January 17, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

Search Results for: totipotent

4 min read

Sometimes patients or my students ask me, “What are the best stem cells?” what information are they looking for? I think they often are looking for the most powerful stem cells so perhaps they should be asking, “What are totipotent stem cells?” Other times it seems what patients specifically want to know is what might be the best stem cells for their particular condition. The answer to that is, of course, going to depend on many factors. I’m a long-time stem cell biologist so …Read More

4 min read

Sometimes on The Niche or while teaching students as a professor here at UC Davis School of Medicine, I’ve been asked: What is a teratoma? Not all tumors are created equal and some like teratomas are particularly unusual. Exactly what is a teratoma? Teratomas are germ cell tumors. What this means is that the cells that gave rise to the tumor in the first place were a powerful stem cell called a “germ cell”.  Normally, germ cells make reproductive cells including sperm and eggs. …Read More

2 min read

Haruko Obokata is most well-known for her role as first author of the now retracted two STAP cell Nature papers. These manuscripts claimed to have made pluripotent and even totipotent stem cells simply by stressing cells out with acid treatment or in other ways. Nobody else could get this method to work to create the so-called STAP cells. It was an all around scientific disaster and I don’t know anyone who believes that STAP cells are real, but Obokata and another one of her mentors, …Read More

2 min read

Ready for some stem cell good news? It can be difficult at times in a cutting edge field like stem cells in terms of keeping upbeat about hopes of rapid translation to help patients with real, proven therapies. It takes a long time, money, dedication, and even a bit of luck for the researchers and biotech companies out there. It’s a challenging path with many possible roadblocks and landmines. For instance, I recently wrote about how many stem cell stocks are not doing well. …Read More

3 min read

The STAP cell mess that began in January of this year has in some ways quieted down. In a broader sense, I believe that STAP is now and will be in the future viewed as a scandal that revealed some less than ideal aspects to the world of biomedical science and publishing. Where does this all stand today? A New STAP-Like Paper? The most recent development is the publication of a new paper pointed out by a number of people to me as perhaps STAP-like. …Read More

2 min read

Nikkei is reporting that the RIKEN internal attempt to replicate so-called STAP (acid bath) cells has failed. Update: apparently, although RIKEN calls the efforts preliminary, the team tried to make STAP an amazing 22 times and 22 times it failed. The rumors for weeks in the stem cell gapevine that RIKEN itself could not get STAP to work, even with the help of Dr. Haruko Obokata, have been confirmed by Nikkei. Obokata was first author on both Nature STAP papers, which were retracted. One of …Read More

3 min read

A paper has been published reporting that repeated attempts to make so-called “acid bath stem cells” have failed. At the end of January it was claimed in two Nature papers that a mild acid treatment created pluripotent or even totipotent stem cells that that the authors termed “STAP cells” or “STAP stem cells” (collectively referred to here as “STAP cells” in this post). I reviewed the papers here on the blog when they came out and raised key questions about them. Since that time …Read More

4 min read

The Vacanti Lab at Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School has now posted online their own version of the STAP cell production protocol. The thing that first struck me most strongly about this published protocol is that it is not the same protocol reported in the Nature papers and it also is not the same as the recently posted RIKEN STAP protocol. What the heck? Given that the two STAP papers were just published 7 weeks in Nature, how can there already be so …Read More

4 min read

A small group of the STAP authors via RIKEN have now released a detailed protocol also available at Nature Protocol Exchange for making STAP stem cells entitled “Essential technical tips for STAP cell conversion culture from somatic cells”. This comes about 5 weeks after publication of their Nature STAP stem cell papers. 2020 update: With the 4th and perhaps final Obokata paper retraction this year, is the STAP saga finally over? Drs. Obokata, Sasai, and Niwa have added more detail to this protocol compared to the methods …Read More

2 min read

Today may be a turning point in the STAP stem cell story. Nature itself opened up in a newsy piece about the events that have occurred in the past couple weeks since they published two related papers on acid/other stimulus-induced powerful pluripotent or totipotent stem cells (aka STAP stem cells). Update: Science also published a news piece on STAP. All around the world scientists have been trying to get STAP-like methods to work for the past couple weeks. To help I started a STAP stem …Read More