November 27, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

Duke autism

The Duke Autism Program has been studying cord blood cells for autism for many years, but their own studies and those clinical trials by others have not found any evidence that cord blood helps autism. Nonetheless the Duke team continues their experiments on children and there are concerns about the source of their funding. I’m also concerned about their possible entanglements with a for-profit stem cell clinic in Panama.

3 min read

The COVID-19 pandemic is tearing through the country right as we are starting into the holiday season, but the wheels of science including cell biology keep going and we keep reading all the great work. What news or papers caught your eye? Here are some of the things I have on my list of reading. Also, check out our most-read topic here on The Niche of the last month or so in two posts here and here digging into what I see as Duke’s cord …Read More

6 min read

Last week I wrote a long post detailing the troubling multimillion-dollar reverberations between the Duke autism program and a for-profit stem cell clinic in Panama called The Stem Cell Institute. The potential entanglements between the Duke group and the Panama clinic raise a bunch of questions and concerns. They center on questionable, unproven autism “treatments”. In Duke’s case, their own clinical trial showed there was no benefit, but they forging ahead anyway. Muddy waters This Duke-stem cell clinic situation is a prime example of …Read More

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

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