September 22, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

3 min read

We live in a plastic world, full of BPA. Over the last 1/2 century, the proportion of our food and beverages that are consumed out of plastic containers has skyrocketed. Unfortunately, the concentrations of plastic-related chemicals in people around the world, even in remote corners, has gone up in parallel. I’ve written about avoiding plastic before, but the case grows stronger. There are many toxic chemicals in plastic, but one of the most common and frightening is something called “BPA”, short for bisphenol-A. The …Read More

6 min read

Here an anonymous stem cell scientist frankly answers questions about the field in an interview with me. Of course I have to ask you about the recent U.S. court ruling essentially declaring all federal funding of human ES cell work illegal. What’s your take on this? ANSWER: The ruling has so many flaws in it. It is purely political and the judge was crass. The legal wangling is nauseating. And the impact? ANSWER: For the moment, it is disastrous. Many are not getting the …Read More

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