I’m going to start off today’s recommended reads post with some stem cells for vision developments. I had some fun the last 2 weeks as people sent in their entries for our $100 stem cell picture contest. I’ll announce the winner this week. It’s going to be hard to choose given the great entries.
Stem cells for vision loss
Cones Derived from Human Stem Cells Help Mice See, The Scientist. I like that the headline of this piece includes an indication that this is in mice. Still, the work is interesting and exciting on some levels. It’s just not yet in human trials, but they used human cells.
Here’s the original paper in Cell Reports: Restoration of visual function in advanced disease after transplantation of purified human pluripotent stem cell-derived cone photoreceptors. See the graphical abstract above.
More generally, it’s hopeful how many different approaches to stem cells for vision loss are being studied.
This is happening both in animals and in clinical trials. As to the latter, we have had stem cell-derived retinal pigmented epithelial cells (RPEs) being transplanted in clinical trials for a few years. These are most often made from iPS cells. Photoreceptor cells are also being studied in clinical trials by Masayo Takahashi.
Another type of press
Here’s an example of a problematic stem cell related press release, MIPT and Harvard researchers grow stem cells to cure glaucoma. This is not an appropriate context to use the word “cure.” The mouse work here is far from the clinic and this work may never lead to a treatment, let alone a cure.
Think how this compares to The Scientist headline above.
Yes, there’s an inherent difference between a PR and a science media piece, but this particular PR headline is just so far off base.