September 28, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

STAP cells

2 min read

Retraction Watch broke the news that Haruko Obokata of the STAP cell train wreck now has a 4th paper retraction. The publication related to the controversial idea that adult tissues have pluripotent potential or actual pluripotent stem cells in them so it was kind of foundational for the debunked STAP cell idea. It also reminds me of VSELs and MUSE cells too, which people to this day still publish about without much attention. There could be some retractions related to VSELs and MUSE cells …Read More

3 min read

Once upon a time this blog and major outlets around the world were regularly writing about a Japanese stem cell researcher named Haruko Obokata (小保方 晴子). Whatever happened to Obokata and the other folks directly involved in STAP cell research? First, a bit of background because maybe still a few people never heard of STAP cells and Obokata or forgot the key points behind the controversy. Haruko Obokata became well known because of her research claiming to make pluripotent stem cells like IPS cells without …Read More

4 min read

Something very strange just happened at the journal Nature related to what’s called Muse cells. Kudos to them for dealing with it quickly though. They published an unreviewed research “article” on controversial (perhaps non-existent) stem cells called “Muse cells” that was actually a paid advertisement. After I communicated with the Nature team eventually they ended up pulling down the ad/article as of today. How can a research article be an advertisement? I don’t think it should be possible. An “ad/article”? Of course, research journals run …Read More

2 min read

Haruko Obokata was reportedly questioned by police in Japan today. The questioning relates to the STAP cell scandal that led to the retraction of two Nature papers. As first author of the papers, Obokata and other authors had reported that they could make IPSC-like cells simply via acid or other stress treatment. However, it is now widely believed that the supposed STAP cells were in actuality ES cells (or ES cells mixed with other cell types), and there has been some question over whether …Read More