Right Turn: Out of the bubble with gene-edited stem cells

Author: Lisa Willemse, 11/21/14

This is a rather exciting time to be in the stem cell and regenerative medicine field and one of the main reasons for this is the number of announcements and articles about clinical trials taking place. Seven years ago, when I joined the Stem Cell Network, these were a rare occurrence, but today it’s hard to keep up. And while many of the trials I read about are promising, most are still very early stage and will require a great deal more work to make it to the clinic.

The story this week about a cure for SCID (Severe Combined Immunodeficiency), also known as “Bubble Baby” disease, appears to have jumped to the front of the queue. As the video below explains, SCID has been treated in the past, through hematopoietic stem cell transplants (bone marrow or cord blood), but the new treatment out of UCLA uses gene therapy to modify the patient’s own stem cells, resulting in fewer complications and higher success. Based on this interview and post from CIRM, the only hurdle they now face is getting the procedure commercialized in order to get it into regular clinical practice.

Our regular feature, Right Turn, showcases the “lighter” side of stem cells and regenerative medicine. Every Friday, we will bring you cartoons, photos, videos and other content that may be just as thought provoking as the written submissions that you are used to finding here, but they definitely won’t be blogs.

As always, we welcome your feedback and we also welcome suitable submissions. Be creative! Use the right (!) side of your brain. Make us laugh! Let’s see if we can make this new direction a positive one for all of us. Send your submission to info(at)ccrm.ca.

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Lisa Willemse

Lisa Willemse

Lisa is a science communicator with 15+ years' experience in the fields of regenerative medicine, child development and technology. She launched this blog (first as the Stem Cell Network Blog) in 2009, and served as co-editor until April 2015. She is currently the Senior Communications Advisor for the Ontario Institute for Regenerative Medicine and has recently contributed to Motherboard, Science Borealis and the Genome Alberta and Canadian Blood Services blogs. Follow her on Twitter and Medium @WillemseLA.
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