January 19, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

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

2 min read

I’ve been closely following the arena of stem cells for COVID-19 since the pandemic broke including the efforts of Mesoblast. Mesoblast unlikely to meet primary endpoints in Phase III COVID trial Now, the firm got bad news as its DSMB reported that they are unlikely to meet the primary endpoint for their Phase III trial of their stem cell product for COVID-19 based on preliminary analyses. Mesoblast had set the endpoint as a “43% reduction in mortality at 30 days for treatment with remestemcel-L.” …Read More

4 min read

Approval of Prop 14 California last month to renew CIRM was one of the biggest state election developments of 2020. Yet it didn’t get much news coverage somehow. The exception is David Jensen over at California Stem Cell Report, who has been a great source of information about the various news surrounding Prop 14 and CIRM so check that out. CIRM is having a public meeting today about its future. You are welcome to participate. As Jensen notes, CIRM has a lot of information …Read More

3 min read

What to read when there are almost an endless number of stem cell and regenerative medicine pubs? Here are some suggestions including what I would say is a very unusual Nature paper on making egg cells from stem cells. If this could be done safely with human cells all the way to functional eggs, would you consider stem cell-related fertility treatments to be “Regenerative Medicine”? Regenerative medicine and stem cell pubs Reconstitution of the oocyte transcriptional network with transcription factors, Nature. I’d call this …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

3 min read

Today’s The Niche recommended weekly reads post includes both primary papers and also a few media pieces. I’m especially interested in the first piece on making more complex embryo-like structures from ES cells. This is a long way from just making embryoid bodies or EBs. At the end of the post I discuss an article that highlighted what seems to be a super-pricey new fee-scheme for open access work and review at Nature Publishing. Artificial embryos, bioengineered thymus Mouse embryonic stem cells self-organize into …Read More

6 min read

Would you eat lab grown meat? Envision biting into a warm juicy burger with all the trimmings. Lab grown meat intro If you are a burger fan, your mouth may already be watering. Or maybe you prefer steak or bacon? If you are a vegetarian or animal welfare advocate, however, you might be rather disturbed by this imagery, except that burgers these days even at places like Burger King and McDonald’s are more often not made from cows than in past years. Some vegetarians …Read More

5 min read

I’ve been asked many times over the years if stem cell injections at for-profit clinics can help brain function, but recently the more common query is whether brain supplements such as Prevagen actually work. I’m skeptical of both unproven stem cell injections and supplements that are supposed to somehow help the brain, but some of us have stem cells on the brain and I guess others have jellyfish on the brain. Marketing of brain supplements like Prevagen If you ever turned on your TV …Read More

3 min read

This week we have some interesting new reading including both on the stem cell basic and translational fronts as well as on COVID-19 vaccines. COVID-19 vaccine considerations From Derek Lowe at In The Pipeline on COVID-19 vaccine expectations at Science Translational Medicine, Get Ready for False Side Effects. You can read my views on possible side effects of RNA-based COVID-19 vaccines, which I conclude are low or hypothetical. Stem cell tinkering and aging From Heidi Ledford at Nature, Reversal of biological clock restores vision …Read More