Weekly reads: RMAT jump, tissues as liquid crystals, gov stem cell advisor scammed of $650K

The FDA has a unique mechanism called RMAT or regenerative medicine advanced therapy designation. It’s intended to move investigational regenerative therapies forward more effectively.

RMAT data

I recently updated The Niche RMAT list and it has jumped to 85. The FDA has approved many new RMATs this year. The data on how many applications the FDA received, approved, and rejected are very interesting. The FDA says 92 were approved but not all of those are in the public domain.

RMAT, FDA data
FDA table on data related to their review of regenerative medicine advanced therapy designation or RMAT applications. Screenshot from FDA site with data from December 16, 2022.

More recommended reads

CIRM announces interim CEO will be Jonathan Thomas, who was previously Chair of the CIRM ICOC Board. What a great choice. Can he stay on as the CEO long-term? It doesn’t sound like that’s the plan. I always felt like JT did a great job as Board Chair. CIRM is looking for a new leader after Maria Millan left the post earlier this year.

Safety and stable survival of stem-cell-derived retinal organoid for 2 years in patients with retinitis pigmentosa, Cell Stem Cell. There has been some talk over the years of transplanting organoids as a type of therapy but it is only recently that we are starting to see that being tested.

CRISPR screening in human trophoblast stem cells reveals both shared and distinct aspects of human and mouse placental development, PNAS.

Toward a CRISPR understanding of gene function in human brain development, Cell Stem Cell.

This 55-year-old single mom makes less than $100k per year and is reverse aging without spending millions. Here’s her daily routine, Fortune. It’s not a perfect article but still makes far more sense than so much of the anti-aging baloney out there. Her routine mostly makes far more sense than the anti-aging dudes out there dosing themselves on grams of supplements, taking medicines for which they have no disease, and getting daily MRIs.

Speaking of those dudes, here’s a new Business Insider piece: The tech billionaires trying to hack longevity and live forever. It’s funny because these billionaires probably can get just about anything they want, no matter how unreasonable, but escaping death is not purchasable. That’s got to make some of them pretty peeved.

Biophysicists Uncover Powerful Symmetries in Living Tissue, Wired. I love the biophysics of cells.

And a crazy story about a scam of a gov stem cell advisor

A former White House scientist was scammed out of $655,000. Then came the IRS, WaPo. This story is unsettling. A PhD scientist who advised the federal government on many policy matters including embryonic stem cells lost about half of her life savings. Online scammers manipulated her.  The scammers were incredibly sophisticated. For example, at one point the scientist, Frances Sharples, called her bank but somehow her call was went to the scammers. It all started with a window popping up on her computer getting her into a financial crisis mode of thinking.

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