Weekly reads: stem cell for hair loss, clinic lawsuit update, 2 big retractions

There seems to be a never-ending supply of stem cell for hair loss research but a new article invokes a novel mechanism.

stem cell hair transplant, stem cell therapy for hair loss
A person who will undergo a stem cell hair transplant. Screenshot from news video on YouTube.

Stem cell for hair loss research and cell mechanics

Here’s a recent news item about a PNAS paper: Coaxing hair growth in aging hair follicle stem cells, NW Now. A common theme is things going wrong with stem cells that then leads to baldness. Stem cells escaping the niche. Their numbers being too low. Stem cells losing their mojo. In the latest case, it is stem cells being physically too stiff to function properly. They report that methods that soften them up lead to more hair…in mice, of course. Here’s the PNAS paper: MicroRNA-205 promotes hair regeneration by modulating mechanical properties of hair follicle stem cells. It’s pretty interesting. So in theory if you found a safe drug that softens follicle stem cells maybe it could be a hair loss therapy?

There is growing research on cell mechanics and also an increased appreciation of how important it is in cell function and fate. Here’s an interesting Cell Stem Cell review Getting physical: Material mechanics is an intrinsic cell cue.

Of course, some folks are already selling supposed forms of a stem cell hair transplant, but it seems highly questionable.

Cancer stem cells

Elevated FOXG1 in glioblastoma stem cells cooperates with Wnt/β-catenin to induce exit from quiescence, Cell Reports.

IFNγ-induced stem-like state of cancer cells as a driver of metastatic progression following immunotherapy, Cell Stem Cell.

Stem cells in space

It’s getting more common to see stem cell experiments in space. China grows blood stem cells in space in what scientists say is first-of-its-kind experiment, SCMP.  Here was another very recent stem cell space experiment in the news, Scientists Are About to Try to Create Stem Cells in SpaceGizmodo.

ISSCR & ISCT weigh in on stem cell clinic case appeal

The ISSCR Files Amicus Brief Supporting FDA’s Authority to Regulate Unproven Stem Cell-Based Interventions, ISSCR. ISCT has joined ISSCR in this brief. The case is before The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.   Here’s some background on this U.S. vs. California Stem Cell Treatment Center, which the clinic firm won in the initial verdict.

2 Cell Stem Cell retractions

I heard many years ago about possible problems with one or more papers by Christopher Fasano, but we just now see in the latest issue of Cell Stem Cell that two papers (retraction notices here and here) by Chris have been retracted. The retractions were at the request of the authors.

It’s a really sad situation. Back in the days when Chris was doing the Stem Cell Podcast, we would occasionally talk. My impression was that he was doing some cool research. I was even on the Stem Cell Podcast.

Stem Cell Podcast is now run by different folks and they had this statement:

“While we appreciate his past contributions to the Stem Cell Podcast, Chris Fasano has not been affiliated with the program since 2016. The Stem Cell Podcast is committed to scientific integrity, and prioritizes bringing listeners engaging, informative, and accurate content from leading experts in the field of stem cell research.”

It seems the retractions were related to data reuse within the papers. In both cases, Chris was the only author who didn’t agree to the retractions.

Leave a Reply