TGIF: The good, bad and zombie stem cell headlines for week of June 15

ZombieIt’s been another wacky week in the stem cell world ranging from the Zombie to the Magical.

Well, at least it’s Friday, right? In the stem cell world a Friday is not that different than any other day as stem cells often require 7-days a week care, but still Fridays are nice.


OK, the headlines. Let’s start with….


Researchers report in the Lancet that they created an autologous vein to treat a pediatric patient. This sounds pretty intriguing, although it’s just one patient so some caution is in order.

Hybrid good and ugly

From the lab of the wonderful Sam Pfaff at the Salk comes a new study regarding the transcriptional state of ES cells. Very good, interesting work. However, the Salk put out a press release (PR) that was ugly because it talked about the “magical” properties of stem cells. That kind of thing can only cause trouble, raise expectations, and just generally have negative repercussions. Love the Salk, but gotta hate that PR.

Good and Zombie

Then we have a Nature Communications paper out on zombie stem cells. Seriously. The researchers from France showed that in both humans and mice, stem cells can survive at least 2 weeks after death. Said zombie stem cells (as the media are calling them) are most easily found in muscle for whatever reason. While this story is kinda creepy it has important clinical implications as a new source of stem cells.

Good and personal

On Monday I met with Governor Rick Perry of Texas along with Jeanne Loring of Scripps and some wonderful patient advocates. The North County Times reported on the meeting, which I found very encouraging.


Cantankerous blogger, Wesley J. Smith, who once personally attacked me because I disagreed with him, is found this week rejoicing in a European Court of Justice ruling against patenting of ES cell research and in so doing he insults the late Christopher Reeve. I’m not going to link to his site, but believe me it’s his usual anti-ES cell froth.

You may find this newer article on zombie stem cells to be of interest.

3 thoughts on “TGIF: The good, bad and zombie stem cell headlines for week of June 15”

  1. The bit about zombie stem cells is interesting and odd. I was asking about extracting HSCs from dead bodies last month, and was told that they were, in fact, very short lived; they had tried to extract them from time to time during necropsies, but the samples they obtained were almost invariably non-viable.

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