TGIF: good, bad, ugly stem cell headlines of week of May 25

TGIF

It’s been a wild week on this blog with many thoughts going out to the future of stem cells in Texas.

What about stem cell headlines of the week?

Some wildness there too and lots of discussion of translational applications, which is exciting.

This week let’s start in reverse order with the ugly and what better way to begin than with Rush Limbaugh, huh?

Ugly

Rush Limbaugh parrots pro-lifers gross exaggeration that MJ Fox is giving up on ES cells. I touched on this last week with MJ Fox interview on ABC and the accompanying misleading ABC headline. Not surprisingly this week the anti-stem cell forces have used this as a weapon to bomb stem cell research and Rush has picked up on that stink bomb only making it stinkier.

Bad

An article from the financial sector cluster bombs stem cell-related biotechs from both financial and other angles. Yeah, “it’s been a rough year” and there are real, serious financial challenges to biomedicine, but I think this article was over the top with such statements as “only dreamers and fools invest in embryonic stem cell stocks”. Wow, that’s analytical, huh?

Good

Making iPS cells from heart failure patients has a lot of potential. While it could be very difficult to use iPS cells for heart attacks given the lag time needed to produce and validate them from every new patient, for heart failure iPS cells seem like a great tool.

Good

The promise of stem cells for drug development is discussed at Nature. This is cool because most of the focus is on cellular therapies. I do wish the article had been more incisive about the challenges.

Good

Nobel laureate discusses future of bioscience and is most excited about stem cells! Sir Richard Roberts said: “Most exciting is the promise of stem cells where the challenge is to understand how they drive their differentiation into all of the other cell types in our bodies,” Roberts said. “While I do not advocate prolonging life indefinitely, I am very much in favor of ensuring that as we age, the quality of our life does not diminish.” 

Good

In pain, instead of taking 2 tylenol, maybe stem cell-based therapies will help kill that pain. Dysfunctional nerves seem to be at the root of a lot of pain and maybe stem cells can be used to make a therapy to fix that. This idea is discussed based on some new research.

2 Comments


  1. Paul, I am not a prognosticator, but I play one on TV, so here goes, I predict
    1. Within 3 years, 1 Nobel will be awarded in the field of Stem Cell Research or Treatment
    2. In 10 years 3 prizes will be awarded in different categories associated with Stem Cell work.
    I am happy the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences makes the choices on Sciences because, I think the Peace Prize may have taint on it, ( not sure but maybe the Swiss are somehow involved) guys like Kissinger and Arafat and Obama don’t conger thoughts of Peace in my mind…anyway just saying..
    Thanks for a great Blog, Between you and Doug Sipp, its enough to keep this Junkie in the know!


    • Thanks for your predictions and kind words! I’m hoping to make a difference as both a scientist and patient advocate.

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