Over the years I’ve heard from quite a few patients of stem cell clinics who feel very strongly about their experiences. Some have quite positive views on getting stem cell interventions, while others feel very negatively about the stem cell clinics. I’ve heard more of the latter kind of experience. People often tell me that the stem cells from clinics only worked briefly at best and were too expensive. Another complaint is that the clinic responds to patient disappointment often by suggesting additional, expensive …Read More
After a seemingly endless period of review, the FDA has approved the genetically modified (GM) AquaBounty salmon for sale and consumption. Update: You might find my interview with George Church on CRISPR and gene modification interesting. I don’t see any particular reason to think that this GM fish as a food would pose any significant health risks to people. The fish’s hypothetical risk to the ecosystem is greatly reduced by restrictions on where it can be grown to areas away from natural waterways. Note …Read More
A recent piece on CRISPR genetic modification in the New Yorker called The Gene Hackers or Human 2.0 by Michael Specter is striking in a number of ways. I highly recommend it. The article provides an in-depth look at CRISPR and its potential use for human editing. I like how the article brings so many viewpoints to bear on this important topic. The thing that struck me the most was the recounting of a dream, really a nightmare, that left CRISPR pioneer Jennifer Doudna …Read More
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By Heather Main This year I will be attending the World Stem Cell Summit for the first time (see @WSCSummit on Twitter). I was surprised when I looked at the program and recognized so few of the names of speakers; which made me question what this event was about, if not focused on stem cell research. This was a relatively naïve step from someone who has spent their entire academic career working on mouse embryonic stem cells and attending academic-focused conferences, far away from human …Read More
What’s better for stem cell trials such as for vision loss or Parkinson’s Disease: allogeneic or autologous cells? In a major shift earlier this year, the induced pluripotent stem (IPS) cell trial in Japan for treatment of macular degeneration (MD) switched gears from using the patients’ own cells (called “autologous”) to using banked cells from other people, termed “allogeneic”. Dr. Masayo Takahashi, the leader of this MD trial indicated the main reason was due to regulatory changes related to stem cells in Japan. This …Read More