We in the stem cell field should call this past week: A Nightmare on Stem Street.
I can’t think of many weeks that have been worse for the stem cell field than this past one. I’m a new week is starting soon.
It was a real nightmare, although I wish it was just something fictional out of the movies (see movie poster from Wikipedia). What happened?
- The STAP horror fest kicked it up a notch in providing pain to the stem cell field with a dramatic press conference from Dr. Obokata in Japan that was a toxic stew. More STAP press conferences are apparently coming….
- Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School took a stem cell hit with a paper retracted (by request from Harvard) from the outstanding journal Circulation. This paper from cardiologist Dr. Piero Anversa had claimed against all odds/previous data that the heart could quickly repair itself.
- A second shot to the heart for the stem cell field came again from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, as they face another burgeoning stem cell paper fiasco. The Editors of The Lancet published an expression of concern about another stem cell paper from Anversa.
- And there was yet another high profile stem cell paper retraction, this time from Cell, was announced. The compromised paper “Directed Conversion of Alzheimer’s Disease Patient Skin Fibroblasts into Functional Neurons” had reported some interesting direct reprogramming, but one author, Dr. Ryousuke Fujita, has reportedly fessed up to some serious shenanigans on the data. The retraction was at the request of the authors.
- Finally, NIH CRM is finished. Finally, the chilling cherry on top of the stem cell week from hell was the news that NIH’s stem cell program, the Center for Regenerative Medicine (CRM) was closing up shop after only having funded one grant. Terrible news.
So how about some good stem cell news?
- Stem cell hope for stroke.
- My colleagues here at UC Davis have promising results for stem cell-grown bladders.
- iPS cell-insight into ALS.
- Insight into brain activity could aid future stem/precursor cell therapies.
Any other stem cell good news recently?