January 22, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

Month: March 2016

2 min read

Even as the book of Haruko Obokata (小保方 晴子) had been fading in popularity on Amazon Japan (update: it is now increasing again), there is some other news with her as she has launched a new website. The website, STAP Hope Page, seems to often not work now, but you can also see it here via Wayback Machine. Hat tip to several readers and people on Twitter including Buvery and Bob Geller. JIJI Press has confirmed that the site is real as some had speculated it …Read More

1 min read

Science humor can be fun especially if it has an edge to it and if one is a bit burned out on grant writing. In that spirit, we have two silly science jokes for a Thursday. Why did the professor make an ovine-feline chimera? Answer: She had always wanted to herd cats. Why did the bioethicist cross the road? Answer: To “get out of the way” of Steven Pinker and the glorious progress of biomedical research using CRISPR on humans. If you don’t get this one, …Read More

1 min read

There’s a growing trend whereby patients have to pay to be in a clinical trial. This is now widely referred to as “pay-to-play”. Proponents of this idea point toward potential benefits in the form of patients gaining access to innovative therapies. They also argue that this approach provides a much-needed funding mechanism for the trials and that it could lead to more insurance coverage of therapies in development. Opponents of pay-play-play argue it is unethical to require a patient to pay (sometimes large sums …Read More

3 min read

Stem cell clinics are spreading like wild-fire across the U.S. A few months back the Sacramento area got a new stem cell clinic selling amniotic stem cell therapies for a variety of ills including most prominently arthritis and pain. This clinic is called Nervana Stem Cell Center. I first noticed it via a huge ad in our local paper, The SacBee. More recently, Nervana has advertised again in full-page spreads in the SacBee, but going by a different name: Lee Medical Group. Yesterday, I …Read More

2 min read

Senators Mark Kirk, Joe Manchin, and Susan Collins have proposed new legislation in the form of the REGROW Act that would substantially interfere with the FDA’s ability to properly regulate the development of new stem cell and regenerative medicine therapies based on hard science. The REGROW Act would force the FDA to allow rushed introduction of experimental stem cell interventions into patients even if the science did not support that these were safe or effective at that time. From the Kirk press release: “Unfortunately the Food and …Read More

1 min read

The two main crops growing in my garden now are peas and fava beans. The former is in the last week or two as I overwintered them and got a ton of peas in February and first two weeks of this month. Unfortunately, there are about 1,000 similar, wacky-looking bugs on my pea patch. Helpful people on Twitter identified these are leaffooted bugs. And sure enough, the back feet on these bugs look like leaves and weird reddish-orange eyes. I don’t know if the …Read More

2 min read

Some would argue that much of life boils down to a series of risk versus reward decisions. This equation-based way of viewing life can be applied both to personal and professional levels. When it comes to the latter and to biomedical scientists specifically, how much risk should we take? What forms could this risk take? On a scientific level, risk could involve publishing something too fast before you are sure the results are accurate or publishing data too slowly and getting scooped. Or you …Read More

1 min read

Several of us here at UC Davis and other Northern California institutions have worked together to organize a unique symposium on CRISPR and genetic modification. You are invited to attend the free meeting, which will take place on May 26th. You can register here. We will cover CRISPR ethics, policy, and law as they relate both to modification of humans and other organisms. We have a wonderful lineup of speakers that include a diverse panel of scientists, policy makers, and at least one patient. You …Read More

2 min read

I like Easter eggs, science and writing, and Easter is less than a week away. I also think that games and puzzles as well as contests where there are prizes are fun. In this spirit I’ve hidden a scientific Easter egg inside of my new book, GMO Sapiens. If you are the first to find it and notify me, I will give you a $250 prize. We are talking about a scientific Easter egg. Wikipedia defines this sort of Easter egg this way: “An Easter egg is …Read More