Upbeat prospects for some California clinical trial efforts from CIRM

Over at the California Stem Cell Report, David Jensen is reporting on some good news from CIRM for California on the stem cell clinical trial front.

Stem cell biotechs Asterias and Capricor have stem cell trials supported by 20+ million in CIRM funding each and have been hitting milestones. These trials are progressing and so far have good safety profiles. Asterias and CIRM have mentioned some possibly encouraging early hints at efficacy as well in its trial, and apparently there are hopeful hints from the Capricor trial too.

See the posts from CIRM here (a weekly summary kind of post that begins discussing Asterias) and here. For background, also see past posts I’ve done on both companies here and here in the archives, and see especially my interview with Asterias leadership from a few months back.

It’s early days for these trials and at these phases they are not really designed to look for efficacy so a conservative approach to discussing such trials is in order given the stage, but at this phase of the game for early clinical trials the news has been all one could hope for so far in both cases.

asterias-cells

Asterias cells

The Asterias and Capricor trials are for spinal cord injury and Duchenne muscular dystrophy, respectively. The latter trial utilizes the Capricor CAP-1002 product, which is a cool allogeneic cardiosphere technology made from donor human heart tissue. A beating cardiosphere from a different source (IPSCs) can be seen in the video above. Asterias’ trial employs their OPC product made from hESCs, which is also inherently allogeneic. The idea of potentially repairing the injured spine via stem cells is intriguing.

I’m hoping in the next month or so to do a broader update on the stem cell and regenerative medicine biotech arena. By way of disclosure, I do not have any financial stake in either company discussed here.

A TGIF weekend reading list of new stem cell pubs & headlines

In case you have some free time for reading this week, here’s a list containing an assortment of interesting research articles and stem cell headlines. I’ve thrown some oddballs in there too including one article from May 1983, when I was just finishing up junior high. No, I didn’t write it. And no the headline for this current blog post is not referring to stem cell-themed pubs where you can go get some ale made from stem cells, but that’s not a bad idea, right?

Yeah, it’s been one of those long, busy weeks and it’s only Friday. And from the TGIF archives a piece from last year including stem cell soup, Kim Kardashian, and zombies.

And now the list.

PNAS, Butts, Et al. Figure 5H 2017

Newsy pieces

Research & other journal articles

And the one from 1983, Stem Cell is a Stem Cell is a Stem Cell. But is it? This reminds me of a fake journal name I came up with some time ago I imagine someone doing as a knockoff of the real top stem cell journal Cell Stem Cell. The fake journal name?

Stem Cell Stem Cell

My whole crazy list of fake and maybe future real stem cell journals with wacky names is here. Good for a laugh.

Washington State considers stem cell regenerative medicine funding

Washington State is considering state funding for regenerative medicine. How cool is that? You can read more about this effort in an opinion piece authored by Washington stem cell researcher, Professor Charles Murry.ISCRM Washington stem cells

There’s so much important stem cell research going on that federal funding, private and biotech investors, and philanthropy simply cannot fund it all so in many cases state funding can fulfill a crucial role as we’ve seen here in California with CIRM and in other states such as New York and Maryland.

Now Washington is working to make this a reality there too. Murry, the Director of the UW Medicine’s Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine (ISCRM), makes a convincing case for moving forward on this new state stem cell funding effort. He uses the example of regenerative medicine research on cardiac regeneration, but mentions other important areas too.

What is the UW looking for in the way of the funding and what will it do with it?

“the UW seeks $6 million in operating funds from the Legislature, starting with the next biennium, to recruit and retain top scientists, fund promising results at early stages, and train young researchers and clinicians.”

You can see the core faculty at the ISCRM here.

I grew up in Seattle and did my postdoc at the Hutch so I know how great the UW is and have met some of the wonderful stem cell researchers there.

I hope Washington State approves this and makes stem cell state funding there a regular occurrence as it would be a big boost to the ISCRM and their cool stem cell research.

My 2017 New Year’s Stem Cell Resolution

CIRM is doing a fun, positive challenge to the stem cell community to post stem cell resolutions for the new year. You can read more about it here.

Be sure if you post yours on Twitter to include the #StemCellResolution hashtag. Have fun!

Below is my resolution in video form.

Top 20 Stem Cell Predictions for 2017

stem cell crystal ball

Stem cell crystal ball

Each year I make a list of predictions for the stem cell and regenerative medicine field for the coming new year. Later in this post I list my top 20 stem cell predictions for 2017. In looking at my past predictions I realized this will now be my 7th year doing stem cell/regenerative medicine yearly predictions.

You can see below links to these predictions for past years, which sometimes seems rather far removed from today and in other cases strike me as strangely apropos of our times.

What will 2017 bring? Below are my top 20 predictions in no particular order except starting with a few hopeful visions for the coming year.

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