January 20, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

Month: March 2015

4 min read

The big stem cell news already this week is the acquisition by Fujifilm of Cellular Dynamics International (CDI) for a whopping $307 million dollars or about $16.50 per CDI share. You can read the press release here. Update: The entity is now known as Fujifilm Cellular Dynamics. It was less than two years ago that CDI did its IPO with an initial offering of about $46 million. Fujifilm reportedly has a multibillion-dollar war chest for buying into the life sciences sector and a growing interest in regenerative …Read More

2 min read

If you work in academia and on grants, hen you might have been getting that grant Möbius strip, hamster wheel, Groundhog Day kind of feeling… The funding rate for the key so-called “R01” NIH laboratory biomedical grant has never been lower. In the long run, R01s are crucial to the everyday running of most biomedical labs in America. (Update: I highly recommend you check out this grantsmanship website for useful, practical information.) It might take 10-15 tries to get one grant if one assumes all …Read More

2 min read

Discussion of concerns over heritable human genetic modification has spiked in 2015. This dialogue is a good thing, but is it in a sense too late? Are genetically modified (GM) people a foregone conclusion? Rumors are swirling that upwards of four papers reporting production of GM human embryos are in various stages of review at high-profile journals, sparking a sense of urgency for some kind of steps to deal with this new reality. Could these papers report germline correction of the CTFR mutation in cystic fibrosis …Read More

6 min read

By Jane Langille A few weeks ago, I wrote to Dr. Paul Knoepfler after reading his book Stem Cells: An Insider’s Guide because I was intrigued by his stem cell theory of aging. I wondered if his theory might mean that someone who mobilized and donated hematopoietic cells might be shortening their own lifetime supply. After exchanging emails about my daughter’s experience, he invited me to contribute a guest blog as he felt that the complexity of her experience as a donor and the questions …Read More

2 min read

A new biotech startup, Semma Therapeutics, announced that it seeks to fight diabetes via translating technology from the lab of Doug Melton at Harvard to the clinic. Update: Note that the firm was recently acquired by Vertex. Another major player in cell therapy-based arena for Diabetes is most likely good news for patients. Quoted in the Boston Globe, there is a good deal of enthusiasm about the potential of this kind of therapeutic approach: “This would be a huge breakthrough,” said Dr. George L. King, a …Read More

3 min read

This guest piece on Human Germline Genetic Modification is by Lisa C. Ikemoto, Professor, U.C. Davis School of Law. I have been following the reports about genetic editing technology with concern. The fact that some scientists are calling for moratoria on gene editing of human embryos heartens me. Frankly, I had little confidence that any group of scientists could bring themselves to call for limits on research. The call for a moratorium is as much a game changer as the technology itself. It creates …Read More

1 min read

In celebrate the start of Spring yesterday, here are some pics from my garden. I have so little time I kind of neglect it, but sometimes it all turns out anyway. (update: you may enjoy reading our Scientist in the Garden series) Above you can see the edge of one of the beds with over-wintered & self-reseeded sweet alyssum in white and purple. Intermixed I have tulips and miniature carnations, with the latter surviving the winter. The climate in Davis, CA can be very …Read More

3 min read

CRISPR Cas9 gene editing technology is a game changer on many levels both inside and soon outside the lab. There is a growing sense of urgency amongst biomedical scientists to take a proactive approach to current and future use of CRISPR gene editing technology in human germ cells and embryos. These concerns have been heightened by rumors of multiple papers currently in various stages of peer review that will reportedly describe CRISPR-mediated gene editing of human embryos. A number of scientists and scientific organizations have recently come …Read More

2 min read

In a new perspectives piece in Science, Nobel Laureate David Baltimore and co-authors including Jennifer Doudna and George Church, chart a potential path forward for human germline engineering. See also accompanying Bioethics piece by Gretchen Vogel as well, “Embryo engineering alarm”. In the piece, entitled “A prudent path forward for genomic engineering and germline gene modification” calls for further discussion and assessment of key potential benefits and risks to moving forward with this technology. The illustration included here is from the piece. The piece …Read More

2 min read

The International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) just now released a new policy statement on human germline gene editing. The statement calls for a ban on clinical application of human germline gene editing technology. Here is the brief summary statement at the beginning: The International Society for Stem Cell Research calls for a moratorium on attempts at clinical application of nuclear genome editing of the human germ line to enable more extensive scientific analysis of the potential risks of genome editing and broader public …Read More