August 15, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

4 min read

Why is former Texas Governor/Trump Energy Secretary Rick Perry plugging unproven stem cells from a clinic firm called Celltex for COVID-19 prevention on Fox News? Perry follows in Giuliani’s footsteps? And more generally, what is it with conservative politicians promoting unproven therapies for COVID-19 and in particular stem cells for the novel coronavirus disease? First, we had Rudy Giuliani plugging what he called “stem cells” for COVID-19 on his webcast. This actually turned out to be natural killer (NK) cells, which are not stem …Read More

6 min read

Three new studies reported in preprints all show severe DNA damage to human embryos from CRISPR a surprisingly high percentage of the time including in some cases loss of heterozygosity (LOH). Anywhere from about a quarter to half of CRISPR’d embryos exhibited major genome damage. As readers of The Niche know, I never was a fan of the idea of doing CRISPR on human embryos for reproductive use, although I have been supportive of limited, thoughtful in vitro gene-editing studies on human embryos. The …Read More

4 min read

Katie Thomas at the New York Times reports that BARDA has dropped considering funding applications for stem cells for COVID-19. The move is part of a larger shift in funding priorities away from lung treatments and toward vaccine development. The decision has puzzled and even angered some stem cell firms and researchers. BARDA stands for Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority. It has become a core decision maker related to funding for COVID-19. The BARDA shift can be found in a few notices such …Read More

3 min read

Organoids are providing a novel avenue into the pathogenesis of COVID-19 and novel models for drug screening. A number of new preprints on respiratory organoids shed new light in this area. They were highlighted in a Nature newsy piece, Mini organs reveal how the coronavirus ravages the body. It’s a challenge to study COVID-19 infections because just infecting 2D cultures of various respiratory cells in a dish doesn’t necessarily tell you all you need to know about what goes on in the patient. While 3D organoids aren’t …Read More