Weekend reads: stem cells, organoids, cancer, CRISPR & a tiger named Igor

Tiger
A tiger in an open source image (not Igor) as stem cells for Igor are part of recommended weekend reads

What are your typical weekend reads? If you are a scientist, they might often include a great deal of science. I always hope I can find time for reading for pleasure too, but about as close as I get to that is the New York Times on Sunday.

Here are some recommended science reads for this weekend including approachable media articles on interesting developments.

Blood test shows promise for spotting early cancers. In addition to being a cancer researcher, as a cancer survivor myself and someone interested in blood tests from prostate and other cancers, I found this encouraging and interesting.

Igor the Siberian tiger gets stem-cell hip treatment in Hungary (some hype here or overexuberance?)

This company is making an at-home CRISPR kit to find out what’s making you sick

Ethics of human brain research including organoids. This commentary comes from Nita Farahany and Hank Greely and colleagues. This topic seems even more important as we enter the age of vascularized organoids, including the two new papers below:

“There’s a problem with stem cell therapy in Florida.” An investigative report from WPTV in Florida, which focuses on allegations regarding the Lung Institute and other issues with stem cell clinics in that state.

Scientists generate an atlas of the human genome using stem cells

“‘Incompatible’ donor stem cells cure adult sickle cell patients” A cure means forever so is this headline too much?

 New Company, MAGiQ, Aims to Develop Stem Cell Therapies for ALS and Like Diseases (In an era when we are trying to avoid hype, I’m not sure about the wisdom of the name of this company.)

1 Comment


  1. Igor the Siberian tiger gets stem-cell hip treatment in Hungary (some hype here or over-exuberance?)

    Here’s a better title for this piece, Dr. Knoepfler: Check this out!!!

    PREDATORY OVERSEAS VETERINARY DOCTORS TARGET DESPERATE SIBERIAN TIGER PATIENT WITH DUBIOUS UNPROVEN DIRECT TO CONSUMER STEM CELL TREATMENT…..BEWARE! YOUR PET COULD BE NEXT!!!

    Okay. It’s a little wordy. On the other hand, I’m sure you don’t notice the bias. Right? For balance you could have given your readers another choice. Instead of just SOME HYPE HERE or OVER-EXUBERANCE, how about…. MIGHT TREATMENT IMPROVE TIGER’S QUALITY OF LIFE?
    My understanding is that Veterinarians in this country have been treating domesticated animals with this sort of therapy longer than you’ve been blogging. Depending on the extent of this tiger’s hip condition, how long he has been afflicted with it, his age, and the amount of cellular material utilized, I believe there is a good chance for tremendous improvement in his (Igor’s) quality of life. It doesn’t sound as though these Veterinarians and others were allowed to expand the cellular material to higher therapeutic levels though. Either way, it sure beats doing nothing in my book. Naturally you and the rest of the “Stem Cells Are Drugs” crowd will likely and with great scientific objectivity reassure your readers that such a result is “Anecdotal” or the result of the “Placebo Effect”….. on the part of the Veterinary Doctors! More calls for data, double blind placebo controlled multi-center international decades long clinical trials…etc.

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