January 15, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

Embryonic stem cells

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

8 min read

We often talk about stem cells but there are some pretty basic, important questions that often go unanswered like ‘where do stem cells come from?’ The Niche It’s a more complicated and interesting question than you might think, and some of the answers point to novel ways in which stem cells may be used to treat human diseases. Note that if you are looking for information in a language other than English, my stem cell outreach pages have key facts about stem cells in …Read More

4 min read

Are Trump and the Republican Party showing major hypocrisy over Trump’s use of experimental COVID-19 therapies in part developed by Regeneron using embryonic and fetal cells? The Internet is kind of blowing up over this. Trump’s collision with stem cells For example, people are directly confronting Trump on Twitter over his recent all caps tweet about voting pro-life (see below) despite using the Regeneron experimental therapy for his COVID-19, which again used cells that the GOP opposes. Note that while it’s hard to be …Read More

4 min read

We kind of take for granted these days that embryonic stem cell research can proceed without any restrictions, at least at the federal level. However, in the early days of blogging here on The Niche the big debate and battle were over federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. Things got very complicated and for a time the funding was illegal. We should learn from this science history because things could easily go back to that restrictive atmosphere again. Science is not in a …Read More

3 min read

By Jeanne Loring A stem cell anniversary: 18 years ago today that the US initiated funding of human embryonic stem cell research. August 9, 2001 was a big day for me.  George W. Bush was the US president, and it was an understatement to say that I was not very fond of his policies; but that day he defined my career for the next 18 years. That day Bush gave an 11-minute speech (see Youtube of the video below) at his Texas ranch that …Read More

3 min read

Here we go again with people trying to ban funding of embryonic stem cell research. Really? Yes, including according to a new article from the Catholic News Agency. Who is trying to get this ban? Some Republicans in The U.S. Senate. I’ve wondered for years if the Trump Administration might take action against embryonic stem cell research in part because of the views of VP Mike Pence. But for a long time nothing has happened. I don’t know if the senators mentioned in the …Read More

2 min read

In this post I list some recent interesting stem cell and science pubs including artificial human embryo research. Engineered human embryo research continues. Scientists for years have been advancing the types of embryo-like structures made from both human and other creature’s cells. In a new Nature Cell Bio pub entitled, “A 3D model of a human epiblast reveals BMP4-driven symmetry breaking”, a team led by Eric Siggia pushed this further. See an image from the paper I’ve included that shows signs of the primitive …Read More

3 min read

With stem cells for vision loss, first we want to be sure a treatment won’t make things worse. Several teams around the globe are rigorously studying stem cell-based approaches to vision loss via regulatory-compliant studies including for macular degeneration with some results cautiously upbeat on safety from early phase analyses, but data from a new study on the use of human embryonic stem cell (hESC)-derived retinal pigmented epithelial cells (RPEs) for macular degeneration are concerning in some ways. The paper in the AAO Journal from a …Read More

4 min read

What happens following pluripotent stem cell transplants into the brain? Are human IPS and ES cells going to function similarly in this context? We recently published a new translational paper on the behavior of human pluripotent stem cells when transplanted into the adult mouse brain in collaboration with my great UC Davis colleague, Dr. Veronica Martinez-Cerdeno. Martinez-Cerdeno V, Barrilleaux B, McDonough A, Ariza J, Yuen B, Somanath P, Le C, Steward C, Horton K, Knoepfler P. Behavior of xeno-transplanted undifferentiated human induced pluripotent stem cells is …Read More

2 min read

Four or five years ago the top stem cell story was the battle over federal funding of human embryonic stem (ES) cell research in the U.S. by James Sherley and Theresa Deisher. They were the two opponents of ES cell research making the most national headlines. Nature did a whole piece back then on Deisher entitled The Crusader (see image above). They filed a lawsuit trying to stop that funding based on their own moral beliefs and for a short time NIH was unable …Read More