Posts Tagged stem cells

OA interviews in Stem Cells journal

The journal Stem Cells is publishing a series of interviews that are gratis OA. So far, two issues have contained contributions to the Interview Series: Volume 26, Number 11, 2008 and Volume 26, Number 12, 2008. The interviews are:

Celebrating 10 Years of hESC Lines: An Interview with James Thomson by Miodrag Stojkovic and Susan Rainey Daher , Stem Cells 2008(Nov 1); 26(11): 2747-8.

Celebrating 10 Years of hESC Lines: An Interview with Alan Trounson by Miodrag Stojkovic and Susan Rainey Daher , Stem Cells 2008(Dec 1); 26(12): 3002-4.

Celebrating 10 Years of hESC Lines: An Interview with Rudolf Jaenisch by Miodrag Stojkovic and Susan Rainey Daher , Stem Cells 2008(Dec 1); 26(12): 3005-7.

Interviews with Christine Mummery and Peter Andrews will be published in Stem Cells 2009(Jan 1); 27(1).


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First issue of Int J Stem Cells

The International Journal of Stem Cells published its first issue in November, 2008. The “Greetings” section of the website provides an endorsement by Jae-Kyu Roh MD, PhD, President of the Korean Society for Stem Cells Research.

PDF versions of articles published in the first issue are freely accessible. However, in a response to an email query, Dong-Ik Kim MD, PhD, the Editor-in-Chief of the journal, commented that: “We will provide PDF version of articles with no charge for a while“. So, free access to the full text will be available only temporarily.

The same email response from Dong-Ik Kim also provided instructions about how to access the journal’s “Copyright Transfer and Agreement Form“. Via the “Online Submission” section of the website, one can create a new account and log in. Via the “Author Center“, one then clicks on “Submit a New Manuscript“. One then can go immediately to “Proof and Submit” (Step 6 of the submission sequence). The form can be downloaded at this step. An excerpt from the form:

Copyright Transfer and Agreement
The undersigned author assigns and transfers all rights, title, interest, and copyright ownership in the above named manuscript form [sic] the author(s) to International Journal of Stem Cells. The author warrants the originality of the materials in the above-named manuscript and has the authority to convey the copyright on behalf of all coauthors
All materials become the property of International Journal of Stem Cells and may not be published elsewhere without prior written permission from International Journal of Stem Cells.

Comment: Authors do not retain copyright if this form is signed. Might the journal be willing to accept an addition, to the “Copyright Transfer and Agreement Form“, of an Author Addendum that would permit Green OA? I didn’t ask the Editor-in-Chief that question.

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Excitement about induced pluripotent stem cells

There’s been a lot of interest in this article: Generation of induced pluripotent stem cells without Myc from mouse and human fibroblasts, by Masato Nakagawa and 9 co-authors (including Shinya Yamanaka), Nature Biotechnology, Advanced online publication, 30 November 2007. As of this morning, the full text is still freely accessible.

For the current news about this topic, see, for example, a Google News search for the key words: Yamanaka stem cell

Two earlier papers about induced pluripotent stem cells, both published online on November 20, 2007, also generated interest. They are (see also my comment posted to this blog on November 20):

1) Induction of Pluripotent Stem Cells from Adult Human Fibroblasts by Defined Factors, by Kazutoshi Takahashi and co-authors (including Shinya Yamanaka), published in Cell. [Cell DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2007.11.019]. PDFs of the article and supplemental data are currently freely accessible via the Cell website.

2) Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Lines Derived from Human Somatic Cells, by Junying Yu and co-authors (including James A. Thomson), published in Science. [Science DOI: 10.1126/science.1151526]. Only the abstract is currently freely accessible.

Cell has highlighted the free access to the first of these two articles published on November 20. See: Yamanaka paper in Cell captivates the world (undated). Excerpts:

Media from around the world were captivated by the Yamanaka paper published in Cell earlier this week. Over 300 stories about the research appeared online within 2 hours after being posted online, with nearly 800 stories by 3pm that day.

A full list of coverage can be found at:

However, as of today, most of the coverage was about the subsequent article that was published online in Nature Biotechnology on November 30.

