January 16, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

MSCs

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

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

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

When people discuss “fat stem cells” they usually mean something called “stromal vascular fraction” or SVF. While references to fat or adipose stem cells can sometimes mean non-SVF materials, these days adipose SVF gets the most attention. But, does anyone have a clear picture of this biologic? Fortunately, it’s starting to come more into focus in recent years and I’ve updated this post in late 2020. What is Stromal Vascular Fraction or SVF?  |   What cells are in SVF?   |   What about MSCs …Read More

4 min read

Historically, the main route of proposed healing via stem cell therapy was cell replacement. In this way of thinking the transplanted cells engrafted (took up home) in the patient’s tissue and replaced dead or diseased cells. However, interest continues to grow in other possible modes of healing by stem cells that don’t rely on cell replacement. In today’s post I cover 4 other possible mechanisms for stem cell therapy to aid health. Secreted factors An alternative, not mutually exclusive model to cell replacement is …Read More

4 min read

Ain’t nothing like the real thing…right? No, by the ‘real thing’ I’m not talking about Coke versus Pepsi or Coke versus Diet Coke, but rather stem cells. (On a side note there’s still some people who apparently believe the stem cell myth that there are stem cells in Pepsi). I get a regular stream of emails from patients and sometimes phone calls asking questions about stem cells and especially stem cell treatments, but at times I’m not sure the treatment in question really involves …Read More

7 min read

It’s been a seemingly rather quiet year on the regulatory front in the US when it comes to direct-to-consumer stem cell interventions even as the number of dubious stem cell clinics continues to skyrocket. I requested an interview with the FDA to cover the key pressing issues in this arena. I want to thank the FDA for taking the time to do this interview. Below are their answers covering regulation of SVF, homologous use, FDA action/inaction on dubious stem cell clinics, Right To Try …Read More

2 min read

A new paper suggests a hopeful short-term safety profile of laboratory-grown stem cells for treatment of arthritis, but there are some important limitations to the study too. A debate continues to bubble over whether to classify laboratory-propagated stem cells as biological drugs. A persistent issue has been whether the growth of stem cells in culture increases risks of negative outcomes for patients including 4 prominent and broadly applicable issues of risk: infection, benign but destructive tissue growth, cancer, and autoimmune reactions. A fifth concern, …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

2 min read

Today is part of 4 (the last) of my interview with Dr. Arnold Caplan, MSC godfather and guru. You can read parts 1-3 of the interview here, here, and here. In this post I focus on my discussion with Caplan on translation of stem cells to patients and the FDA. During our conversation we talked about some of the challenges facing the efforts to make safe and effective stem cell therapies (including those based on MSCs) available to patients. Of course one key element is regulatory …Read More