360 Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine Newsletter - Nov 25, 2014

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360 Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine Newsletter - Nov 25, 2014

Featured Video : The Project A.L.S./Jenifer Estess Laboratory for Stem Cell Research:

This video tells the story of the lab that created “A.L.S. in a dish” in order to study the root causes of this affliction and to assist in drug discovery. Kudos to Project A.L.S.
BREAKING NEWS- New York Times: Dr. Paolo Macchiarini is accused of misconduct in experimental transplant operations
The regenerative medicine field is littered with the tarnished reputations of highly publicized scientists who make bold claims that are tainted by errors of commission, omission or both. Generally, the bigger the ego- the harder the fall.

When there are allegations of ethical misconduct, there are always serious implications. According to a New York Times (page A5 article), the highly regarded surgeon, Dr Paolo Macchiarini, is facing serious ethical violations at the Karolinska Institute. Paolo is famous for implanting an artificial trachea laced with stem cells into desperately ill patients. Now, four of his colleagues that cared for his patients have accused him of failing to procure proper consents for experimental procedures and misleading The Lancet of a negative outcome. One of the most disturbing revelations is that a patient has been hospitalized since her initial operation more than two years ago, requires an operation every four hours to clean out her airway. The complaint being investigated includes the accusation that another trachea transplant patient suffered a major setback days before the publication of a journal “proof of concept study.” In the published article, it was represented that their were “no major complications.”

360 Editor’s comment: What are the implications of this breaking story? One of the most publicized regenerative medicine pioneers, Paolo Macchiarini, is now accused of misconduct. Seems we have been here before with the Woo Suk Hwang cloning scandal and STAP debacle. The field takes a hit every time there are allegations of ethical lapses. In the instant case, we are not talking about just a dish of microscopic stem cells. We are discussing the fates of suffering patients who trusted their lives to their esteemed surgeon.

Paolo seems to be one of those “larger than life” personalities who feasted on publicity. He was lionized as a controversial trailblazer in the NBC News’ “A Leap of Faith: A Meredith Vieira Special” a few months ago. His achievements and reputation are now tarnished by these allegations, which he denies. The matter will be drawn out, as the investigation of misconduct commences.

Could this turn into an amplified media story about the media celebrity, Meredith Vieira, and her producers?

Once again, a medical journal, in this case, The Lancet, faces the possibility of retraction of an important paper.

How did the Karolinska Institute, Sweden’s preeminent institution and home of the Nobel Prize for Medicine, handle Paolo’s patients left in their care? Has there been a cover up or any retaliation against the “whistle blowers”?

What has been the cost of caring for the patient for two years and who is paying the bill?

What companies, if any, are involved in Paolo’s experimental surgeries? What are the financial, regulatory and legal implications?

We can expect these details to emerge in the coming weeks and months.
Fischer BioServices
San Antonio Business Journal: San Antonio giant for innovative research, World Stem Cell Summit organizers say
Roughly 1,200-plus scientists, physicians, biotech industry executives and venture capitalists from some 40 countries are expected to converge on the Alamo City for the three-day global conference, which kicks off on Dec. 3. Many of the attendees will get their first up-close look at San Antonio's assets and accomplishments in regenerative medicine. Linda Meyers, CEO of BioBridge Global described the Summit as a “feather in the cap” for the City.

360 Editor’s note: As founder of the World Stem Cell Summit, I am so pleased with the great support form the City, especially the tremendous support by the 40-person “San Antonio Host Committee.”
The Sydney Morning Herald: Stem cell trial to begin for children suffering from cerebral palsy
About 20 Australian children with cerebral palsy will be infused with their own umbilical cord blood in a trial due to start in 2015. “The long-awaited Australian trial will provide some of the world's first evidence about the safety and effectiveness of using stem cells from umbilical cord blood to repair brain injury that leads to cerebral palsy.”
Rainbow Scientific
The Daily Courier (Canada): Stem cells: between hope and lies
This is a very well written piece by journalist, Blythe Nilson, who debunks some of the crazy “stem cell” products out there, the crèmes with all the miraculous claims. I especially enjoyed her description of the ”plant stem cell” enhanced products. Bottom line: Keep your money in your wallet!
Organized by Texans for Stem Cell Research, “Singin’ for a Cure ‘Deep In The Heart’” hosts a free welcome party for the World Stem Cell Summit. Venue is the LDR Room at the Henry Gonzalez Convention Center just steps from the Marriot Rivercenter. December 2, 7:30-10:00 pm.
Regmed Net
Washington Business Journal: Maryland Stem Cell Commission sees interest surge for $10.4M in research grants
“The Maryland Stem Cell Research Commission expects a record number of applications for the $10.4 million it gives out annually for stem cell research. The commission received 240 letters of intent from researchers and businesses for four grant categories, up from 195 letters of intent last year.”
Houston Methodist
Harvard Gazette: Creating pain-sensing neurons- Stem cell researchers manage to formulate them out of skin cells
“After more than six years of intensive effort, including repeated failures that at times made the quest seem futile, Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH) and at Harvard’s Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology (HSCRB) have successfully converted mouse and human skin cells into pain-sensing neurons that respond to a number of stimuli that cause acute and inflammatory distress. This ‘disease in a dish’ model of pain reception may advance the understanding of different types of pain, identify why individuals differ in their pain responses or their risk of developing chronic pain, and make possible the development of improved drugs to treat pain.” The research was reported online in Nature Neuroscience.
European Drug Target Review

360 Newsletter Editor

Bernard Siegel
Executive Director
Genetics Policy Institute

Stem Cells and the Transformative Power of Hope-a TEDx talk by Bernard Siegel, Editor of 360 Newsletter
Domain: Medical
Category: Biology

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