Below are the 2016 stem cell predictions I made last year and their status now color-coded near year’s end. Green is right, orange is mixed bag, and red is flat out wrong.
Overall, I did better than most past years with only having entirely blown it on four.
Stay tuned later this week for my 2017 predictions, which looks to be a dramatic year in the field of stem cells and regenerative medicine.
The Score Card on 2016 Predictions
- Another stem cell biotech acquisition by pharma (recall Ocata (now finally sold to Astellas) & CDI in 2015). Grade: Some acquisitions, but not huge news.
- Charging patients for clinical trial participation, particularly in Japan due to the new policy and here in the US related to predatory clinics remains a hot topic. Grade: Correct.
- Stem cell clinics and doping in sports flares up more. Grade: not really the two together.
- Organoids continue to excite. Grade: Correct.
- Bioheart and some other small stem cell companies struggle. Grade: Correct.
- Stem cell stocks overall have a bad year. Grade: Unfortunately, generally correct.
- Stem cell clinics ever more aggressively use celeb clients for PR and marketing. Why? It is powerful, effective, and essentially free advertising. Grade: Correct.
- More news on human-animal chimeras. Grade: Correct.
- FDA continues its slow-go approach to action on stem cell clinics/unapproved stem cell products. Grade: Sadly correct.
- Pressure from industry and some academics on FDA to not regulate adipose products as drugs and/or to not enforce some other draft guidances including at the public hearing on the draft guidances. Grade: Correct.
- FDA receives increasing public criticism for “slowness” on approving new stem cell therapies including from beyond the stem cell clinic industry. Grade: Correct.
- One or more lawsuits against a stem cell clinic. Grade: Correct in a big way. E.g. versus U.S. Stem Cell, Lung Institute, and Stemgenex.
- A new stem cell scandal pops up related to publication issues. Grade: Correct. You just have to go visit Retraction Watch (e.g. the Spain mess), For Better Science, or PubPeer, and then also see the continuing Macchiarini debacle in particular.
- Some hiccups on mitochondrial transfer/3-person IVF in the UK or China. Grade: Correct. Diseased mitochondrial carry-over and mito-nuclear cross-talk issues have popped up and deserve serious attention. Remarkably, nevertheless UK folks are going forward with it in humans anyway.
- The trend last year of increasingly blurred lines between legit research entities such as universities and dubious stem cell enterprises continues. This is worrisome. Grade: Correct. For instance, see Rasko paper.
- Stem cell-derived human germ cells stay in the headlines. This has exciting potential for providing new windows into human development and tackling infertility, but also raises thorny issues such as human genetic modification. Grade: Correct.
- ViaCyte has some big news. Grade: Not yet…
- High-profile developments on veterinary use of stem cells. Grade: Correct.
- Animal cloning, particularly in China, continues to proliferate. Grade: Correct.
- More rumblings on possible human reproductive cloning attempts. Grade: Some here and there, but not much. See this piece on cloning focusing on 20th Anniversary of Dolly.