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Advice for the California stem cell agency

See: High Priests vs. Open Access to Research, David Jensen, California Stem Cell Report, November 05, 2007. Excerpts:

The high priests of the newspaper business – otherwise known as editors and publishers — have learned about the power of the Internet the hard way. Their business is turning remorselessly downward as advertisers shift their dollars to chase readers who have abandoned print.

Now comes the turn of the high priests of scientific journals. And the forces at work are something that the California stem cell agency will have to confront as it deals increasingly with public access to publicly funded research findings and how quickly that access becomes available.

The Internet is like a tidal force. Resisting its imperative may appear to be possible in the short term, but over the long term the high priests will be sweep out to sea. The alternative is come up with a better business plan and to find a way to ride the tide instead fighting it.

Intransigent high priests? Or, inadvertently playing the role of King Canute, who “used his evident inability to order the tide to roll back to display to his courtiers the limitations of a king’s power to command the seas“?

For another source of news about the “science, ethics, business and politics of stem cell research“, see The Stem Cell blog.

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Cancer stem cells for breast cancer research

A news item, Newly created cancer stem cells could aid breast cancer research, by Alyssa Kneller, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research (13 August 2007) is about an article, “Transformation of Different Human Breast Epithelial Cell Types Leads to Distinct Tumor Phenotypes”, Cancer Cell 2007(14 Aug); 12(2): 160-170. The authors are Tan A. Ince, Andrea L. Richardson, George W. Bell, Maki Saitoh, Samuel Godar, Antoine E. Karnoub, James D. Iglehart and Robert A. Weinberg.

The full text isn’t freely accessible from this Cell Press journal. (For previous posts to this blog about Cell Press journals, see: Paying a fee for Green OA, and Stem cell research). Only the Summary is accessible without a subscription:

We investigated the influence of normal cell phenotype on the neoplastic phenotype by comparing tumors derived from two different normal human mammary epithelial cell populations, one of which was isolated using a new culture medium. Transformation of these two cell populations with the same set of genetic elements yielded cells that formed tumor xenografts exhibiting major differences in histopathology, tumorigenicity, and metastatic behavior. While one cell type (HMECs) yielded squamous cell carcinomas, the other cell type (BPECs) yielded tumors closely resembling human breast adenocarcinomas. Transformed BPECs gave rise to lung metastases and were up to 10[power]4-fold more tumorigenic than transformed HMECs, which are nonmetastatic. Hence, the pre-existing differences between BPECs and HMECs strongly influence the phenotypes of their transformed derivatives.

The corresponding author is Robert A. Weinberg, a senior cancer researcher who is the author of a well-received book, Biology of Cancer (Publisher: Garland, 30 June 2006).

A PubMed search for articles authored by RA Weinberg yielded a set of 301 articles. (The article cited above hadn’t been indexed by PubMed yet). Of these 301 articles, links to free full text were provided via PubMed for 108 (36%). Of the most recent 20 articles, 6 have PubMed links to free full text (30%). Searches via Google Scholar and Google quickly revealed free full text versions of 7 of the 14 other articles in the 20 most recent articles indexed by PubMed, for a total of 13/20 (65%). Usually, these latter free full text versions were available because an embargo period had elapsed.

In subsequent posts, I hope to provide more examples of this kind. My reason for an interest in such examples? It’s the leading researchers in various fields of research and scholarship who serve as role models for their more junior colleagues.

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Stem cell research

Cell Press has launched a new journal, Cell Stem Cell. It’s the official affiliated journal of the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR). To introduce the journal, access to all the content is currently free.

I didn’t see any information about when free access to all content will end. At the Information for Authors page, it’s stated that:

Cell Stem Cell content is freely available online 12 months after publication.

On this same page, under Authors’ Rights, it’s stated that:

As an author, you (or your employer or institution) may do the following:

* post a revised personal version of the final text (including illustrations and tables) of the article (to reflect changes made in the peer review and editing process) on your personal or your institutional website or server, with a link (through the relevant DOI) to the article as published, provided that such postings are not for commercial purposes …

There’s no mention of an embargo on such Green OA (provided that an “institutional website or server” is used). In contrast, to obtain Green OA via PubMed Central (PMC), the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) has made an agreement with Cell Press to pay a fee. See: HHMI and Elsevier Announce Public Access Agreement (March 8, 2007), and, Paying a fee for Green OA.

