January 22, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

Month: April 2013

1 min read

To blog or not to blog? Sometimes that is the question and a tough one. Keep going or shut it down? Let’s say that you are a blogger and scientist. I am one of those people wearing both of those hats. A sexy paper comes out in your field. It’s all over the Internet and news stories. Big claims are made. It’s pretty much the best thing since sliced bread. When you go to the paper itself, however, you find that in reality it …Read More

2 min read

If you are wondering, “How will iPS cells get to help patients?” part of the answer is perhaps the big player and Japanese Institution, Riken and its arm Retina Institute of Japan. The stem cell field is still abuzz about induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells 7 years after their discovery. This amazing embryonic stem cell-like cells can be made with no embryo and have the potential for truly patient specific therapies as well as dish-in-a-dish modeling and drug discovery.   iPS cells are being commercialized and …Read More

2 min read

Dr. Steven Victor, CEO of Intellicell, seems to have made two comments on a recent blog post I did on stem cell sports medicine (see below). Victor and Intellicell received a warning letter from the FDA in March 2012 with the FDA. I’m not aware of Intellicell publicly addressing the FDA issues. If you have, Intellicell, please let me know. I have emailed Dr. Victor about the current state of affairs at Intellicell and I’ll let you know if he responds. I found the comments from …Read More

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I finally got a chance to read the Cell paper by the Melton team on Betatrophin and it is quite cool. Update — Unfortunately the Betatrophin paper discussed here originally back in 2013 has now largely been proven to have come to incorrect conclusions (for more read this). I think one big question is whether this can this be translated into humans, but it seems very encouraging. Another question is whether Betatrophin or some derivative when given as a chemical pill to patients could …Read More

2 min read

UPDATE: Unfortunately the Betatrophin paper discussed here originally back in 2013 has now largely been proven to have come to incorrect conclusions (for more read this). Today Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) reported the discovery, in a paper in Cell by Harvard Professor Doug Melton, of a powerful new hormone called Betatrophin that can stimulate growth of beta cells in vivo. Beta cells are the type of cell that are lost in Diabetes. From the HSCI press release: The hormone, called betatrophin, causes mice …Read More

3 min read

Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) is making a big announcement today about stems, the biggest they say in their almost decade-long existence. Last night I speculated/predicted some possible announcements. Today I’m betting they will announce the discovery of a novel factor called Betatrophin. More on Betatrophin in a minute, but first why do I think it most likely that their announcement is on it? In reality, I’m still not sure, but I suspect it is Betatrophin because I was alerted to a perhaps premature …Read More

1 min read

The Harvard Stem Cell Institute yesterday posted on Facebook that they will make the biggest announcement in their history tomorrow. Big hat tip to Mohammed Mostajo for the heads up and pic on this one. Thanks! What’s that all about? I’ve been working on my sources! Possible predictions…. A. SCNT-production of genetically normal human embryonic stem cells B. Betatrophin, a pancreatic beta cell proliferation factor C. Something interesting related to pre-clinical use of iPS cells. Cure of an animal model disease? D. Direct reprogramming on a …Read More

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I recently did a poll asking people if they are or are not going to ISSCR and in either case, why. The results (at right) are pretty interesting. The #1 answer was that respondents were not going and the reason was that attending would be too expensive. Two other reasons given for not attending (tied at ~9%) were the location doesn’t work and the program wasn’t of interest. Considering people’s wide range of opinions of things and spread across the globe not necessarily close …Read More

3 min read

It has been fascinating in the last year to see the unfolding story of mutations in histone variant H3.3 in pediatric glioblastoma and related tumors. It seems amazing that in just over a year, a whole new area of cancer research has rapidly progressed. As I discussed in a recent post, histone H3.3 is a fascinating molecule that plays critical roles in regulating cellular chromatin and epigenomic states. H3.3 is, as mentioned above, also frequently mutated in some of the worst childhood brain tumors. …Read More

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I’m still trying to figure out the best way to do a webchat on WordPress so I appreciate your patience. I apologize, but at this time the WordPress WebChat requires that you go here and register as a user of my website to participate. It’s relatively painless though and quick: for future chats I hope to eliminate that requirement though. The chat itself will take place here starting at 1PM PDT. Looking forward to your questions! Paul