September 22, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

COVID-19

5 min read

The biotech Mesoblast is starting an expanded access study of its stem cell product for kids with a severe offshoot of COVID-19. The cellular drug in this case is remestemcel-L (more below). While most children fare better than adults in dealing with COVID-19, the rare subset of kids with COVID-19 for this study have more severe disease than the average COVID patient and some die. Physicians need more potential treatment options here for these children. In that sense one could argue that testing more new …Read More

4 min read

Why is former Texas Governor/Trump Energy Secretary Rick Perry plugging unproven stem cells from a clinic firm called Celltex for COVID-19 prevention on Fox News? Perry follows in Giuliani’s footsteps? And more generally, what is it with conservative politicians promoting unproven therapies for COVID-19 and in particular stem cells for the novel coronavirus disease? First, we had Rudy Giuliani plugging what he called “stem cells” for COVID-19 on his webcast. This actually turned out to be natural killer (NK) cells, which are not stem …Read More

4 min read

Katie Thomas at the New York Times reports that BARDA has dropped considering funding applications for stem cells for COVID-19. The move is part of a larger shift in funding priorities away from lung treatments and toward vaccine development. The decision has puzzled and even angered some stem cell firms and researchers. BARDA stands for Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority. It has become a core decision maker related to funding for COVID-19. The BARDA shift can be found in a few notices such …Read More

3 min read

Organoids are providing a novel avenue into the pathogenesis of COVID-19 and novel models for drug screening. A number of new preprints on respiratory organoids shed new light in this area. They were highlighted in a Nature newsy piece, Mini organs reveal how the coronavirus ravages the body. It’s a challenge to study COVID-19 infections because just infecting 2D cultures of various respiratory cells in a dish doesn’t necessarily tell you all you need to know about what goes on in the patient. While 3D organoids aren’t …Read More