Mixed news from the stem cell world

A little step forward and...
A little step forward and...

Consistent with the normal state of affairs, there is more mixed news from the front lines of stem cell science and development.

First the good news.  Piyush Gupta and colleagues at Massachussetts Institute of Technology and the Broad Institute have identified a compound (salinomycin) using high throughput screening which kills breast cancer stem cells 100 times more effectively than TaxolTM.  Salinomycin is now in preclinical testing.

This is important news since breast cancer stem cells are thought to drive tumor recurrence after initial treatment. The findings of the study were published in the journal Cell.  Further info here.

Less rosy news: Geron has had its spinal cord injury stem cell trial held up yet again. The FDA recently issued a clinical hold based on preclincial data it had received.  In January this year, the FDA had given Geron clearance to proceed with the study.

This must surely be the most delayed (and most anticipated) clinical trial in the past 20 years.