Weekly reads: our new brain tumor paper, levitation, dear doctor, Japan, more

brain tumor, H3.3 K27M, ASCL1

There’s nothing quite like getting a new paper out as a scientist running a research lab so this week we can celebrate our new pediatric brain tumor study. I’ll start the weekly reads with that paper. Of course, getting new grants is amazing too but there’s more of a feel of completion after a paper …

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Thoughts on death of stem cell clinic leader Dr. Mark Berman

Elliot-Lander-and-Mark-berman-300x2331

Over the past dozen years as I’ve written about stem cell clinics here on The Niche I’ve gotten to know many of those running the clinics including Dr. Mark Berman of Beverly Hills. It was therefore kind of a shock to learn that Berman died of last month. Michael Hiltzik of the LA Times reported …

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Overplaying N=1 in the stem cell therapy world

stem cell therapy, star patient

The regular emails and phone calls I get from patients asking questions about stem cell therapy are a powerful reminder of the fact that research in our field can be very personal. Sometimes individuals who receive experimental stem cell therapy (or other cell therapies) and seem to have a positive outcome can end up becoming …

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Weekly reads: neural stem cells, CRISPR brain, Vertex, cytoplasm surprise

neural stem cells

Some people consider the brain to be equivalent to a living computer and in that sense it’s too bad that computers don’t have the equal of neural stem cells to help them fix themselves. Is the internet one big neural network-like web? There was a quake in the stem cell internet as CIRM’s main website …

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Nature paper claims young CSF fights brain aging in mice

old mice get young CSF

A new Nature paper argues that young CSF fights brain aging. Young CSF vs. young blood CSF is the cerebrospinal fluid that surrounds the brain, including those of young mice. The claim is that when young CSF is injected into the brain/CNS cavity of old mice, it makes the aged brains seem younger. And function …

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Google ads policy change to allow unproven cell & gene therapy educational material

Google ads policy, stem cell therapies

A planned change to the Google ads policy will allow some ads for unproven cell and gene therapies. This shift, allowing educational ads, was just announced. I have a few concerns about this change that will start in July. Google ads policy and stem cells This move seems to be a refinement of their “ad ban” policy …

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Weekly reads: Vertex hold, new type of cell division in fish, CAR-T

zebrafish cell division

I remember the first time I ever witnessed human cell division first hand and it was really excitement. I was working as a part-time tech in the Lane Lab at UC San Diego School of Medicine. We studied heart disease and grew human umbilical cord endothelial cell cultures. It was striking to see a plate …

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End of FDA “grace period” impacted perinatal cell therapy biotechs

knot in umbilical cord, perinatal cell therapy

If there’s one area of biologics where the FDA has been consistently busy lately it’s the perinatal cell therapy space. The agency has made it clear in the last year that allogeneic birth-related cell products are often drugs requiring premarket approval. This has mainly manifested at a practical enforcement level. We’ve seen actions taken in …

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Review of Peter Diamandis Fountain Life clinics: more than stem cell hype?

Fountain Life Peter Diamandis featured

Many of you readers know tech guru Peter Diamandis for his great X PRIZE, but he’s also involved in the regenerative medicine world including a new effort called Fountain Life. Teaming up with life coach Tony Robbins and others for Fountain Life raises some red flags for me. What’s in this article Peter Diamandis and …

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Weekly science reads: Macchiarini trial, somites, CRISPR babies

organoids with somites, cool science

This has been one of those weeks where I spent some time thinking about taking risks in science. How much risk one should take? Risks can come in many forms. It could be at the core level at the bench doing specific experiments and not others. There’s risk in clinical trials, and even in advocacy. Sometimes …

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