January 23, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

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

4 min read

Fact checking vaginal rejuvenation with stem cells When you read marketing terms like “stem cell treatment for sexual enhancement” or more specifically stem cells for “vaginal rejuvenation” what comes to mind? And are stem cell treatments a viable option for vaginal rejuvenation or sexual enhancement? So far, the data do not clearly back up this approach as both safe and definitely effective. Nonetheless there is a vast amount of marketing in this area. Also, the number of publications on regenerative approaches to female sexual …Read More

3 min read

Even in COVID times the FDA continues its stepped-up efforts against stem cell clinics and patients are suing clinics more too, which I cover in today’s post along with recommended stem cell research pubs. One of the papers at the top of my to-read list is on 3D chromatin in stem cells. FDA Warning Letter to Vibrant Health Care stem cell clinic on COVID-19 From the FDA letter to Edgar Suter, MD: “The FDA has observed that you offer an umbilical cord derived cellular product …Read More

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How should we view biohackers and their DIY use of CRISPR outside of the traditional industry or academic lab environment? Introduction to “Biohackers” and DIY CRISPR Who are biohackers exactly? They are people who “hack” their own biology by transforming their bodies through the insertion of technology or modification of their DNA. More rarely, biohackers hack other people’s bodies, but that could change and become more common. In recent years, with the strides made in CRISPR technology, biohacking in genome modification has garnered much …Read More

3 min read

The COVID-19 pandemic is tearing through the country right as we are starting into the holiday season, but the wheels of science including cell biology keep going and we keep reading all the great work. What news or papers caught your eye? Here are some of the things I have on my list of reading. Also, check out our most-read topic here on The Niche of the last month or so in two posts here and here digging into what I see as Duke’s cord …Read More

4 min read

I’m not a virologist, but I’m still getting asked these days about what the risks might be from the new generation of RNA vaccines for COVID-19. Approaching this question instead as a biologist and genetics/genomics researcher, I can see a handful of at least hypothetical risks. Below I discuss these possible risks and why I’m generally not so concerned. Barring some new worrisome data, I’m planning to get a COVID-19 vaccine when the time comes that it’s available to me. The early data suggests …Read More

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Americans eat tens of millions of turkeys each year on Thanksgiving, but what the heck is a turkey really? It’s a heckuva of strange bird, isn’t it? They are so big my 110-lb dog Mica won’t go after them. Also, this year during the pandemic we may be eating a lot less turkey collectively so I wonder what will happen to all those especially large turkeys out on farms? Live another year? Here in Davis, CA we have a huge population of wild ones …Read More

3 min read

There have been many other interesting scientific and specifically regenerative medicine developments and papers this past week including with CIRM and exciting CIRM funding to UC Davis so read on, but first a somewhat random question: are you more of a cat person or dog person? I’d say I’m both. But our big dog is not a fan of cats so I have to get my random cat time in on walks if I happen to run into a cat. I crossed paths with …Read More

4 min read

After all this time writing on The Niche here since 2010, I still haven’t entirely resolved certain blogging dilemmas including when a patient discloses something. It’s kind of a jungle out there on the internet. What kinds of tough blogging dilemmas do I face? I’m just going to give you some examples of the more common ones in this post. Patient disclosures & accusations Privacy. One dilemma that still feels like it needs more concrete approaches on my end is when patients publicly disclose things …Read More