January 18, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

diabetes

2 min read

There’s never enough time to get all of one’s science reading done, but we can try! It helps to have a list of “to-read” articles, whether actual research articles or media pieces. In the old days, I remember my mentors saying they literally had “piles” of journal articles on their coffee tables, bathrooms, bedrooms, etc. that they needed to read. Here are some past recommended reads. What would be the digital piles of science articles to try to dig into this week? Here are …Read More

8 min read

ViaCyte is one of the most exciting stem cell and regenerative medicine biotech companies so I like to try to check in with them regularly. Today’s post is my new interview with ViaCyte leader Paul Laikind on recent developments. We had a great chat about the science and how things are looking upbeat for the company, which is growing (a heads up for stem cell biologists who may be job hunting). You can read my previous interview with them from about a year ago …Read More

3 min read

We heard this week about the encouraging news of a new CRISPR-stem cell collaboration between stem cell biotech ViaCyte and CRISPR Therapeutics. The goal of the team is to make genetically engineered pancreatic derivatives from stem cells that would have a unique immune stealthiness. If such an approach was successful, patients would not need to take immunosuppressive drugs. I followed up with five questions for ViaCyte. Their CEO Paul Laikind sent along some answers that provide new, deeper insights. You can see a cool …Read More

3 min read

What happens when one of the most exciting stem cell biotechs ViaCyte teams up with a firm like CRISPR Therapeutics to use a combination of gene editing and cell therapy? Hopefully a synergistic partnership emerges that in this case can develop an effective stem cell-based therapy for diabetes. You can see a press release on the news. (Update, see my new interview after the news broke with ViaCyte CEO Paul Laikind) ViaCyte has been a frequent subject of posts on The Niche related to …Read More

9 min read

When I think of the promise of stem cells for diabetes, the privately held California stem cell firm ViaCyte is the first biotech that comes to mind now. It has promising stem cell clinical trial work building. Today’s post is a new interview with the company’s CEO Paul Laikind. For past posts on ViaCyte see here, which includes an interview with Laikind a few years ago. PK: The last time we talked was in March 2015. Can you please update us on the VC-01 trial? How …Read More

2 min read

Statins have been hailed as some of the best drugs ever. Given the massive, deadly prevalence of cardiovascular disease, some have even semi-jokingly talked about putting these drugs in the water supply for public health. The growing evidence (e.g. this story) that statins might significantly aid in prevention, delayed progression, or even post-treatment delay of recurrence o cancer seemed to add to the glowing rep of these drugs. As a prostate cancer survivor, the news on statins and prostate cancer seemed particularly notable. But …Read More

7 min read

It’s been exciting to watch the recent developments in using stem cells as the basis for treatments for Type I Diabetes. One of the major players in this arena is the privately-held company, ViaCyte. In this post, I interview ViaCyte President and CEO, Paul Laikind. The topics include their VC-01 product, the Encaptra device, an update on their clinical trial, the healthy competition with Doug Melton, and future perspectives. Can you give an update on the VC-01 clinical trial? Answer: We’ve enrolled four patients in the …Read More

1 min read

Chalk up another exciting development for the stem cell and regenerative medicine field in 2014 related to diabetes. It’s been a huge year. (Update: read my Fall 2019 interview with ViaCyte here.) For the first time ever, an ES cell-based device has been transplanted into a diabetic patient. ViaCyte working together with Dr. Robert Henry at UCSD did the pioneering transplant, the first in a series as part of an FDA-approved clinical trial being conducted as UCSD Health System. The trial is a combined …Read More

2 min read

All the recent high-profile papers that are having troubles are bumming me out, with the latest example being the “Betatrophin” Diabetes paper from Harvard last year. Yesterday it was called into major doubt by a new Cell paper from a group led by Jesper Gromada at Regeneron. The authors of the original 2013 Betatrophin paper–Doug Melton’s team at Harvard– indicated in their own accompanying, somber perspectives piece also in yesterday’s issue of Cell that they agree that their 2013 report was largely incorrect. This unfortunate turn of events is based on both …Read More

2 min read

There has been considerable discussion about the whether the media hyped the recent Harvard stem cells for diabetes paper (see top 10 takeaways of that paper). I believe that this was greatly hyped. This Harvard publication reported production of insulin-secreting cells from human embryonic stem cells (hESC). Newspapers around the world widely exaggerated the potential impact of this paper. They often used the word “cure”. Perhaps the worst offender was the Telegraph with their headline “Cure for Type 1 diabetes imminent after Harvard stem-cell breakthrough“. I’m …Read More