January 17, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

Month: June 2014

2 min read

It was great being a postdoc in Bob Eisenman’s Lab at the Hutch in Seattle. I loved it.  Bob is a great mentor (see more on my experience there here) and the scientific interactions in the lab were wonderful. It’s been fun and interesting to follow the work of my fellow former Eisenman lab members over the years. For example, another former postdoc from the Eisenman lab, Shaun Cowley, has a lab that is doing some exciting research on the role of histone deacetylase (HDACs) in …Read More

2 min read

As the STAP cell fiasco has evolved, there has been discussion of various possible resolutions or even penalties for those involved, both institutions like RIKEN and individuals. One of the most extreme and I believe way out of proportion potential outcomes suggested has been the dismantling of RIKEN’s entire Center for Developmental Biology (CDB) in Kobe. An outside reform panel has reportedly suggested to RIKEN President Ryoji Noyori that CDB be dissolved. While it is true that Obokata was working at CDB and a few …Read More

1 min read

I’ve conduct two polls after the annual ISSCR 2014 meeting in Vancouver. Both reflect a moderate level of enthusiasm. The results are above. In the first poll, asking for a general level of enthusiasm about the meeting (let), the top answer was the middle of the road “so-so”, but this was followed by the two possible answers reflecting positive feelings about it. In the second poll at right, I ask respondents how they felt about ISSCR 2014 versus ISSCR 2013. Again, the responses were …Read More

3 min read

A new patent has been awarded to James Sherley for a very unusual method claimed for making induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. The patent, No. 8,759,098, claims that a single non-genetic chemical agent, xanthine, can by itself reprogram adult stem cells (ASC) into iPS cells (aka iPSCs; see image they released at left). Surprising patent, huh? Another notable element to this patent story is the identity of the patentee: Dr. James L. Sherley. Sherley fought a court battle (Sherley v Sebelius) with the Obama administration seeking to ban all …Read More

2 min read

Glioblastoma and other related malignant glioma tumors including diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) are some of the most devastating of all human cancers, and glioma stem cells may contribute to the lethality. You can see an image of a glioma (the white area in the brain scan) from Wikipedia above. These brain tumors usually kill the people who get them within 1-2 years even with treatments and because today’s therapies for these cancers are themselves extremely harsh, patients’ quality of life is often very …Read More

2 min read

Comedian John Oliver has an absolutely blistering segment (see below) on Dr. Oz in which he skewers the physician huckster. The video includes incredibly telling Oz testimony before Congress in which the celebrity doctor seems frankly pretty pathetic and cannot answer even simple questions about his selling of arguably snake oil on his show. Oz likes to use words like “magic” when grossly hyping alternative medicine on his show as though he were the Wizard of Oz or something, but before Congress you could say he wasn’t in …Read More

2 min read

What were people saying about STAP cells at the ISSCR 2014 meeting? It was a tale of two meetings when it came to STAP at ISSCR. Officially, bigwigs at the podiums only briefly mentioned it and they seemed to collectively argue that STAP was something unfortunate, but that the bigger danger was the overreaction to it. Thus, remarkably their key concern seemed to be their perception of an overreaction to STAP rather than STAP itself. Outside the lecture halls in the other halls (between …Read More

4 min read

I’ve really enjoyed day 2 of ISSCR 2014. So far this day has already packed in a slew of great talks both in the lecture halls and outside one-on-one with old friends and new ones. How great is that? I’ll focus on just a few highlights to keep it concise. Dubious stem cell clinics and the FDA: a match not made in heaven? The ISSCR conference day started off a session entitled “Therapies in the Clinic” and my colleague Leigh Turner kicked things off with a …Read More

1 min read

I took a chance today to walk around Vancouver a bit while visiting ISSCR 2014 and got a few fun photos with my iPhone. Vancouver is a very cool city with pretty nature, diverse people, and lots of art. Next to the Convention Center is a great view and a big ship. And this building speaks (or writes)….the clouds looked no nearer than when I was lying on the street. the clouds looked no nearer than when I was lying on the street. the …Read More