October 24, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

Recommended reads: Yamanaka review, stem cell indictment, COVID, MYC, more

Here are some recommended stem cell and other reads for the week ranging from COVID developments to prosecutors finally catching up with a stem cell surgeon who had many patients die to a list of interesting pubs. Because Trump now has COVID, I wondered on Friday if he might consider trying unproven stem cells or other cellular therapies for the novel coronavirus because so many in his universe seem upbeat about such stuff.

Indictment of Paolo Macchiarini

Paolo Macchiarini
Paolo Macchiarini in better days for him. Pic credit: STAFFAN LARSSON/KAROLINSKA INSTITUTE.

From the WaPo, Swedes indict surgeon for stem-cell windpipe transplants. This is a big deal. Paolo Macchiarini has so far seemed to escape serious consequences of his troubled, unethical work years ago in which patients died. From WaPo:

“Although Mikael Bjork, director of Public Prosecution, didn’t name him, Swedish news agency TT said the surgeon was Dr. Paolo Macchiarini, who was once considered a pioneer in regenerative medicine, credited with creating the world’s first windpipe partially made from a patient’s own stem cells.”

Note that of the 20 patients who got the windpipes, only 3 are still alive. A Vanity Fair piece a few years back rightly skewered Macchiarini. Leonid Schneider has been covering Macchiarini’s case for many years and has the full new indictment. 

COVID updates

Stem cell media

Karen Moxon
Professor Karen Moxon.

Stem cell pubs

Blast from the past

A piece from a decade ago on what you might call the “1%” of the research lab world, meaning labs that end up with massive collections of NIH awards like 5 or more R01s. Stem cell monopoly: do not pass go, do not collect $200,000. See image above from that post. The consensus seems to be that the first 1-2 R01s give the most bang from the buck.

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