January 17, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

2 min read

The Obama administration has announced it will “quickly” appeal the ES cell decision, but I’m not hearing anything about a stay on the judge’s order in the meantime or anything like that. It’s quite the opposite. The NIH, in the form of Director Francis Collins, has finally spoken about the federal judge’s ruling that apparently banned federal funding for human ES cell research. Dr. Collins’ statement brings some clarity, but would seem to indicate the most grim interpretation of yesterday’s ruling are turning out to …Read More

3 min read

UPDATE: A second recent study, this one in Nature Genetics has found a novel genetic link between the immune system and Parkinson’s Disease. The authors were screening for genomic variants unique to Parkinson’s patients, finding known ones but also a novel linkage. The link was with the HLA region, known to play a key role in immunity. This study supports the hypothesis that is gathering steam in the field that there is an immune component to PD, specifically an inflammatory aspect to the disease. …Read More

4 min read

UPDATE: I have added more discussion at the bottom about therapeutics and how regenerative medicine might work for Alzheimer’s Disease. Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is the most common cause of dementia throughout the world, affecting 10s of millions of people. The cost to society is staggering and on a personal level for those of us who have had relatives with the disease, the personal fallout is just as enormous.  The last week has seen some very exciting news about research into AD giving more reason …Read More

2 min read

This is the first post in a series focusing on stem cell advances related to specific diseases. Today we discuss Huntington’s Disease and a paper that came out yesterday in the journal Neuron that provides some significant insight into the mechanisms behind the disease. It is entitled: Huntingtin Is Required for Mitotic Spindle Orientation and Mammalian Neurogenesis Huntington’s Disease (HD) is a genetic disorder characterized by progressive neurological problems caused by neurodegeneration. The cause of HD was discovered to be mutations in a gene …Read More

3 min read

Update: Now in 2020 it seems that peer review remains very problematic. The Scientist has a few pieces out on the trouble with peer review including my personal favorite: I Hate Your Paper. That article rings so true as do the quotes from the scientists. Peer review in the stem cell field and the IPS cell subfield in particular is even worse than average. It is not unusual for a reviewer to ask for something simply for the purpose of either killing or delaying a …Read More

5 min read

Regenerative medicine is very exciting. But what’s even better than regenerative medicine? Preventative medicine. If one can prevent a problem for occurring in the first place, it is far better than trying to treat it after the fact. Of course in many cases we do not know the causes of diseases so it is difficult to prevent them. However, many diseases are likely caused by problems with stem cells. Therefore, stem cell research, including the work being done funded by CIRM, is likely to …Read More

3 min read

Update in 2020: It was kind of wild to read this post now so many years later as an “old” professor, seemingly ages from the realm of new PIs (principle investigators). What do you think? You can read more about the current state of our lab here. It’s an exciting feeling coming into a new lab as a new professor. An empty lab has so much potential and one can imagine how one’s lab will look in the future. I walked into my lab …Read More

2 min read

A paper just came out in PNAS entitled “Promotion of direct reprogramming by transformation-deficient Myc“. The main thrust of this paper is that the tumorigenic and pluripotency-related functions of Myc could be separated. It focused primarily on the lesser studied LMyc. The topic of the intertwined good (pluripotency) and bad (tumorigenicity) functions of Myc, addressed in this paper by Yamanaka’s group, is extremely important and interesting. However there are several key open questions that remain. An important issue with this paper is the implication …Read More

2 min read

Update in 2020: Wow, a lot has changed since this post almost 10 years ago, but Cell Stem Cell remains the main publisher of IPS cell articles still. The young iPSC field has published a truly massive number of papers in just 4 years. Searching ISI Web of Knowledge for papers with titles reflecting iPSC research (not just those that mention iPS cells), we find 424 total iPS cell articles from 2006-present. Interestingly, 32 of them (7.5%) were published in a single journal, Cell …Read More

3 min read

Update in 2020: It seems now after all these years that the consensus in the now more mature field is that IPSCs and ESCs are nearly identical in most cases, and both have some of the same translational challenges such as teratoma-forming activity. It’s interesting to read this post from nearly 10 years ago and the concerns that were so intense back then. An important question in the young iPS cell field has been– just how similar these reprogrammed iPS cells are to embryonic …Read More