January 25, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

2 min read

Sometimes it seems like a theme spontaneously emerges in pubs that I want to read for a given week like the set of single-cell analysis papers but there are diverse, other items including a striking day-night brain stem cell cycle paper and an interesting piece on identical twins who got COVID. What are you reading these days? Day/night cycle and activity of stem cells in the brain Adult neural stem cell activation in mice is regulated by the day/night cycle and intracellular calcium dynamics, Cell. See graphic …Read More

3 min read

Today’s post announces the winner of the 2020 The Screamers Science Hype Award. Since this is the inaugural year for The Screamers, I’m just going to give out one main award: Overall Worst Science Hype. Science Hype Award to FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn Remarkably, the winner of the overall The Screamers Award for Science Hype for 2020 is now former (as of today) FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn. When I came up with the idea for these awards a couple of years back and then …Read More

6 min read

When my wife and I were expecting our first daughter way back in the nineties, we received a paper pamphlet about cord blood banking. Back then, I was a graduate student at UC San Diego School of Medicine working toward my Ph.D. in Molecular Pathology and my wife was in medical school at the time so we thought а fair amount about cord blood banking. However, it was fairly new at the time and there wasn’t that much information out there on it. You …Read More

4 min read

I’m playing catch-up on some reading given how busy I’ve been and this includes a groundbreaking NEJM pub on CRISPR for Sickle Cell and Thalassemia. CRISPR for Sickle Cell From December, here’s the key paper in the NEJM: CRISPR-Cas9 Gene Editing for Sickle Cell Disease and β-Thalassemia. There’s a lot to like about this clinical trial paper and it gives real hope to patients with Sickle-Cell Disease and Thalassemia. It takes an interesting, indirect clinic approach to addressing Sickle Cell by turning off a …Read More

4 min read

Sometimes on The Niche or while teaching students as a professor here at UC Davis School of Medicine, I’ve been asked: What is a teratoma? Not all tumors are created equal and some like teratomas are particularly unusual. Exactly what is a teratoma? Teratomas are germ cell tumors. What this means is that the cells that gave rise to the tumor in the first place were a powerful stem cell called a “germ cell”.  Normally, germ cells make reproductive cells including sperm and eggs. …Read More

6 min read

In any given field of biomedical science like stem cell research and regenerative medicine, it’s very useful if you can accurately predict the future. It seems, though, that predictions are far more difficult within the more exciting and rapidly-changing fields. The field of stem cells and regenerative medicine fits that bill. Past stem cell research predictions Still, each year in late December or early January I’ve made predictions for the coming year for stem cell research and regenerative medicine. More often than not I …Read More

4 min read

The paper of the week reports using base-editing, a kind of gene-editing, to reverse mutations associated with rapid aging syndromes, generally called progeria, but there are a lot of other interesting pubs to recommend for reading this week. I go over it all in this post. Gene-editing to fight premature aging syndromes In vivo base editing rescues Hutchinson–Gilford progeria syndrome in mice, Nature. This work comes from a team led by David Liu. It rightly made a big splash in the media. While it’s …Read More

4 min read

Is a head transplant actually going to be an option for extending life or changing what it means to be human? What about brain transplants? Background on the idea of head transplant surgery Given the extreme nature of the idea of taking one person’s head and putting it on another’s body, why does this area attract so much attention? Immortality has a certain attraction. For thousands of years humans have been obsessed with fighting aging and death. Over the years there have been all …Read More

4 min read

A new paper today in Stem Cells Translational Medicine on a small COVID-19 Phase 1/2a trial using an umbilical cord stem cell product reports a surprising degree of possible efficacy. What’s the scoop here and could there be some hype in the media about this new study such as one of the authors describing the cells as “smart bomb technology in the lung”? Study of umbilical cord stem cell infusions for COVID-19 The paper comes from the University of Miami and a team led …Read More

3 min read

What a year 2020 was, but there was still plenty of great science, which continues now in 2021 including published research like today’s recommended pieces and there’s one thread on MSCs today. The Niche new look, more features, and a Medical Advisory Board for 2021 Before we get to the recommended reads, note that 2021 will brings some changes to The Niche. Some of the new developments are already underway like our Bioethics and Medical Advisory Board. We are also going to be doing …Read More