January 27, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

Month: May 2016

2 min read

A sad, but not surprising day for the stem cell field as the biotech StemCells, Inc. announced that it is winding down its operations after terminating its spinal cord injury trial called the Pathway Study. The data generated so far did not justify continuing the trial. StemCells, Inc. (stock symbol STEM) has struggled financially for quite some time. In February of this year I asked if the company could cheat death given how bad things were looking and what I was hearing through the …Read More

3 min read

Here is another of my blog posts from yesterday’s CRISPR ethics, science, and policy symposium held here at UC Davis. You can read the others here, here, and here. Note as with the other posts, since I was taking notes as listening and on the fly, this post is a stream of consciousness on what the speakers said so it is rough and there are some fragments. The next panel at the UC Davis CRISPR meeting included these speakers: Michael J. Zerbe, PhD, York College …Read More

3 min read

The second session at our CRISPR meeting was really powerful. As with other posts from the UC Davis CRISPR meeting, since I was taking notes on the fly during this session, this post is a stream of bits from the different talks, often trying to capture the essence of key questions or ideas as the speakers talked so forgive the format. Overall from this session, the potential future somatic-gene therapy kind of use of CRISPR for catastrophic, fatal diseases such as Huntington’s Disease is something …Read More

2 min read

The CRISPR meeting has started off wonderfully with a talk by Ben Hurlbut. His talk was entitled, “The Demands of CRISPR’s World: Imagination, Deliberation and Governance”. Since I took notes and listened this post is somewhat freeform. I liked how Ben asked a lot of questions. What is “CRISPR’s world” as Science Magazine called it? How do we want to use the capability of CRISPR? Ben made a comparison to nuclear physics and the development and use of atomic bombs. He quoted throughout his talk …Read More

1 min read

There’s a great meeting going on today here at UC Davis starting soon on CRISPR, focused on the intersection of the science with bioethical and legal issues. I’ve been helping to organize this meeting, but kudos and thanks go to my colleague Mark Yarborough who took the lead in organizing the meeting and did most of the work. I’m hoping as time permits to do a few semi-live blog posts on the meeting as it goes along. If things are too busy, I will …Read More

3 min read

The gene editing technology CRISPR has been arguably the top story in the biomedical world in the last two years, but going forward there is a CRISPR challenger in upstart gene editing technology NgAgo. For more background on NgAgo and the key first published paper on its genetic modification characteristics see my post here.  In the comments on that post and in discussions I’ve had with other researchers, some key points have crystalized on NgAgo versus CRISPR at this time. As a possible CRISPR challenger, how does NgAgo fare? …Read More

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Over on Twitter Magdalena Plotczyk (@MPlotczyk) posted a striking photo of an anti-GMO poster from Lausanne, Switzerland. The top part of the poster translates as, “‘After GMO corn, GMO children?’” As readers of this blog know, I do have concerns about the eventual production of genetically modified people using rapidly evolving genetic modification/gene editing technology such as CRISPR. In fact, I’ve written an entire new book on this, GMO Sapiens. I hope you’ll read it. However, as you’ll see in the book, I’m not so concerned about …Read More

2 min read

Haruko Obokata is most well-known for her role as first author of the now retracted two STAP cell Nature papers. These manuscripts claimed to have made pluripotent and even totipotent stem cells simply by stressing cells out with acid treatment or in other ways. Nobody else could get this method to work to create the so-called STAP cells. It was an all around scientific disaster and I don’t know anyone who believes that STAP cells are real, but Obokata and another one of her mentors, …Read More

4 min read

I am often critical of for-profit stem cell clinics on this blog for numerous reasons. For instance, one thing that concerns me greatly about these clinics is that they charge patients to get experimental “treatments” that have not been proven to be safe or effective. But as some patients have pointed out to me over the years, certain FDA-approved stem cell clinical trials also charge patients to receive unproven stem cell therapies. Should someone (even if that someone is an academic clinical researcher) be able …Read More