People often ask me what are the most promising stem cell therapies in development and new data suggest we should add stem cells for epilepsy to the list based on work by Neurona Therapeutics.
I’ll start off the weekly recommended reads with this new mouse paper on cell therapy for epilepsy.
Neurona Therapeutics: stem cells for epilepsy
Human pallial MGE-type GABAergic interneuron cell therapy for chronic focal epilepsy, Cell Stem Cell. Inhibitory interneurons greatly reduced the number of seizures in a mouse model. The cell therapy was made from human embryonic stem cells. Here’s the clinical trial listing for NRTX-1001. We can think of this as an inhibitory cell therapy, which is a cool idea.
Spectrum also covered the paper and the company, Neurona Therapeutics: Uncertainty and excitement surround one company’s cell therapy for epilepsy.
Neurona has not, that I could find, published data on their ongoing clinical trial. Anyone else see it out there? I did find seven papers on PubMed that at least mention Neurona Therapeutics and epilepsy, even if none that reported clinical trial results on NRTX-1001.
Neurona did report positive human findings through a press release earlier this year. We should be cautious on biotech press releases. There’s only N=2 here. However, there’s reason for cautious excitement. The PR says there was a 90-95% seizure reduction in two recipients of NRTX-1001. There were no adverse events to date.
Other recommended regenerative reads
- International Society for Cell & Gene Therapy Position Paper: Key considerations to support evidence-based cell and gene therapies and oppose marketing of unproven products, Cytotherapy. I could add a blunt subtitle. Something like, “what the bleep do we do about all these unproven stem cell clinics?”
- Meeting abstract from Vertex on its diabetes VX-880 cell therapy work: Glucose-dependent insulin production and insulin-independence in patients with type 1 diabetes infused with stem cell-derived, fully differentiated islet cells (VX-880).
- USC joins LA-area stem cell institutes in forming a regenerative medicine consortium, USC.
- Bizarre Cancer Has Been Spreading Among Shellfish for Centuries, Studies Find, NYT. I’ve written before about contagious cancer in canines, but this new work suggests it happens in other species. No evidence for it in people. To be clear, we’d have to see cancer cells successfully jumping from one person to another, not viral-related cancers like HPV-driven cervical and other cancers
- Why researchers should use human embryo models with caution, Nature. This comment is from Janet Rossant & Jianping Fu. I hope people listen to their logical. As readers of The Niche may already recall, I have both practical and ethical questions about human embryo model research. One biggie is how we would know if the models become the real thing.
- Heard of energy healing? This FDA warning letter to Tesla BioHealing, Inc is kind of an unusual one in that space. The products “Tesla MedBed Generator and Tesla BioHealer medical devices” are claimed to do all sorts of great things including, “Generates stem cells naturally.” Hmm. Then there’s this, ““Once the body is given enough Life Force Energy to work with, cellular self-repair mechanisms can begin to activate much faster and more profoundly than previously was possible.” Uh, what?