January 20, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

Month: January 2013

2 min read

The induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell field has been red hot over the approximately first half dozen years of its existence from 2006-2011. However, as I blogged about here part way through 2012, it was showing signs of cooling off a bit in terms of the shear output of publications. It turns out that now that the year 2012 is basically in the history books from a publications standpoint (there might be a few stray pubs from 2012 still to be added to databases, …Read More

1 min read

I’m on a roll with my stem cell predictions for 2013 (see all 10 here). First, I got it right with my #1 prediction that the Supreme Court would take a pass on the Sherley v Sebelius Case. Now, I read from excellent science writer David Cyranoski at Nature that Celltex is going to be offering their treatments in Mexico, my prediction #6. Apparently Celltex sent a letter to patients advising them of the move to Mexico for treatments. In my Dec. 27, 2012 …Read More

2 min read

The LA Times has an opinion piece out today by Michael Hiltzik criticizing CIRM. It’s deja vu all over again. The LA Times has shown itself to be very biased against CIRM over the years. Hiltzik specifically has been very hostile to the stem cell agency. I see their coverage of CIRM as unbalanced, never focusing on anything positive. CIRM recently got the ball rolling on significant changes to its structure, particularly as relates to its grant approval process, in response to a review of …Read More

5 min read

I recently did a Q&A interview with NeoStem CEO Dr. Robin Smith. I posted Part 1 of that interview a few days ago here. Now we have part two focused on VSEL, ES cells, and iPS cells. PK: I frequently have readers of my blog ask questions about VSEL. They seem puzzled and unsure of what to think about these cells and their potential clinical use. Can you tell us in a nutshell what they are, why NeoStem is making such a big bet …Read More

5 min read

I recently met the CEO of NeoStem, Dr. Robin Smith, at the 2012 World Stem Cell Summit in Florida. We had a great talk and I invited Dr. Smith to do an interview for my blog. She agreed and has provided very frank answers to my questions, some of which I think were very difficult questions. I want to thank Dr. Smith for participating in this interview and providing such detailed, frank answers. Today’s post is Part 1 of two of this interview. In …Read More

1 min read

Sergei Filin, the ballet master of the famed Bolshoi Ballet in Moscow, was the victim of a nasty acid attack to the face and eyes. As the case remains under investigation, Filin was reportedly treated with a high-risk, unproven stem cell treatment to the eyes using umbilical cord stem cells. Allogeneic stem cell treatments are not proven to aid eye damage of this kind and can be rejected by the body’s immune system. A theater spokesperson said: “A transplant of special tissues extracted from …Read More

1 min read

It’s been a crazy week with a story about Harvard Geneticist George Church supposedly in his new book and in a magazine interview promoting the idea of cloning Neanderthals and possibly people too. I blogged about it here. The German Magazine Der Spiegel did interviewed Church (English version of interview is here) and many things discussed are in Church’s book. Scientists interacting with the media have to be careful in what they say and certainly if one writes a book then it’s out there …Read More

1 min read

I recently did a poll asking folks how they thought blogging would affect an academic’s career and got 50 responses. The results suggest that most respondents thought it was not particularly harmful to one’s career. 18% and 4% thought it mildly and strongly negative, respectively. Far more were enthusiastic as 52% and 6% thought it mildly and strongly positive, respectively. I’d be very interested in the reasons why people voted the way they did. Please let me know in the comments, by email, etc.

1 min read

I attended the CIRM Board meeting yesterday in Berkeley in which they discussed what actions to take in response to a review of CIRM by the Institute of Medicine (IOM). After having a bit of time now to digest all that happened, I think this is the biggest development for CIRM in many years. The CIRM Board voted to approve in bulk a series of changes to CIRM including most dramatically to drop the voting rights of the 13 Board members from UC institutions. …Read More

1 min read

The CIRM Board went ahead today and voted in favor, in principle, of the proposed changes in response to the IOM recommendations. It seems to be a non-binding vote at some level since the Board will vote again in March after more review. Important questions remain: What does the vote today really means if the Board will vote again in March? Will amendments be allowed? How much will public feedback be incorporated into a final decision? Could parts of the proposal ultimately be approved …Read More