January 23, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

Month: February 2013

1 min read

Hi everyone, St. Baldrick’s is the top children’s cancer foundation and does amazing work for kids with cancer and their families. Their top fundraising event is a head-shaving program where people make pledges in support of a “shavee” who gets their head shaved in solidarity with kids with cancer who often lose their hair due to treatment. I’ve formed a St. Baldrick’s UC Davis School of Medicine fundraising team and I’m also a shavee myself this year. I did it last year too and was …Read More

2 min read

How do dubious stem cell clinics get patients in the door to make money? In part they do this via the Internet via the clinics’ own websites. There are also patient websites, some secret, which may serve ad recruitment tools for specific clinics. A more general tactic may be the use of so-called “recruiter-patients”. There is an interesting article from 2011 on this practice in India: Recruiter-patients as ambiguous symbols of health: bionetworking and stem cell therapy in India . What is a recruiter-patient? A recruiter-patient is a …Read More

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Two women in San Diego County are heading to jail after being convicted and sentenced for fraud related to stem cell treatments.The women injected concoctions of bovine stem cells from Germany and DMSO into patients. You can read the details of the original arrest here on the FBI website. According to a Modesto Bee article, Kathleen Ann Helms (aka Catherine Bright-Helms) pictured at right (photo from News10.com) of Encinitas, CA will spend 18 months in jail and have 18 months of supervised release. The article …Read More

2 min read

A concerning trend in the for-profit stem cell field, but one that does not get enough attention, is self-experimentation by those selling (often unlicensed) stem cell treatments. In other words, the stem cell clinic leaders and docs often not only sell stem cell treatments to patients, but also they give themselves the same treatments, often repeatedly. For some it seems to almost reach the point of addiction. Above is a cartoon on this issue by a new member of the Knoepfler Lab Blog, scientific and …Read More

1 min read

The mesenchymal stem cell (MSC). So important and yet so misunderstood? People pronounce it in different ways. People isolate the MSCs in different ways. Each person’s MSCs are very different. Each lab’s MSCs are different. (see picture above of MSCs showing fibroblastic morphology; source is Wikipedia) Someone once told me that MSCs are the same as hematopoietic stem cells. ‘What the heck?’, was my response. Some people are not sure that MSCs (at least as they are typically thought of) even exist. I remember distinctly …Read More

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I’ve been running a poll on what is the ideal background for the CEO of a stem cell company. We got a pretty good turnout in this poll, although one is to be reminded that Internet polls are not scientific. It’s not perfect, but the results (at right) seem quite interesting. So far, the MBA degree seems to be the most important factor according to respondents. The top 3 results all have an MBA in them. The number 1 answer by a landslide is …Read More

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I really appreciate how insightful the students are with whom I interact each year including undergrads, grads, and medical students. One asked me the other day “What are the backgrounds of the CEOs of stem cell companies?” I know some of the CEOs and their background, but the question got me thinking, what is the ideal background for a stem cell company CEO? (an no, I’m not talking about a CSO). Please vote in my poll on this topic below!

9 min read

Over the last few weeks, I have enjoyed talking with and interviewing Dr. Allan Wu, of The Morrow Institute on stem cell cosmetic procedures. I was impressed greatly by his talk at the World Stem Cell Summit last year. Dr. Wu is a fellowship trained Surgical Molecular Biologist with a background in Molecular Embryology and a board certified Cosmetic Surgeon actively practicing  Aesthetic Reconstructive and Regenerative Surgery. Below is my interview him. I hope you enjoy it and find it as thought-provoking as I did. Paul …Read More

2 min read

It is always exciting when a biomedical technology as revolutionary as iPS cells is on the cusp of being used in patients for the first time. In the last few days stories have reported about how a proposed clinical trial based on iPS cells has completed several regulatory steps and is closer to starting. This is exciting, but the trial also has the potential for many risks. Just one risk stems from the fact that how cells behave in mice or other rodents or …Read More