. It’s great that the field has grown so much but how does the FDA get to the point of managing all of this effectively? A big budget increase so it can expand its rosters?

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