Where do things stand with the investigative approach of stem cells for diabetes?
33% of Type 1 Diabetes Patients Insulin-Free With Stem Cells, Medscape. Not the best headline given the few number of participants here.
If your study has only two subjects and one responds, someone is going to say, “50% of people had a positive reaction?”
Vertex has acquired two of the top cell therapy research firms in the diabetes space. It’s early days and few trial participants so far, but here’s the update in a nutshell:
“Two of the six are insulin-independent beyond 1 year after receiving the VX-880 infusions, and three others who received them more recently are on a similar trajectory. One dropped out because of reasons unrelated to the therapy”
There are no indications of safety problems.
At this early point, this initial report is very encouraging but it’s just one step forward so far. I do think there is real hope here, but media should be careful in how they cover things. It wasn’t so long ago that the NYT messed up with a “cure” headline on this line of research too.
More recommended reads
- Evolution of a minimal cell, Nature. An engineered bacterial cell with a minimal genome was produced and studied as it evolved. Cool stuff. What happened during the evolutionary cycles? Check it out.
- Researchers uncover a new CRISPR-like system in animals that can edit the human genome, MIT News.
- Controlling genetic heterogeneity in gene-edited hematopoietic stem cells by single-cell expansion, Cell Stem Cell.
- How should we feel about lab-grown chicken? WaPo. There is a whole big emerging industry of lab-grown foods including lab-grown chocolate. The key is the sometimes unlimited growth potential of stem cells and some progenitor cells. When those cells are mixtures of adipose and muscle cells, the result can be similar to meat. I’m very curious what percentage of meat and chicken consumption in 20 years will be from lab-grown sources. Maybe five percent? Ten percent?
- And more on lab meat. Lab-grown meat: the science of turning cells into steaks and nuggets, Nature.
- This Mysterious Sea Creature Is Immortal. Now Scientists Know Why, Newsweek. This reminds me of the whole immortal jellyfish story. The organism in this case is Hydractinia symbiolongicarpus, an invertebrate that lives on crabs. This is interesting research on stem cells that can regrow or grow entire organisms, but playing so loosely with the term “immortal” is not helpful.