January 21, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

brain stem cells

2 min read

It’s been a cool week for stem cell and other associated kinds of research. In this post I have a series of links to a variety of interesting developments and papers. Gene therapy cures bubble boy infants. William Wan over at the WaPo on this good news. Nope, this wasn’t done with CRISPR, but rather with a viral transgene approach (not TALENs as I mistakenly had originally written here). “The pigs were dead. But four hours later, scientists restored cellular functions in their brains”. This …Read More

3 min read

In a stunner, Harvard and Brigham & Women’s Hospital reportedly have jointly called for the retraction of 31 papers on heart stem cell research authored by embattled heart stem cell researcher Piero Anversa. The scoop on this by STAT/Retraction Watch written by Ivan Oransky and Adam Marcus gives further details on this mess and past travails of Anversa. He was the prime proponent of the idea of endogenous heart stem cells in adults, but things have gone south since his prime time as a …Read More

3 min read

Can we humans grow healthy new brain cells as adults and during later aging? The answer to this question is a big deal because it could have major impact on aging. Those hoped-for new brain cells could keep our brains functionally younger. Who doesn’t want to slow down the aging of their brain, right? Slowing down aging of the brain via new cell growth more broadly would have major impacts on society. Researchers have gone back and forth on this over years. Fairly long …Read More

5 min read

Is there a stem cell connection between the brain and aging? Could a type of brain stem cell or the exosomes it secretes control whole body aging? A recent big Nature article from the lab of Dongcheng Cai argues an emphatic “Yes” to these questions, at least in mice. In the Zhang, et al paper, entitled “Hypothalamic stem cells control ageing speed partly through exosomal miRNAs”, their team reports the claim that a narrow population of hypothalamic stem cells are directly fighting aging of the …Read More

3 min read

A company called Bioquark reportedly claims it intends to bring back the dead, as in deceased people or at least brain dead people, with stem cells. Or at least awaken their brains. If it works, would those people be like zombies? Is it ethical to experiment in this way on dead people? We first met Bioquark last year when their “reanima” idea got some media buzz and I blogged about my skepticism here. From my 2016 post: “The idea seems to be that injection …Read More

1 min read

Rainbow stem cell clones. From Scientific Reports: NF-kappaΒ-inducing kinase regulates stem cell phenotype in breast cancer. A call for stem cell optimism. How to harvest stem cells from teeth Stem Cell Transplant Startup With Harvard Tech, Magenta Therapeutics, Gets $48.5M Neurogenic Radial Glia-like Cells in Meninges Migrate and Differentiate into Functionally Integrated Neurons in the Neonatal Cortex (from Cell Stem Cell). Researchers Grow Functioning Human Intestines, Nerves Using Stem Cells Stem cell treatments for some kinds of deafness within a decade?

2 min read

There’s been a lot of buzz the last few days about reviving the dead  via stem cells. Is this possible? Who knows, but it would be very long odds. Could it lead to zombies? Not really, but there could be negative outcomes even if it seems to sorta work (more below). Bioquark, Inc. is a biotech company reportedly pursuing the idea of using a combo of lasers and stem cells to bring people back. By dead in this case, we mean people who are brain …Read More

2 min read

In a first for the field, scientists have used human pluripotent stem cells to grow miniature brain-like structures (brain organoids) in a dish in a lab (see beautiful image of one of these “mini-brains” at left from the paper). This exciting, pioneering feat, accomplished by a team from the Austrian Academy of Science in Vienna led by Dr. Juergen Knoblich (see his lab page here), has drawn great attention in the mainstream media such as here at CNN. The paper, which Lancaster, et al., was …Read More

3 min read

Why doesn’t the brain fix itself using stem cells the way other organs do? Earlier this week I was lecturing to students here at UC Davis on stem cells. One of the points I raised was that most if not all of our organs have a compliment of stem cells that are there to maintain the organ and fix it when sick or injured. I also pointed out that although there are stem cells in the brain, surprisingly there is little evidence that these …Read More