Top 10 truly frightening questions for stem cell field on Halloween

Jack-o-lanternThe Stem Cell Meeting on the Mesa is going on in my former hometown of La Jolla, Ca.

I wish I could have been there, but I’m too swamped with a lot of stuff right now including teaching.

If I was there, I’d be asking questions including, I hope, tough ones.

Here are my top 10 tough questions for the stem cell field nearing the end of 2012.

  • 10. Can we learn something as a field from the fraud Moriguchi? I think so. More on that in a future post.
  • 9. Related to #10 above, what will be the big stem cell scandal of 2013? It is coming and it would be naive to think it isn’t. What will it be and can we handle it as well as we handled Moriguchi?
  • 8.  Why are we mostly failing to educate the public about stem cells? How can we better connect with the public, including non-English speaking folks, around the world to do outreach and education? I have my SCOPE program at 21 languages and counting, but I believe more effort needs to go into this.
  • 7.  What happens a few more years down the road when CIRM either no longer exists or becomes a private entity? It will have an amazing, wonderful legacy forever, but what happens practically speaking when Prop 71 money is gone?
  • 6. Will the Supreme Court take up the Sherley v Sebelius Case? I think they might given the big question at the heart of the case. How might they rule?
  • 5. How are we as a field going to handle what is certainly going to be an even more prominent for-profit, point-of-care stem cell clinic industry in 2013? Putting our heads in the sand won’t work. These folks mean business and are not going away, yet they could have a powerful negative impact on the stem cell field more generally.
  • 4. What do the pro-life/personhood folks have in store for us in 2013?
  • 3. If Romney wins, how will we work with him? I myself have been a critic of him, but if he wins we need to work with him if at all possible to make stem cells a more visibly bipartisan issue.
  • 2. Will 2013 be the year of the first real human reproductive clone?
  • 1. When is the right time for iPS cells to go into early clinical trials? Too soon and prior to us truly understanding their relationship with cancer cells as well as their behavior in clinically relevant transplant settings, and we risk harming patients and setting back the field. Is 2013 too soon?

2 Comments


  1. Working with Romney won’t be a problem. As soon as he figures out how to do a leveraged buyout of stem cell companies and make a quick buck, he’ll be a big booster of the industry.

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