January 17, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

MSCs Mesenchymal stem stromal cells

MSCs or Mesenchymal stem and stromal cells are an important kind of multipotent adult stem and progenitor cell. It’s increasingly being realized that MSCs as typically prepped often contain a heterogeneous mix of cells including stromal cells that are supportive in nature and are not stem cells.

4 min read

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 cells as “smart bomb technology in the lung”? Study of umbilical cord stem cell infusions for COVID-19 The paper comes from the University of Miami and a team led …Read More

3 min read

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 will brings some changes to The Niche. Some of the new developments are already underway like our Bioethics and Medical Advisory Board. We are also going to be doing …Read More

3 min read

The COVID-19 pandemic is tearing through the country right as we are starting into the holiday season, but the wheels of science including cell biology keep going and we keep reading all the great work. What news or papers caught your eye? Here are some of the things I have on my list of reading. Also, check out our most-read topic here on The Niche of the last month or so in two posts here and here digging into what I see as Duke’s cord …Read More

6 min read

Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is counterintuitive In the weeks and months following a transplant, a major concern is the recipient’s immune system rejecting the “foreign” biological material. But in GVHD, the opposite happens: transplanted tissue unleashes a horde of T cells that spark a cascade of inflammation, within 100 days. Typically, GVHD follows a bone marrow transplant (BMT). Eighty Percent Mortality BMT has been used for more than half a century to treat and possibly cure certain cancers and single-gene conditions like sickle cell disease, …Read More

5 min read

Many are  jumping on the bandwagon of trying stem cells for COVID-19 or testing other cellular therapies for the novel coronavirus disease, but there have been problems with either the rationales for the trials themselves or more often with how they portrayed. Sometimes there has even been outright hype. I’ve called this collective trend of promotion of scads of trials of cell therapies for COVID “throwing spaghetti at the wall”. Some may stick, but most probably won’t. If fact, there’s a reasonable possibility that …Read More

3 min read

Today’s post is the latest edition of my weekly recommended reads, which this week include Fate Therapeutics, COVID-19 updates, AAMC, and more including some great pubs such as one on 2 modes of PRC2 function. Also check out this handy resource: Helpful 2020 List of Stem Cell Journals and this blast from the past post of 10 years ago: Keep Your Stem Cells Away From BPA. I’ll start with the mid-August 2020 recommended pubs and then go to the media items, but first I wanted to …Read More

5 min read

Ready for the latest recommended weekly reads in the world of stem cells and the regenerative medicine space including a bunch of important new FDA posts & changes? This post has quite a lot on the FDA since it had a very big week with several new items of major importance to the cellular and regenerative medicine arena. I’ve linked to each announcement below with the agency’s title of the announcements. Underneath I provide some analysis and ask questions. I’ve also included some other stem …Read More

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

6 min read

Advanced Cell Technology (ACT; $ACTC) has a new paper out on using human embryonic stem cells (hESC) to make MSCs with potentially powerful therapeutic potential. The paper, entitled Mesenchymal stem cell population derived from human pluripotent stem cells displays potent immunomodulatory and therapeutic properties, was published in the journal Stem Cells and Development. What’s the scoop on this paper and this area of adult stem cell preclinical/clinical research? It’s an interesting, notable paper. At the same time there are some areas in the paper that could have been …Read More

3 min read

Is Advanced Cell Technology (ACT) on the road to cure Multiple Sclerosis (MS) using stem cells and specifically MSCs? Some folks seem to think it’s quite possible, but I remain skeptical. Still there have been some interesting developments. ACT has a relatively new patent filing for a mesenchymal stromal cell (MSC) product that was just recently published. The filing has 125 claims. Wow. Mentioned prominently in the patent filing is MS as a target disease. In fact, there are rumors that ACT has already …Read More