January 21, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

Month: September 2016

4 min read

Earlier this week New Scientist broke the news that the first baby born after Maternal Spindle Transfer (a form of mitochondrial replacement) is already five months old, and even more, he seems to be doing well. Even when John Zhang’s team has achieved a world first, I agree with Dr. Alison Murdoch in that: “The translation of mitochondrial donation to a clinical procedure is not a race but a goal to be achieved with caution to ensure both safety and reproducibility”. At the moment …Read More

4 min read

Today we got the first report of a baby being born via so-called “3-person IVF”, sometimes called 3-parent IVF, in which the DNA of three people contribute to an offspring. Before discussing this further I have to emphasize that we need proof that this is indeed really a 3-person IVF baby via genetic testing. Until that data is released publicly we should all be cautious on this news. Apparently the clinic plans to present such data later. Assuming it is a 3-person IVF baby, which …Read More

5 min read

In the past year there has been a great deal of attention given to the potential use of CRISPR-Cas9 for gene editing in human embryos. An important recent development, described in a new NPR article by Rob Stein, is the use of CRISPR-Cas9 in healthy human embryos for developmental biology research by assistant professor Fredrik Lanner of The Karolinska Institute. Dr. Lanner, who invited Stein into his lab to observe the work, kindly agreed to do a Q&A interview with me (below) on his …Read More

2 min read

Cynata Therapeutics Limited has received approval from UK regulators to start a first-of-its-kind allogeneic IPSC-based trial of MSCs for graft versus host disease (GVHD). Cynata also had some big news a couple weeks back with a deal with Fujifilm. The company is aiming to recruit 16 patients to test whether the MSCs (a type of adult stem cell) made from pluripotent stem cells created in the lab is safe and eventually whether it can aid patients facing GVHD, a potentially life threatening consequence of bone …Read More

4 min read

KPBS reporter David Wagner has an important new piece out today on for-profit investigational stem cell treatments and he focuses to a large extent on a stem cell business in San Diego called Stemedica. If you’ve heard of this company it might be in part because they were involved in the Gordie Howe stem cells for stroke story that got so much buzz. At a personal level the KPBS story is about the experience of patient Jim Gass, who received a number of non-FDA approved stem cell treatments outside the …Read More

3 min read

In the total the FDA has held 3 days of public meetings on stem cells in the last few weeks ranging from science to policy and hearing from many parties including patients and even stem cell clinics so the big question now is, “what happens next?” The FDA has 4 draft guidances pertaining to investigational stem cell clinical procedures and these were the subject of the second meeting that last a couple of days. Soon the FDA’s online commenting period related to these issues …Read More

2 min read

What does Google think (if Google does indeed think) are top 10 stem cell news stories right now? I took a screen shot below. Here are some thoughts on those stories. First, lung organoids are neat, but they have been grown before by several groups. Why is that the top story? I’d have to ask Google. Better PR? Still looks interesting and could have real impact for lung disease in the future. The second story is on the transplantation of allogeneic IPS cells into monkeys without …Read More

1 min read

Nominations are open starting today for the Stem Cell Person of the Year Award for 2016. Please email me your nominations: knoepflerATucdavisDOTedu. This is a unique award as it is given to an individual who has taken risks to help others within the stem cell field and they based their actions on outside-the-box thinking. Another unusual aspect is that anyone is eligible for the prize whether you are a scientist, physician, patient, writer, student, etc. There are also no geographic restrictions. The winner receives …Read More

3 min read

As I posted recently, Asterias Biotherapeutics has had good early safety results so far in its historic stem cell trial for spinal cord injury and now the company presented some early, encouraging hints at efficacy.  However, a caveat here is that this is not an RCT (randomized controlled trial). Ed Wirth, CMO of Asterias, presented the early data at the 55th Annual Scientific Meeting of the International Spinal Cord Society. You can take a look at the very interesting talk slides here. Asterias is a subsidiary …Read More

2 min read

The FDA’s stem cell meeting wrapped up today on day two with a diverse group of individual speakers. A series of patient testimonials today in favor of clinics was one thing that stood out. You can read my take of day one and the account of Jeanne Loring who was at the meeting. I’ve noted that on average about 350 people were watching the webcast of the meeting both days. The patients gave powerful, often emotional testimonials today on their experiences at various stem cell clinics …Read More