January 16, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

Month: October 2011

6 min read

Every now and then I do a post on something fun and non-science related, and today it’s all about Seattle. Since it’s Friday, don’t you wish you were on vacation in Seattle? If you can ever imagine visiting Seattle in the near future, bookmark this page because I give suggestions for great things (some that you won’t find in a tour book) to do and eat in Seattle after growing up there and having lived there a good portion of my life. It’s my …Read More

1 min read

I love readers’ comments on my blog. I wish there were a lot more comments so I hope that that builds over time. One challenge to having a dialogue via comments on a blog is that there is so much spam. How much spam you might ask? You may be surprised to learn that my blog receives 1,000 spam comments a month. And this number seems to be rising at an alarming rate. My spam filter is pretty good and in fact it may …Read More

1 min read

In response to our post on the recent New Scientist article, which we felt had an anti-ES cell bent, Highfield has responded. He wrote: New Scientist has always backed well-conducted research on ES cells and I have voiced my own support many times, notably in After Dolly (written with Ian Wilmut).  And I am not against well-conducted research with human embryos.   I appreciate his response and I believe him. But I still think that this particular article was a big misstep on their part …Read More

2 min read

As many of you know, I did a post this week on an article in The New Scientist that many readers had complained to me about. Their concerns and mine as well centered on two points. First, the article seemed at a factual level to be confusing and written in a People Magazine-esque style that was baffling. Second, everyone I talked to who read it agreed the article was playing some kind of game of moral obfuscation, where it claimed to be in favor …Read More

3 min read

In mid-November the Catholic Church, in fact the Vatican itself, will do something it has never done before in its very long existence. It will hold a conference on stem cells. Perhaps equally unusual and of interest is the fact that the basis for this conference is a $1 million (USD) gamble by the Vatican on a super high-risk biotech company, NeoStem, in support of adult stem cell research. While the Vatican reportedly does not hold actual NeoStem shares, the fact that NeoStem’s stock …Read More

2 min read

Why does it worry me that the Vatican is having a stem cell conference? One of the hallmarks of Democracy is separation of church and state. When states mix religion into politics and government, the results have during human history been disastrous. Equally dismal has been the relationship between religion and science. Ever since the time when a common myth supported by the church was that the Earth was the center of the universe, scientists have had trouble when their experiments and ideas conflicted …Read More

3 min read

What the heck happened to The New Scientist? An anti-embryonic stem cell piece they just recently published was an exercise in weird, moral obfuscation. Quite a few scientists and policy makers are fairly regular readers of The New Scientist. They might start reconsidering how they want to spend that $99/year. Why not use it to support stem cell research or your favorite charity instead? I have to admit that I’m not a regular reader of it, but I do check out their pieces now …Read More

2 min read

When I talk to people about stem cell science and the timeline for turning data into treatments and cures, their reactions completely depend on whom they are. Scientists are patient, perhaps too patient….perhaps too understanding of the many years that we are told that science takes to get something to the clinic. Patients and patient advocates are understandably less patient. I think on both sides, patients and scientists, we have things to teach each other about the importance of time. As both a scientist …Read More

2 min read

As the list of star athletes and other celebs that have received dubious stem cell treatments grows longer, I don’t think there is any question but that this turn of events will be the spark that drives hundreds of ordinary people to get similar treatments for themselves or for their kids who are either budding, but injured sports stars or maybe pediatric patients that have an illness that current medicine cannot really help. Believe me I understand the need for hope, but turning to …Read More

2 min read

There has been concern for months about the direction that the European Union was heading in regards to intellectual property (IP) rights and stem cell patent approaches. Now, a definitive decision banning embryonic stem cell (ESC)-based patents by the EU Court has dealt a severe blow to stem cell science in Europe. The European Court of Justice ruled today that methods involving not just human embryos but also existing human ESC lines, cannot be patented. Remarkably, this ruling impacts all 27 members of the …Read More