October 27, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

Autism

9 min read

There is a puzzle when it comes to the controversial idea of using cord blood for autism, because two of the strongest proponents are the autism cord blood program at Duke and for-profit, unproven stem cell clinics. On first glance it seemed like this was a bit of an odd couple to me. The links between the Duke autism program and one particular Panamanian stem cell clinic called generically enough “The Stem Cell Institute” appear to go beyond just their enthusiasm about cord blood …Read More

2 min read

A few times a month I do a recommended reads kind of post on more than just stem cells, which people seem to appreciate as a condensed list of new science and medicine. Scientists might ask each other, “what’s in your to-read list?” rather than “what’s in your wallet?” Here are some of the things I’m hoping to get to in coming days or have already taken a look at that seem worth a read. If you want to see last week’s reads here …Read More

7 min read

A solid new, blinded placebo-controlled Phase II study from a Duke team clearly shows no benefit of cord blood for autism. Surprisingly, the team has said they are encouraged by the results. As a result, they apparently will continue this kind of work anyway despite their data. In contrast, I see the data as a probable stop sign. Few have been as upbeat over the years as this Duke team about the idea of cord blood for autism spectrum disorder. I have been one …Read More

7 min read

Amongst all that is bouncing around within the stem cell clinic maelstrom out there, one thing stands out for me as the most troubling. I’m talking about for-profit experimentation on children, such as injection of kids with unproven stem cells for autism or cerebral palsy by unproven clinics. In my opinion it’s almost always going to be risky and unethical. Doing any clinical research on children requires extra care and planning even within an FDA-approved clinical trial context. Obviously pediatric clinical trials are crucial, …Read More