January 26, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

Month: September 2018

3 min read

Stem cells are always in the news so what’s up in the last week or two? CIRM News The dialogue over CIRM’s future is picking up a bit of steam. The San Francisco Chronicle did an in-depth piece on CIRM some weeks back and then opined that they didn’t feel supportive of another round of funding. I disagree. I think CIRM is a good future investment for California, but as a past CIRM grantee and stem cell advocate my opinion is probably not a …Read More

1 min read

Here is my initial list of 2019 Stem Cell Meetings & Conferences. Send me your listings if you don’t see your meeting here so I can start fleshing out the list more. Meeting listings are not endorsements and I try to make this list fairly comprehensive of as many stem cell meetings as I can. You can see the 2018 list of meetings as there is still time to go to some of those here. January World Stem Cell Summit, Miami, FL USA, January …Read More

3 min read

There’s a new paper in Cell Stem Cell on esophageal organoids that has really caught people’s attention. It is entitled, “3D Modeling of Esophageal Development using Human PSC-Derived Basal Progenitors Reveals a Critical Role for Notch Signaling.” It comes from a team led by Jianwen Que. Update: I didn’t realize when I first did this post that there were 2 related esophageal organoids papers in the same issue of the journal and the second one led by James M. Wells at Cincinnati Children’s has some cool …Read More

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Clinicaltrials.gov is a wonderful resource for its many users, whether a patient searching for a clinical trial to actually participate in or someone doing research as I have done, but it’s not perfect and some sponsors have been breaking the rules regarding its use. It’s a major problem in fact. Based on new draft guidance it seems that the FDA and NIH are teaming up in a big new way to punish those who are non-compliant with the Clinicaltrials.gov-related regulations and laws, including potentially …Read More

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We heard this week about the encouraging news of a new CRISPR-stem cell collaboration between stem cell biotech ViaCyte and CRISPR Therapeutics. The goal of the team is to make genetically engineered pancreatic derivatives from stem cells that would have a unique immune stealthiness. If such an approach was successful, patients would not need to take immunosuppressive drugs. I followed up with five questions for ViaCyte. Their CEO Paul Laikind sent along some answers that provide new, deeper insights. You can see a cool …Read More

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What happens when one of the most exciting stem cell biotechs ViaCyte teams up with a firm like CRISPR Therapeutics to use a combination of gene editing and cell therapy? Hopefully a synergistic partnership emerges that in this case can develop an effective stem cell-based therapy for diabetes. You can see a press release on the news. (Update, see my new interview after the news broke with ViaCyte CEO Paul Laikind) ViaCyte has been a frequent subject of posts on The Niche related to …Read More

2 min read

What the devil is a vampire facial? I first heard about the vampire facial, sometimes also called a “vampire facelift” when professional celebrity Kim Kardashian reportedly got one. I weighed in on that five years ago here. There was some question in how this procedure was portrayed as to whether it involved stem cells, which seems unlikely at this point. Kim apparently did this to try to keep a young look, but I figured it had to be risky. Now since her marriage known …Read More

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Sometimes it seems like a bunch of stuff in one area, like with CRISPR this week, happens all of a sudden in science. A bunch of fairly high-profile gene editing pubs came out. They generated a lot of news reports. Other news in this arena popped up too, all within a few days. In vivo CRISPR editing with no detectable genome-wide off-target mutations over at Nature. In this context “no” is a really strong statement. Does the data back it up? See Figure 1a from …Read More

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One of the most common questions about stem cells is economic as patients ask about stem cell treatment cost. How much is the price tag? Empowered with information patients can start thinking like consumers and look out for their own interests more vigorously. I’ve blogged and done polls before about how much patients self-report having paid per treatment, but another important factor needs to be part of this equation: how many stem cell treatments each patient gets. For instance, if a patient reports paying $5,000 …Read More

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Sometimes we could all use a jolt of good news and cool science. Those of us in the stem cell field probably get tired at times of all the bad-ish, even if important news (like this from Michael Hiltzik of the LA Times) out there surrounding certain unproven stem cell offerings and also clinics that engage in all kinds of stuff ranging from off-beat shenanigans to really dark stuff. Today’s post is focused mostly on the good news and exciting science. You can see …Read More