January 25, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

3-person IVF

4 min read

The FDA sent a stern letter today to Dr. John Zhang, PhD, MD, the physician who last year created a genetically modified human embryo in the U.S. and then exported it to Mexico where he self-reported creating a genetically modified baby boy. While the genetically modified baby created in Mexico was reportedly seemingly OK, it’s not clear what kind of health issues he might face in the future and I haven’t seen much data on him. I believe his parents subsequently declined to have him participate …Read More

6 min read

Are designer babies made using CRISPR or other genetic modification technologies closer to reality today? If so, what exactly should we do about it? Researchers can use CRISPR to genetically modify just about any organism or its cells, but targeting humans is the subject of the most intense discussion including using CRISPR in the human germline for heritable “editing” or genetic modification of humans. This could in theory be done via human embryos or human germ cells with mostly existing technology. CRISPR studies on healthy human …Read More

3 min read

Each year I make a list of predictions for the stem cell and regenerative medicine field for the coming new year. Later in this post I list my top 20 stem cell predictions for 2017. In looking at my past predictions I realized this will now be my 7th year doing stem cell/regenerative medicine yearly predictions. You can see below links to these predictions for past years, which sometimes seems rather far removed from today and in other cases strike me as strangely apropos of …Read More

3 min read

Below are the 2016 stem cell predictions I made last year and their status now color-coded near year’s end. Green is right, orange is mixed bag, and red is flat out wrong. Overall, I did better than most past years with only having entirely blown it on four. Stay tuned later this week for my 2017 predictions, which looks to be a dramatic year in the field of stem cells and regenerative medicine. The Score Card on 2016 Predictions Another stem cell biotech acquisition by pharma …Read More

4 min read

Today we got the first report of a baby being born via so-called “3-person IVF”, sometimes called 3-parent IVF, in which the DNA of three people contribute to an offspring. Before discussing this further I have to emphasize that we need proof that this is indeed really a 3-person IVF baby via genetic testing. Until that data is released publicly we should all be cautious on this news. Apparently the clinic plans to present such data later. Assuming it is a 3-person IVF baby, which …Read More

3 min read

Was an intensely hyped Nature paper connected to the subsequent knighthood for one of the authors just two days after publication? It’s hard to imagine there isn’t a connection and such a link is bad news for biomedical science. Professor Doug Turnbull and fellow UK authors published a Nature paper a few days ago that reinforced a safety concern about 3-person IVF/mitochondrial replacement. The same safety issue had also been raised by an earlier paper by a different team. However, some of the authors of the new …Read More

3 min read

Today a new Nature paper from Dr. Mary Herbert’s group in the UK has found a key problem with mitochondrial replacement therapy that fits with data from others. The goal of preventing mitochondrial disease using various kinds of genome transfer technologies is a noble one, but mitochondrial replacement therapy has faced a number of technological challenges including perhaps most prominently the carryover and subsequent amplification of diseased mitochondria. This mitochondrial replacement carryover issue was clearly defined in an excellent recent Cell Stem Cell paper …Read More

3 min read

Some stuff on my mind for our TGIF Science this week. Research Funding Ups: NIH. Is it my imagination or is NIH funding slightly improving? This is the overall vibe I’m hearing from the trenches. Research Funding Ups and Downs: CIRM.  CIRM funded some basic research to the tune of a total of $4 million, which is great. On a personal level, just wish my “great idea” had fared better in review there. Kind of a downer, but after a while you get a …Read More

5 min read

An important new Cell Stem Cell paper from Dieter Egli’s lab points to an inherent, serious problem with so-called 3-person IVF or mitochondrial replacement technology that warrants putting an immediate hold on all efforts to use it in humans. I have pasted the graphical abstract from the paper below. For years a few of us scientists and policy groups have argued strongly that this experimental technology is far too risky to try in humans for reproductive efforts in the near future. There were simply not enough …Read More

23 min read

Editor’s note. Caroline Simons attended both the April 28th (see her report on that here) and 29th Paris meetings on human gene editing/genetic modification. Today, we have her in depth report on the April 29th meeting. I have posted her piece in full with only minor edits. If you are in a rush you can skip to the last page for Caroline’s top 10 takeaways from the meeting. By Caroline Simons The meeting of NAS and NAM which took place in Paris on 29 …Read More