January 20, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

5 min read

Can hearts repair themselves via their own stem cells? Science evolves Sometimes what we scientists all know to be true turns out later on to be wrong and there are clear instances of this in the stem cell field. For example for decades the dogma was that the adult mammalian brain did not have stem cells, but now most researchers believe that the adult brain does have stem cells, although for humans this is still being debated. What we perceive as factual can change over time. Yamanaka …Read More

2 min read

It’s fitting, given the edginess over the election, that Halloween is falling only a few days before election day so here is a list of recommended stem cell reads for you to dive into some biomedical science. Liver buds from stem cells Generation of human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived liver buds with chemically defined and animal origin-free media, Scientific Reports. In a decade might we have liver transplants based on this technology? If so, it will probably be small structures that are like a …Read More

1 min read

Some scientists, even on Halloween, might be relatively immune to the fear of things that nonetheless freak out many everyday normal people. Brains, powerful lasers, antibiotic resistant genetically-modified bacteria, potent viruses, radioactivity. The list goes on and on. Mutant cells and animals. DNA containing cancer-causing genes. So as Halloween approaches, what does scare the heck out of scientists? Here is my list of the top scariest Halloween costumes to freak the lab coats off of scientists. If you are a scientist you might want to …Read More

6 min read

Last week I wrote a long post detailing the troubling multimillion-dollar reverberations between the Duke autism program and a for-profit stem cell clinic in Panama called The Stem Cell Institute. The potential entanglements between the Duke group and the Panama clinic raise a bunch of questions and concerns. They center on questionable, unproven autism “treatments”. In Duke’s case, their own clinical trial showed there was no benefit, but they forging ahead anyway. Muddy waters This Duke-stem cell clinic situation is a prime example of …Read More

7 min read

IPS cell research is a growing area of promise for regenerative medicine. These stem cells, also known as iPSCs or more formally as Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells, are engineered cells that are programmed to function the same way as embryonic stem cells. They can be differentiated into possibly any type of cell that is needed for therapeutic purposes. Since iPSC production was first reported by Shinya Yamanaka using mouse and human cells in 2006 and 2007, respectively, cells from a whole host of species have …Read More

3 min read

Maybe we can use science as an escape from politics during the last week or so before the election? I hope so. Here are my weekly recommended reads. Several papers ended up relating to nucleus, cell and embryo size and space as well as chromatin, which is very interesting. Cell and chromatin biology pubs, media Vast Self-Renewal Potential of Human AGM Region HSCs Dramatically Declines in the Umbilical Cord Blood, Stem Cell Reports DUSP16 is a regulator of human hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells …Read More

5 min read

CRISPR applications in the real world The “breakthrough” gene-editing tool, CRISPR Cas9, has been utilized for various purposes since its popularization and commercialization in the early 2010s. While possible uses of gene editing in humans tend to get the most attention, the application of CRISPR-Cas9 also encompasses the animal world and the analysis of a multitude of species from common livestock to exotic, wild animals. The use of CRISPR gene-editing in these animals involves constructing animal models for the research of disease mechanisms and …Read More

2 min read

It’s usually a tossup as to whether my weekly reads skew more towards stem cells/regenerative medicine or cancer. Other times they are more enriched for genomics and epigenetics articles. Seeds of cancer in normal skin, Nature News & Views Engineering synthetic morphogen systems that can program multicellular patterning, Science. Pig fat can be used to grow jawbones for humans, Science Mag news piece. Pig fat stem cells can aid in jawbone growth. Here’s the original Science Translational Medicine research pub. Inherited myeloproliferative neoplasm risk …Read More

3 min read

It’s encouraging to see that the states including now Arkansas via their attorney generals (or is it attorneys general?) are taking more action against stem cell clinic firms, but the big scope of AG action has somewhat surprised me. Arkansas AG suit The latest AG action on a stem cell clinic type firm comes from Arkansas. The State AG there has just sued a regenerative clinic there along with people involved in the firm. Here are the core details from the AG announcement, which …Read More

9 min read

There is a puzzle when it comes to the controversial idea of using cord blood for autism, because two of the strongest proponents are the autism cord blood program at Duke and for-profit, unproven stem cell clinics. On first glance it seemed like this was a bit of an odd couple to me. The links between the Duke autism program and one particular Panamanian stem cell clinic called generically enough “The Stem Cell Institute” appear to go beyond just their enthusiasm about cord blood …Read More