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Weekly reads & paper of the week: gene-editing vs. aging

koblan et al 2020 nature gene editing progeria

The paper of the week reports using base-editing, a kind of gene-editing, to reverse mutations associated with rapid aging syndromes, generally called progeria, but there are a lot of other interesting pubs to recommend for reading this week. I go over it all in this post. Gene-editing to fight premature aging syndromes In vivo base …

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Head transplant surgery? Fact checking & perspectives

sergio canavero perhaps the leading advocate of head transplant technology

Is a head transplant actually going to be an option for extending life or changing what it means to be human? What about brain transplants? Background on the idea of head transplant surgery Given the extreme nature of the idea of taking one person’s head and putting it on another’s body, why does this area …

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Small umbilical cord stem cell COVID-19 trial: sign of efficacy?

Cord-blood-autism

A new paper today in Stem Cells Translational Medicine on a small COVID-19 Phase 1/2a trial using an umbilical cord stem cell product reports a surprising degree of possible efficacy. What’s the scoop here and could there be some hype in the media about this new study such as one of the authors describing the …

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Recommended reads: MSCs, vision, endothelial cells, more

wang et al 2020 science advances

What a year 2020 was, but there was still plenty of great science, which continues now in 2021 including published research like today’s recommended pieces and there’s one thread on MSCs today. The Niche new look, more features, and a Medical Advisory Board for 2021 Before we get to the recommended reads, note that 2021 …

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Stem cells seed a new thymus, clinical hope?

thymus, stem cells, bioengineering

Imagine receiving a smidgeon of thymus gland along with a donated heart or kidney, to fool the immune system into accepting the transplant. Authors of a new study argue that might be possible, based on their new proof-of-principle experiments. The team from the Epithelial Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine lab at the Francis Crick …

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Spicy stem cell pathways & other recommended reads

Nociceptor-mediated HSC mobilization. "Schematic representation showing that nociceptive-nerve-derived CGRP, but not substance P, acts via CGRP receptors on HSCs to enhance their mobilization via a cAMP-mediated signalling pathway. "Gao et al Nature, Capsaicin acts via nociceptor signaling to mobilize blood stem cells.

The stem cell paper of the week is a fun one about how capsaicin and nociceptors reportedly mobilize blood stem cells.  However, since the authors only show this in mice, could it also happen in humans? They argue it’s likely happening in people too. Note that nociceptors are special structures in our bodies that sense …

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What are totipotent stem cells & what can they do?

Multipotent & totipotent vs pluripotent stem cells, very early human embryos totipotent stem cells

Sometimes patients or my students ask me, “What are the best stem cells?” what information are they looking for? I think they often are looking for the most powerful stem cells so perhaps they should be asking, “What are totipotent stem cells?” Other times it seems what patients specifically want to know is what might …

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Mesoblast stock hit on gloomy data on stem cells for COVID-19

mesoblast ceo dr silvio itescu

I’ve been closely following the arena of stem cells for COVID-19 since the pandemic broke including the efforts of Mesoblast. Mesoblast unlikely to meet primary endpoints in Phase III COVID trial Now, the firm got bad news as its DSMB reported that they are unlikely to meet the primary endpoint for their Phase III trial …

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Prop 14 California: Big Expectations for CIRM 3.0

cirm prop 14 california millan allday knoepfler

Approval of Prop 14 California last month to renew CIRM was one of the biggest state election developments of 2020. Yet it didn’t get much news coverage somehow. The exception is David Jensen over at California Stem Cell Report, who has been a great source of information about the various news surrounding Prop 14 and …

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