David Cyranoski

Calling Out Denis Rebrikov CRISPR Babies Plan

Denis-Rebrikov-1

A Russian Scientist named Denis Rebrikov told Nature and then other media including NPR last week that he plans to make CRISPR babies. In other words, babies with heritable genetic modifications. I don’t doubt that Rebrikov (pictured in ResearchGate image) might want to do this nor that he might try it, but rather I’m writing …

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Japan stem cell clinical studies rapidly piling up

Shibata-et-al.-Cell-reports-2018-corneal-structures-made-from-hIPSCs

Japan is a leader in stem cell and regenerative medicine research, and in particular in clinical translation toward the bedside. Induced pluripotent stem cell (IPSC)-based investigational therapies are rightly an area of focus in Japan given their invention by Nobel Laureate Shinya Yamanaka. Small clinical studies based on IPSC have been initiated there for several …

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Japan’s dangerous gamble approving unproven stem cells for spinal cord injury

spinal-cord-injury-MRI

There is real hope for treating spinal cord injury with stem cell-based therapies in the future. However, unfortunately regulators in Japan have taken a major misstep in approving a not-ready-for-primetime mesenchymal stem cell (MSC)-based approach to spinal cord injury. Their decision is dangerous and unwise. In a Nature piece (linked to above) by David Cyranoski …

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Hope on Parkinson’s front: Japan IPSC trial 1st patient

Fig-3i-Kikuchi-et-al.-Nature-2017-IPS-cell-Parkinsons-

In Parkinson’s Disease patients develop neurological dysfunction as they lose a special kind of brain cell called dopaminergic (or dopamine) neurons. While a number of different approaches to this disease have been studied for decades, nothing has proven particularly successful in slowing its progression. As a result there has been a big need for novel thinking …

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Japan stem cell oversight system too lax?

HeartSheet-Japan-system-stem-cell-oversight

The Japan stem cell and regenerative medicine oversight system has been designed to move investigational therapies forward fast, much faster than the systems in other countries such as the U.S. But how well is it working so far? It’s an important question both for that country and more globally as the Japanese system was touted …

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How risky are stem cell trials for Parkinson’s beginning in China?

Brain-PET-scan, stem cells

New human clinical trials using derivatives of pluripotent stem cells in China for Parkinson’s Disease (PD) have raised expectations and some eyebrows. PD is a neurodegenerative condition, sometimes diagnosed or followed by PET scans such as the one at left, characterized by loss of dopaminergic neurons leading to severe and sometimes life-threatening symptoms. Pluripotent stem …

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Researchers in China make genetically modified human embryos

Liang-P.-et-al.

Rumors have been flying for months that researchers in China and possibly elsewhere were shopping papers around at high-profile journals that reported gene editing and genetic modification of human embryos. Update: apparently this paper (HT to @JohnBorghi) was only reviewed for 2 days (see image at bottom of post), raising major concerns about the depth of …

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Landmark: patient receives first ever iPS cell based transplant

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In a major first for the stem cell and regenerative medicine fields, a patient in Japan today received a pioneering transplant of a retinal pigmented epithelial (RPE) sheet made from induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, also known by the acronym IPSC. This is the first ever iPS cell-based transplant into a human. The patient is …

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Nature Post-Pub Examination of Its Own STAP Stem Cell Papers Breaks New Ground

Nature

What’s the latest surprise on the STAP stem cell front? There have been many unexpected turn along the way in the past few weeks of the rollercoaster ride the stem cell field is on related to STAP stem cells, the super powerful stem cells reportedly (in two papers in Nature) made “simply” by exposing cells …

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