October 20, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

STAP stem cell update: more prelim data, missing data, & 2011 paper problems

PH STAP testWhat’s the latest on the now two-week-old STAP stem cell saga?

  • More preliminary data from around the world.  People continue to deposit their data into our crowdsourcing page with 8 reports so far and I know some of them are from top-notch labs. Only one of them is even slightly encouraging with a report of faint activity from a Nanog-GFP reporter, while the rest are discouraging. It is still early days, but I think if nothing else so far these reports tell us that if STAP stem cells are real, they are probably not going to be as easy to make as some have suggested.
  • Data missing from Nature papers in databases? Some folks have raised concerns that, contrary to Nature publishing policy, the Nature STAP papers have apparently not deposited any publicly available data. Casey Bergman wrote a letter to Nature asking about it and put it in the comments on this blog. Let’s see what develops. I know people would like to independently analyze that data.
  • Concerns raised about 2011 Vacanti/Obokata paper. Post-publication review sleuths on PubPeer have raised issues of significant concern about a Tissue Engineering paper from 2011 with Obokata as first author and Charles Vacanti as senior author. There are potential examples of image duplication in that paper that are being discussed on PubPeer relating to Figures 2 and 3 especially, but also Figure 4.
  • STAP polling reflects uncertainty, but leans slightly positive. A second week of polling on STAP stem cells continues for a few more days here, but so far it’s a jumble of “on the fence” and other answers, but leans a bit towards people believing in them. Hope remains that STAP stem cells may be the real deal.




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