January 22, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

Month: October 2019

2 min read

I’m relatively new to podcasts, but am enjoying a new stem cell-focused one called Bad Batch by medical journalist Laura Beil, which I’ve been listening to in the car as I commute. I just finished episode three. I’m curious to hear how the next few episodes of the story unfold. I talked and emailed with Beil as she worked on this project. Her rigorous approach impressed me and she clearly did her homework on it. Bad Batch comes from podcast network Wondery. It is …Read More

7 min read

Today’s post is a review of Unnatural Selection, the new Netflix science docuseries focused on CRISPR and other disruptive genetic and reproductive technologies. The show is an interesting mix of personalities and stories from patients, scientists, biohackers, and more. One patient thread is the story of a wonderful little boy named Jackson Kennedy. He wants to be an astronaut. He also happens to have the random misfortune of two mutant copies of a gene that together are causing him to lose his vision. Unnatural …Read More

2 min read

When it comes to coverage of stem cell research in the media, science news can both be cool, but also surprising. Some of the more interesting publications don’t always draw news coverage too. This post is a list of recent notable pubs and news. First some pubs. How good are human brain organoids at modeling human brain development? A new meeting abstract from the Arnold Kriegstein lab (covered here at The Scientist) claims not so good. The abstract concludes, ” Although organoids are a …Read More

2 min read

Over the years I’ve asked patients to talk about their experiences getting a stem cell therapy of one kind or another. One particular post in 2016 has drawn almost 400 comments, many from patients. The insights provided by these patients and the questions asked in the comment stream have provided a unique window into what’s going on out there. There is a remarkable diversity of readers on this blog from all over the world. I know we have a lot of readers who are …Read More

3 min read

As of October 1, Google was supposed to have banned ads for unproven stem cell clinics and products. This was according to their own new policy. How’s that going? How’s this new Google approach to unproven stem cell marketing working out in the real wild world of the web? To test it, I did over a dozen common searches that in the past would bring up first or second-page results on Google containing several ads for unproven stem cell firms. Overall, for more than …Read More

3 min read

Marketing of unproven stem cells has exploded in the past 3 years including some ads for things that sure seem like snake oil to me. Overall, it’s likely that hundreds of thousands of dollars if not more than a million are being spent on advertising of unproven stem cells. While in the past I’ve generally tried to avoid using terms like “snake oil” about stem cell interventions and products, there are some instances where in my opinion it likely applies. Here’s an official dictionary …Read More

3 min read

After almost a decade blogging about stem cells from just about every angle, it’s interesting to consider trends in the types of questions I get asked such as this much more common one now as compared to 2010: How much is stem cell therapy? What does a patient pay on average for stem cells in 2019? How much does insurance cover? Cost is on people’s minds. In a way that’s not so surprising for a few reasons. First, as compared to many years back, …Read More

3 min read

We here in California have been fortunate to have our own stem cell and regenerative medicine agency called CIRM, standing for the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. How much has CIRM helped the California economy and has it had broader economic impacts outside of California? How will that impact its future? CIRM has been around for more than a dozen years. It was the end result of Proposition 71, which dedicated $3 billion to research funding. CIRM has funded a wide range of research …Read More

6 min read

There appears to be a big, risky loophole in the relatively new national Right To Try law. Some folks apparently anticipated this problem long ago, but I think most of us weren’t aware of it. Update: More specifically, some law and policy experts were writing about this and other potential loopholes in 2018. I recommend this piece from Beth Roxland and Elisa A. Hurley on the The PRIM&R blog. What’s the deal? It seems to be a case of what I would call piggybacking …Read More