In the inaugural issue, Cell Stem Cell 2007(June); 1(1), there’s a “Featured Article” that, like the rest of this issue, is currently freely accessible. It’s a remarkable article, Directly Reprogrammed Fibroblasts Show Global Epigenetic Remodeling and Widespread Tissue Contribution, by Nimet Maherali and 11 co-authors, including Rudolf Jaenisch. This article is one of three mentioned in Simple switch turns cells embryonic by David Cyranoski, Nature 2007(7 Jun); 447(7145): 618-9 (the other two articles were published in Nature). Excerpts from David Cyranoski’s article:

Technique removes need for eggs or embryos.

Research reported this week by three different groups shows that normal skin cells can be reprogrammed to an embryonic state in mice1, 2, 3. The race is now on to apply the surprisingly straightforward procedure to human cells.

Last year, Yamanaka introduced a system that uses mouse fibroblasts, a common cell type that can easily be harvested from skin, instead of eggs4. Four genes, which code for four specific proteins known as transcription factors, are transferred into the cells using retroviruses. The proteins trigger the expression of other genes that lead the cells to become pluripotent, meaning that they could potentially become any of the body’s cells. Yamanaka calls them induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells). “It’s easy. There’s no trick, no magic,” says Yamanaka.

Reference 4 is to the article published last year by Takahashi K. & Yamanaka S, Cell 2006(25 Aug); 126, 663-76. It’s also currently freely accessible, via: Induction of Pluripotent Stem Cells from Mouse Embryonic and Adult Fibroblast Cultures by Defined Factors.

This particular advance in research on stem cells has attracted a good deal of attention. See, for example: Art Caplan on MSNBC: Does Stem Cell Advance Provide an Ethical Out? An excerpt:

The big science news of the day — and maybe the year — is that researchers have, in mice, managed to transform skin cells into what seem to look and act like pluripotent stem cells. (There’s coverage everywhere, including: NYT, WP and Nature.) This development opens the possibility that maybe we can bypass many of the ethical questions that have surrounded research into human embryonic stem cells.

While this is exciting news, there’s one phrase we shouldn’t overlook: in mice. …

So, the inaugural issue of Cell Stem Cell has contributed (see above) to this exciting news.

Meanwhile, another journal for the publication of research on stem cells has recently been announced. (See: New journal from Elsevier, First Author, June 5, 2007). The new journal is Stem Cell Research, which will be launched in August, 2007. The Journal authors’ home section of the website provides access to an Author’s Rights section, which includes an item, What rights do I retain as an author? This, in turn, leads to an item: Can I post my article on the Internet? The answer:

You can post your version of your journal article on your personal web page or the web site of your institution, provided that you include a link to the journal’s home page or the article’s DOI and include a complete citation for the article. This means that you can update your version (e.g. the Word or Tex form) to reflect changes made during the peer review and editing process.

Again, Green OA on personal or institutional web page or web site is permitted.

Why have both Elsevier and Cell Press (the Elsevier premium imprint for life science research) both launched journals that may compete with each other for high-quality articles about research on stem cells? Probably, because it’s a hot field at present, and can be expected to become even hotter.

The implications for OA? One is that Green OA is feasible for both Elsevier and Cell Press journals. Another is that, at present, no Gold (fee-based) or Platinum (no-fee) OA journal has a primary focus on research on stem cells.

However, another aspect of research on stem cells that’s currently quite hot is studies on cancer stem cells. Maybe there’s still an opportunity to establish a Gold or Platinum OA journal that has a focus on cancer stem cells?

Some references about cancer stem cells:

Stem Cells That Kill, by Alice Park,, Apr. 17, 2006.

Researching stem cells, CBC News Online, May 3, 2006.

Colon cancer stem cells identified, by Jeffrey M. Perkel, The Scientist, November 20, 2006.

Canadian researchers ‘create’ leukemia stem cell, watch disease unfold, CBC News, April 27, 2007.

Governor Schwarzenegger Highlights California-Canada Partnership on Life-saving Stem Cell Research, Press Release, May 30, 2007.

John Dick (scientist), credited with first identifying cancer stem cells in certain types of human leukemia.

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