January 26, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

Month: August 2018

2 min read

The cost of stem cell treatments is a big deal for many reasons including the burden it puts on patients, who often then turn to friends, family and even the Internet to try to obtain the money needed to pay the for-profit clinic. A reasonable question to ask is how the cost of a stem cell treatment compares to the costs of more standard of care options. Most often clinic stem cell offerings are more expensive, but not always. However, “value” is another consideration …Read More

3 min read

Sometimes when I talk about possible placebo effects with fans of stem cell clinics I feel like placebo becomes akin to a bad word in the discussion. However, any kind of medical procedure can cause placebo effects in people. We’re all susceptible to it. I believe that many perceived positive outcomes at stem cell clinics are really placebo effects. Why? For one thing, many patients have told me about a phenomenon I’ll call “the fade”. Stem cell clinics themselves know exactly what I mean …Read More

4 min read

Time to sell exosome therapies to patients? No. Some stem cell clinics and related firms are looking for new ways to make profits and toward that goal a few have latched onto the legitimate buzz around exosome research. What are exosomes? Imagine if you could bubble up a pea-sized sphere off your skin full of good stuff without harming yourself and toss it over to your relative or friend like a mini-water balloon toss, whose skin would fuse with it and absorb the goodies …Read More

4 min read

The 60 Minutes show here in the U.S. has done sobering segments over the years on risky, unproven stem cell clinics, but now there is a new episode of 60 Minutes Australia that is the polar opposite: it mostly made a mess of things with its fluffy coverage of the story of a wonderful little girl with cerebral palsy receiving an unproven stem cell transplant at a clinic in Mexico. The new show segment, which you can watch in two parts (see below) on …Read More

3 min read

Stem cells for arthritis and pain are hot topics these days and I’m getting an increasing number of patients reaching out with questions and sharing their situations related to arthritis or pain (or usually both together). I asked one arthritis patient who reached out to me if they would be OK with me sharing their email, with all identifying information removed, along with my answer to them. The point was to use this as example that would be helpful to the community. They agreed. …Read More

3 min read

What do you read on the weekend? I wish for me it was at least in part some contemporary novel or science fiction, but that’s rare. More often than not it is almost all science. I do read the Sunday NY Times at least. I usually accumulate things during the week that I want to try to take a look at over the weekend (on top of the usual load of work like grant and paper reviews, writing of our own lab’s science, etc.) …Read More

4 min read

Who decides whether a stem cell therapy is “good” or “bad”, and should that kind of a judgment be more focused on direct patient perspectives such as their stem cell therapy reviews as consumers or based on biomedical science? Both? I’ve written before about how stem cell patients are increasingly thinking of themselves as consumers and posting stem cell therapy reviews online including on more general consumer review sites such as Yelp. As much as one can find many positive and some negative overall …Read More

2 min read

Our California stem cell agency, CIRM, started as a baby even before I came to California in 2006 to start my lab here at UC Davis School of Medicine, but now CIRM or to use its full name the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine is I’d say a full-grown, mature adult at about age 13 in humans years. Maybe CIRM years don’t go for the 7-year equivalent of dog years to human years, but perhaps 2 or 3 CIRM years to one human year. …Read More

4 min read

Last year I started seeing stem cells mentioned along with the opioid crisis in a particular way, but now recently I saw an entirely different pairing of stem cells with the opioid crisis. The first connection I saw was of a few for-profit, unproven clinic firms claiming that for pain sufferers it would be better to turn to experimental stem cells than to opioids or that such iffy stem cells would help people stop using opioids because the stem cells would make the pain …Read More

4 min read

Remember that Shoukhrat Mitalipov lab paper on the use of CRISPR in human embryos? It’s back in the news. One of the biggest stories of 2017 centered on a Nature paper (Ma, et al., see my quick, initial review shortly after it was published here) from Mitalipov’s lab claiming both efficient repair of a disease-causing mutation in human embryos via CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing and that the correction happened at the MYBPC3 gene via an unexpected mechanism using the normal maternal chromosome as a template (the …Read More