Sweet 16 Science Twitter Accounts To Follow Innovative Medicine

STAT logoBelow are 16 Science Twitter accounts that I think are musts to follow for those interested in transformative science and also medicine from a wide range of diverse, thought-provoking perspectives.

I could list 160, but I’ve picked these 16 as a nice sampling with a lean towards those willing to take a risk in what they say or with unique views.

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Stem cells run amok: Jill Howlin’s satirical cartoon look

Jill Howlin’s drawings about science and policy have a unique, edgy style that packs a punch. I have invited her to weigh in here now and then with new illustrations that touch upon stem cell or other innovative biomedical matters.Jill Howlin stem cell treatment run amok

Jill’s new drawing today relates to some key stem cell issues such as clinical safety, choice of stem cells, homologous use, and more. You can read my post from this week on the myth that stem cells are homologous to all tissues.

Jill tells me that she put an Irish humour spin on this cartoon.

Also see her past cartoon on Donald Trump and pay walls in science and medicine. I have also drawn some of these science political cartoons as well for the blog myself (see examples here) at times, but I think Jill has a lot more talent.

You can follow Jill on Twitter.

Stem cells for goals? Star Ronaldo to get treatment

Ronaldo stem cellsSuperstar soccer/football player Cristiano Ronaldo will reportedly undergo a stem cell treatment procedure to try to mend a hamstring injury.

This is reported by the highly rigorous source, The Daily Mail as well as the Independent. The latter quoted his mother about this situation and her son:

“He is like his mother. He has a strong personality, he is very proud and he always demands more. This is his worst defect.”

Details of the treatment remain sketchy. Is really stem cells and if so, what kind? Marrow? Fat? Or is it just PRP going by the name “stem cells”?

Foxsports provided at least a few hints: “The treatment Ronaldo will undergo is similar to that received by tennis player Rafael Nadal on his recurring knee injury. Healthy cells are taken from Ronaldo’s blood or bone marrow and injected into the problem area to help speed up recovery.”

Ronaldo may be hoping to get a boost in goals from stem cells. I’m skeptical.

Meeting summary of Paris human gene editing workshop

Editors note: This is a guest post from Caroline Simons who is attending the two Paris meetings on human gene editing. For more background on those meetings see here.

By Caroline Simons

There were just over a hundred participants at the workshop organized by the Federation of European Academies of Medicine, the UK Academy of Medical Sciences and the Académie Nationale de Médicine France. That number included experts in the fields of science, medicine, law and bioethics. They came from Europe, the US and China (and, I think I may have heard, one French politician).Caroline Simons

Some were engaged in active research, others represented national academies, policy making bodies, patients, research funders and industry. I noted one participant from the US represented DARPA, a reminder that gene-editing technologies may have harmful as well as therapeutic applications. There were about a dozen journalists, of whom two may cover this event in English – Anna McKie of Research Fortnight and Oliver Moody of The Times.

Académie Nationale de Médicine

Académie Nationale de Médicine, Credit Caroline Simons

The aim of the workshop was to consider current scientific activities in the European Union (EU) regarding genome editing and the regulatory landscape across the EU member states for this research and its clinical application in humans. The stated intention was to foster discussion between experts, provide information to the public and stakeholders and to consider whether an EU regulatory framework to govern the safe and acceptable use of human genome editing is desirable, and how it could be achieved. There were no agreed conclusions or recommendations from this workshop, but many interesting presentations and observations. A paper which will draw on the workshop discussions is to be published.

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Big stem cell news: dynamic duo of all-chemical direct reprogramming reports

There’s some big, positive news on the stem cell front today.

Two new innovative papers both by teams led by Sheng Ding of Gladstone Institutes with UCSF report all-chemical direct reprogramming of human somatic cells. Ding’s team took skin cells and by exposing them to cocktails of small molecules was able to turn them directly into precursors for heart muscle and neural cells. The two direct reprogramming papers were published in Science here and in Cell Stem Cell hereThe former paper is Cao, et al. and the latter is Zhang, et al. These reports together are a very big deal.

Neurons created from ciNSC

Neurons made from chemically-induced neural precursors. Credit: Mingliang Zhang, Gladstone Institutes

It’s been almost a decade since Shinya Yamanaka first reported the creation of mouse induced pluripotent stem cells (IPSC) using a cocktail of four factors and only one year later, he and others reported the creation of human IPSC.

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