The first in vivo cell atlas of senescent tissue in skeletal muscle has identified the damaging properties of these cells and explained why they block muscle regeneration. According to a study at Pompeu Fabra University led by scientists from Altos Labs Inc., cell damage caused the senescence of the cells, which secreted toxic substances into the surrounding microenvironment, causing fibrosis and preventing tissue regeneration.
Multiple companies are pursuing CD47-blockade as a tumor immunotherapy approach. Sana Biotechnology Inc., too, is interested in the therapeutic potential of CD47 – but from a very different angle. By overexpressing CD47 on stem cells, researchers at Sana want to make transplanted cells invisible to the immune system.
Sometimes, scientific progress comes from conceptual insights that arrive in a flash. More often, however, such progress arrives in a decidedly less glamorous, though no less important, manner – through the development of new technologies in what can be a very slow iterative cycle of getting a new method to work.
Technical challenges at the annual meeting of the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) meeting led to at least one lively exchange of stem cell jokes in the chat box as the audience waited for talks to resume, including stem cell parental advice: “You can be anything you want when you grow up!”
Stem cells haven’t exactly panned out as hoped when it comes to approved therapeutics. There are only a couple that have received a nod from the FDA in very specific indications. But the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic could push stem cells back into the limelight and more firmly establish them as therapeutically relevant.
A study published in the Nov. 27, 2019, advance online issue of Nature manages a rare feat. It is both a vindication of and egg in the face for cardiac stem cell research. The good news is that cardiac stem cell transplantation after a heart attack does improve heart function, although the effect is “mild,” Jeffery Molkentin told BioWorld.