January 22, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

Month: March 2011

5 min read

  For many of us in the biomedical research field, we have always wanted to be a professor and run our own research lab even if it meant the gauntlet of the dreaded academic job search. For some it is fair to say that that goal is really a passion, a dream. However, to achieve that end sometimes seems like a mindboggling maze of a task. First, there is graduate school, then doing at least one postdoc, and then comes the biggest hurdle of …Read More

3 min read

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OkSaAhbceBk How we choose or heroes, our Supermen and Superwomen, says a lot about who we are. There’s a scene (above) in one of the Superman movies, starring Christopher Reeve, where Lex Luther puts a Kryptonite necklace on Superman. Superman is powerless around Kryptonite and collapses to the ground.  I always remember that scene because I never could understand why Kryptonite had the ability to bring the powerful Superman, one of my heroes as a kid, down and take away his power. Of course …Read More

5 min read

  The tragic 9.0 earthquake and tsunamis that hit Japan a few weeks ago are having lasting consequences not only for Japan, but also for the world via radiation. One area of particular concern is the radiation that has leaked and is continuing to leak from the damaged nuclear reactors. At this point, the radiation has probably circled the globe and the leaks show no sign of stopping. Highly radioactive materials have contaminated the air, the ocean, and the soil. The contamination is at …Read More

2 min read

Before stem cell research was on everyone’s minds and before the phrase “regenerative medicine” was familiar to most scientists, The Roman Reed Spinal Cord Injury Research Act of 1999 funded research into treating paralysis. It was a revolutionary piece of legislation, named after my friend Roman Reed, a true hero.  Roman was playing college football when he got a spinal cord injury. Roman and his dad, Don C. Reed, are responsible for much of the progress that has been made in stem cell research …Read More

2 min read

  I have been thinking for a long time that the stem cell research field needs a high profile advocate. Star search time? Several readers have recently suggested the same thing including the idea of Lady Gaga. The ideal advocate, our “stem cell star” ,would be known to most Americans. A famous actor. A famous musician. A sports star. Someone who has a personal story about a health situation in their family, for example, that might have been aided by stem cell research. Someone …Read More

2 min read

UPDATE: Judy Woodruff just posted an interesting piece on the budget battle for NIH. You can read it here. We have had a welcome surprise of late: conservatives are telling Republicans (yes, you read that right) not to cut the NIH budget. The federal government has been running on a string of continuing resolutions (CRs) that temporarily fund the government and don’t serve much purpose other than preventing the government from shutting down entirely.  This is not that unusual for Congress, but this year …Read More

2 min read

It was only six months ago that the stem cell field was aflutter over the report by the Rossi group that they could reprogram iPS cells with an astonishingly high efficiency using just RNAs. This completely non-genetic, high efficiency approach seemed like a revolution for the iPS cell field. It also seemed like what we had all been looking for- a non-genetic method that nonetheless retained good efficiency.  The study was published in Cell Stem Cell– you can read it here. Many of us hoped …Read More

2 min read

What’s going on with legislation on ES cell research in Minnesota? I blogged before about how Oklahoma legislators were heading toward passing legislation that would make it a crime to do ES cell research. Unfortunately, that legislation just passed. As if that were not bad enough, now potentially life saving research in Minnesota is starting to come under attack.  A Minnesota anti-abortion group is pushing legislation, which very well may pass, to ban human cloning.   The hidden agenda here is to ultimately make …Read More

4 min read

How are things looking for the stem cell field for Spring 2011? Issue One. Getting to the clinic. At this point, Geron and ACT have their FDA-approved clinical trials underway using derivatives of human embryonic stem cells. As expected no news has leaked out on how things are going and it may well be Fall or even early 2012 before we hear anything on safety and who knows about efficacy. StemCells Inc has a trial underway in Switzerland for spinal cord injury  (see blog …Read More

3 min read

A group of researchers led by Evan Snyder (paper discussed here) published a paper in PNAS on a new type of neural stem-like cell whose pluripotency can be turned ON or OFF by turning the v-myc gene ON or OFF using a conditional system of expression, called a “Tet-ON” system. In this system, tetracycline or its relative doxycycline turn on expression of the viral form of the myc oncogene, v-myc. High levels of v-myc expression are sufficient to drive the human neural progenitor cells to …Read More