Stem cell news update: the good, the bad, & the weird

Embryo model legos, Copyright Nicolas Rivron, used with permission
Blastocyst embryo model from legos, Copyright Nicolas Rivron, used with permission

With stem cells there’s always all kinds of developments and news every week or even every day.

Here is an assortment in no particular order of some of the latest news including some across the spectrum including weird and sometimes stuff. The linked phrases are often the actual headlines of the media pieces.

New CIRM Alpha Stem Cell Clinic offers HOPE for boys with deadly disease (article focused on our CIRM-funded Alpha Clinic here at UC Davis as part of our Stem Cell Program).

Note that I suggest you follow Jan Nolta (@jan_nolta ), Director of the Stem Cell Program and Editor-In-Chief of Stem Cells, on Twitter for a regular stream of great updates and links on stem cells in general including for instance recently the ISCT meeting that she has been Tweeting.

Tech workers are paying $7000 to freeze their stem cells in hope of extending life. Is this a good use of money and resources? It’s too soon to know.

Embryo-like structure synthesized in a lab could help decipher infertility. Synthetic embryos have been making news for a few years. Here’s a past post on one of the earlier developments last year. See cool images including the one of a blastocyst made of legos above from Dr. Nicolas Rivron on embryo modeling. Here’s the actual new Nature paper. And here are some other related papers in this line of research suggested by Dr. Rivron:

  • https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/dvg.20473 
  • https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/mrd.22585
  • http://dev.biologists.org/content/141/22/4231

The big Washington Post piece on stem cell clinics is worth a look if you haven’t already read it: What you should know about stem cells, from promising research to dubious uses.

Virginia clinic patients who got ineffective stem cell treatments: They played on our pain. In addition to the recent story on issues in North Dakota on stem cells, now there’s news of unhappy patients in Virginia too. From this news story, “For the debilitating pain of neuropathy, the patients and their spouses turned to a new clinic in Woodbridge, Virginia called RegenPath.” Although, it’s not clear if the Virginia clinic had permission to use that name. Also from the news piece, “However, Liveyon, the California company which provides the stem cells, “does not promote its use for neuropathy … and discloses that our product is not FDA-approved,” its Chief Compliance Officer told 7 On Your Side.” It’s all very complicated so read the story if you are interested.

And finally, this is interesting but pretty weird in spots: Is the Secret to Significantly Longer Life Hidden in Our Cells?

3 Comments


  1. What do you find weird about the Singularity Hub article? We’re all pretty familiar with Dr de Grey’s and Professor Faragher’s positive and negative opinions on treating aging and stem cells. As a dedicated stem cell researcher, what do you think they are getting wrong or overhyping?


    • I found the myth introduction part about immortality, while interesting, to be perhaps not the best setup for a discussion that really requires some sober thought and avoidance of exuberance. Maybe “weird” wasn’t the best choice of words on my part.

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