The stem cell field has puzzled on and off for years over a constellation of papers on purported stem cells including so-called VSEL and MUSE cells. Many of us haven’t been convinced that these are real stem cells. I see VSEL and MUSE fitting into a larger pattern of dubious stem cell claims including the STAP cell debacle. Now the whole idea of VSEL, which stands for very small embryonic-like stem cells, has taken a big and perhaps final blow. The primary VSEL proponents, the …Read More
There was a time, not so long ago, when the religious right hailed the discovery of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. Headlines blared from the extreme right on the Internet such as, “Embryonic stem cells obsolete”. Even the same kind of thing, saying, “The stem cell debate is dead”. You see opponents of embryonic stem cells (ES cells) figured that the appearance of iPS cells, made from skin rather than blastocysts leftover from IVF, on the scene could be used as a propaganda weapon …Read More
The Vatican 2nd Stem Cell Meeting starts tomorrow and by the looks of the schedule, which was just recently posted, it should be a very interesting adult stem cell meeting. The range of speakers runs from patients to celebrity advocates such as Meredith Vieira to Nobel Laureate Dr. John Gurdon to stellar cancer researcher, Ron DePinho, to many industry speakers. Some great speakers. Some other puzzling choices though. The Catholic New Agency (credit for picture at right) says that a key message is to overcome: the …Read More
The Vatican is still interested in stem cells and after its own debacle with a stem cell meeting planned for 2012 that turned into a scandal for them. For that original 2012 meeting they had wisely invited a full spectrum of stem cell researchers including those working on embryonic stem cells, to have great discussions. As a result of the presence of researchers who work on both adult and embryonic stem cells, the meeting was canceled and was basically a disaster. The Vatican now …Read More
Below is the Vatican letter that would seem to be an unequivocal slap in the face to pro-life extremists and you can find it on the web too here. For whole story of how the Vatican gives these groups like Family Research Council “no credibility whatsoever” read here.
It’s a confusing time at the Vatican, which arguably has an international stem cell scandal of its own making on its hands. What the heck is going on? In an embarrassing move, they organized a stem cell conference for this year and then abruptly cancelled it, with the reason being that they had originally invited a number of prominent embryonic stem cell supporters/researchers to be speakers. There appears to be a huge schism in the Church over stem cells as one faction organized this …Read More
We have another Vatican stem cell meeting coming up this spring. This meeting raises some extremely important questions and complex issues at the interface of science, religion, philosophy and ethics. From the perspective of scientists, an important issue is whether (assuming one is invited) to attend such a meeting and if one does attend, is that action alone making a statement? If big-name scientists attend this meeting are they tacitly giving approval to the Vatican’s extreme stance on stem cells by attending? Or is …Read More
In mid-November the Catholic Church, in fact the Vatican itself, will do something it has never done before in its very long existence. It will hold a conference on stem cells. Perhaps equally unusual and of interest is the fact that the basis for this conference is a $1 million (USD) gamble by the Vatican on a super high-risk biotech company, NeoStem, in support of adult stem cell research. While the Vatican reportedly does not hold actual NeoStem shares, the fact that NeoStem’s stock …Read More