January 17, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

3 min read

One question I am frequently asked by readers and colleagues is “what other stem cell blogs or bloggers can you recommend that are written by a stem cell scientist and updated on a regular basis?” The simple but surprising answer: there are none. It’s lonely out here in cyberspace! (2020 update: The good news today is that there are many stem cell blogs out there in total, but unfortunately some are by stem cells clinics or their advocates and not really active ones by …Read More

2 min read

CIRM Board Member, Jeff Sheehy, has a wonderful piece in Nature Medicine on why patient advocates play a critical role in decision making on research priorities (hat tip to Amy Adams who first blogged on Sheehy’s piece). Patient advocates bring a unique and valuable perspective to the table. Their role in guiding CIRM research funding decisions has had a clear impact. Scientists must be advocates too. Traditionally, scientists have not been comfortable acting as advocates, but in the current environment scientists must take action …Read More

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Dr. James Sherley, the scientist behind the lawsuit against federally-funded ES cell research, has penned an opinion piece in The Daily Caller today calling on NIH to, in his words, ‘do the right thing.’ However, what Sherley is really asking is for the NIH, other stem cell scientists, and all Americans to think like he does. In fact, U.S. News and World Report just came out with a poll indicating that 72% of Americans support embryonic stem cell research using lines that remain from …Read More

3 min read

2020 update: This post from almost 10 years ago on the HIV pandemic and particularly the first paragraph ring differently in the context of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus pandemic. Over the last several years, there has been great concern about a possible flu pandemic around the world, but meanwhile the great pandemic of modern history, HIV/AIDS, continues. There are now more than 33 million HIV infected individuals. More than 2 million people have died from HIV infection in 2008 alone, approximately 1 out of …Read More

1 min read

The BLT is reporting that the DC Circuit Appeals Court has sided with the government and has stayed Judge Lamberth’s injunction against ES cell research. Great news! And I’m happy to admit our grim predictions yesterday were wrong. The judges took the action in a  “per curiam” judgement, meaning collectively. So we will not know if there was disagreement between the judges. So now, if I understand correctly the matter moves back to Lamberth’s court. Hopefully he will not issue summary judgement in favor …Read More

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The severe spinal cord injury sustained by Jockey Michael Martinez and the possibility (not realized) that he might be enrolled in Geron’s hESC-based spinal cord regenerative medicine trial, have drawn recent attention to spinal cord injury. Christopher and Dana Reeve (see foundation here) as well as Don C. Reed (see site here) were instrumental in bringing attention to the significance of this injury and the importance of research to help patients with spinal cord injuries. More than 1 million Americans are living with spinal cord …Read More

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In Lewis Carroll’s masterpiece, Alice in Wonderland, there is a wonderful passage that came to mind as I read the latest response from the self-proclaimed ‘adult stem cell researchers’ suing the government to stop federally-funded ES cell research: “I don’t know what you mean by ‘glory,’ ” Alice said. Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. “Of course you don’t—till I tell you. I meant ‘there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!’ ” “But ‘glory’ doesn’t mean ‘a nice knock-down argument’,” Alice objected. “When I use a word,” Humpty …Read More

2 min read

About one in ten people around the world will develop osteoarthritis (OA) at some point in their lives. In the U.S., it is the major cause of disability. This is an extremely serious illness in terms of its impact on society. At this time there is little in the way of effective treatments for OA. Most treatments are designed to reduce pain and enhance function, not address the actual underlying condition. One exception is join replacement surgery such as knee replacement. OA is a …Read More

3 min read

We live in a plastic world, full of BPA. Over the last 1/2 century, the proportion of our food and beverages that are consumed out of plastic containers has skyrocketed. Unfortunately, the concentrations of plastic-related chemicals in people around the world, even in remote corners, has gone up in parallel. I’ve written about avoiding plastic before, but the case grows stronger. There are many toxic chemicals in plastic, but one of the most common and frightening is something called “BPA”, short for bisphenol-A. The …Read More

6 min read

Here an anonymous stem cell scientist frankly answers questions about the field in an interview with me. Of course I have to ask you about the recent U.S. court ruling essentially declaring all federal funding of human ES cell work illegal. What’s your take on this? ANSWER: The ruling has so many flaws in it. It is purely political and the judge was crass. The legal wangling is nauseating. And the impact? ANSWER: For the moment, it is disastrous. Many are not getting the …Read More