January 17, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

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2 min read

By Jeanne Loring. On Wednesday afternoon at the ISSCR meeting in Boston, Jamie Thomson gave a talk about the history of human pluripotent stem cells. There were probably only a dozen people in the audience of around 3,000 who were working on human ES cells around the same time that Jamie and Joseph Itskovitz-Eldor were collaborating on the first derivation of human ES cells, which was published in 1998.  I found myself laughing (quietly- honest!) at Jamie’s recollections- Mike West approaching him to offer …Read More

8 min read

One of my favorite stem cell scientists is Jeanne Loring of Scripps. She does great science and when you ask her questions, she frankly states her opinions and is clearly a gifted educator at heart too. Below is a Q&A interview I did with Jeanne on key issues of clinical translation of iPS cells. You will see that Jeanne is very optimistic about the eventual clinical use of iPS cell-based medicines. My Qs are bolded and her answers are italicized. Enjoy this Q&A. 1. …Read More

6 min read

When are iPS cell-based therapies ready to be tested in actual people? It’s the million or perhaps even billion dollar question of today in the stem cell field. I realize that perhaps it is also a dangerous question, politically-speaking, for me to ask in a public forum, but patient lives as well as potentially the progress of the entire iPS cell field are at stake. So someone needs to start an open discussion about this topic. People are certainly talking about it behind the …Read More

2 min read

I’ve already talked with science writer Ed Yong about the new Nature paper Araki, et al. (you can read Ed’s well-written piece here and you can another one on it by another one of my favorite writers, Monya Baker here), which suggests that iPS cells don’t trigger much in the way of an immune response. I think the Araki paper is important and encouraging that iPS cell derivative tissues may not be any more immunogenic than those made from ES cells, but it is far …Read More

1 min read

Today the Supreme Court announced it would not hear the Sherley v Sebelius case, ending the court battle that has left embryonic stem cell research (ESCR) in what I’ve called a “big chill”. This is great news. It is all over the mainstream media. Even the rampant anti-science, pro-lifers have declared defeat. I’m not going to link to them, take my word for it they are depressed big time. Don’t count them out yet though as they are smart and powerful as well as …Read More

4 min read

Every year I make predictions about what the following year will bring us in the stem cell field. For example, last year I made some predictions for 2012 and I shortly will do a post on my predictions for 2013. First, how did I do with my predictions for this year, which I made in a post on Dec. 7, 2011? Prediction 10.) Transdifferentiation remains extremely intriguing, but there’s little progress on it. A few more trans-differentiation papers come out in 2012, but no flood …Read More

7 min read

Here on The Niche I’m giving out a Stem Cell Person of the Year Award for 2012 along with all my other annual awards (e.g. best stem cell journal, paper, blog, comic, activist, etc). 2020 update: you can see future winners of the award here. The Person of the Year winner will get recognition for being a difference maker, someone who takes a risk to help others.    The winner also gets $1000 in cash from me.   About 30 people have been nominated, …Read More

3 min read

Advanced Cell Technology (ACT) is well into clinical trials for macular degeneration (the leading cause of blindness) using human embryonic stem cell (hESC)-based retinal pigmented epithelial cells (RPE). To date, the trials suggest the products are safe. Efficacy? We don’t know. I am cautiously hopeful, but it is frustrating to know that most clinical trials fail. Lest you think that ACT is a one trick pony, it is doing a bunch of other interesting stuff too including using induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. Over …Read More

4 min read

The iPS cell field has run fast and furious over the past 6 years reaching a big milestone surprisingly quickly on Monday with Shinya Yamanaka winning the Nobel Prize. But is  the field going too fast? In August I argued that iPS cells are not quite ready for primetime (i.e. clinical trial studies). Now in October I mostly feel the same way. But reportedly, some iPS cell researchers are working to start clinical studies wherein iPS cells would be transplanted into human patients as early as …Read More

2 min read

Advanced Cell Technology (ACT; stock symbol ACTC) announced that it has secured $35 million in funding from investment company, Lincoln Park Capital. The press release quotes CEO Gary Rabin: “We are most pleased about this financing agreement, as it has a number of notable benefits for the company,” commented Gary Rabin, chairman and CEO of ACT. “Lincoln Park Capital is an excellent partner for us with a great track record and a long-term commitment to the life sciences field. This transaction offers the Company …Read More