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Stem Cell Medicine

The utility of stem cells in medicine has long been debated, and researchers are now proceeding to human studies to see how they can be used to treat disease. According to a new study in Circulation Research, patients with hard-to-treat chest pains reported feeling better after doctors injected them in the heart with stem cells taken from their bone marrow, says Technology Review's Karen Weintraub. The research shows that the cells were able to heal tiny, damaged blood vessels that can't be treated with typical procedures like stents and angioplasty. The researchers used a particular stem cell, CD34+, which is thought to promote blood vessel growth. The researchers harvested them from bone marrow, amplified them, and injected them directly into the damaged part of the heart, Weintraub says. Cardiologists say this research is cause for optimism in treating heart problems, though much work remains to be done.

In a separate procedure, surgeons in California funded by biotech company Advanced Cell Technology have implanted lab-grown retinal cells into the eyes of two patients going blind from macular degeneration, says Technology Review's Antonio Regalado. The company recently won FDA approval to test their cells, grown from human embryonic stem cells, on people.

The Scan

CDC Calls Delta "Variant of Concern"

CNN reports the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now considers the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 to be a "variant of concern."

From FDA to Venture Capital

Former FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn is taking a position at a venture capital firm, leading some ethicists to raise eyebrows, according to the Washington Post.

Consent Questions

Nature News writes that there are questions whether informed consent was obtained for some submissions to a database of Y-chromosome profiles.

Cell Studies on Multimodal Single-Cell Analysis, Coronaviruses in Bats, Urban Microbiomes

In Cell this week: approach to analyze multimodal single-cell genomic data, analysis of bat coronaviruses, and more.