Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Wall Street Journal video: Celgene CEO on how we know what stem cells are doing

In this blog we often discuss the fact that more often than not we do not yet know what type of stem cell is going to be the best one for treating any one disease. That has lead us to voice concern about commercial entities that promote many therapies using one cell type, which was addressed in a joint Patient Advisory we posted Monday.

Many commercial stem cell entities however, are trying to help answer that question about which is the right stem cell. This Wall Street Journal video shows a commercial CEO talking about the hard work of doing the science. Bob Hariri is the CEO of Celgene, a company creating products with stem cells found in the placenta after childbirth. While many groups are starting to use placental stem cells for therapies, we really don’t know the full nature of these cells.

Hariri explains that the placenta has a unique relationship with our immune system since it contains foreign genes—those from the father’s sperm—and yet is tolerated by the mother for nine months. His company is trying to harness that unique immunologic ability to treat autoimmune diseases. But first, the firm is trying to understand this unusual cellular skill. In the video he says:
“We are using really rigorous scientific processes to see how the cells work, what makes them different from other cell types and what might be a factor to making them safe.”
In the jargon of science this is work directed to understanding the MOA, or method of action. Until we know the best cell for each patient, our field needs to adhere to the need to understand these MOAs prior to large-scale clinical use of new therapies.

We have a basic rundown of the different cell types posted here.

Don Gibbons

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