September 22, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

Duke autism

7 min read

A solid new, blinded placebo-controlled Phase II study from a Duke team clearly shows no benefit of cord blood for autism. Surprisingly, the team has said they are encouraged by the results. As a result, they apparently will continue this kind of work anyway despite their data. In contrast, I see the data as a probable stop sign. Few have been as upbeat over the years as this Duke team about the idea of cord blood for autism spectrum disorder. I have been one …Read More

7 min read

Amongst all that is bouncing around within the stem cell clinic maelstrom out there, one thing stands out for me as the most troubling. I’m talking about for-profit experimentation on children, such as injection of kids with unproven stem cells for autism or cerebral palsy by unproven clinics. In my opinion it’s almost always going to be risky and unethical. Doing any clinical research on children requires extra care and planning even within an FDA-approved clinical trial context. Obviously pediatric clinical trials are crucial, …Read More

6 min read

Stem cells for autism? After watching this area for many years, I’m not sure there’s any “there there”. There are logical reasons to think that certain stem cells might help many specific diseases, but in my view autism isn’t likely to be one of them. I hope I’m wrong, but today at least in 2018, it’s not looking promising. To be clear, I’m not talking about indirectly using stem cells for non-clinical trial research to provide conceptual and translational insights into autism spectrum disorder, …Read More

4 min read

When patient families reach out to me, one of the most common questions is whether stem cells for autism offer real hope. The short answer at this time remains “no”. Of course, it’s not as simple as just “no” because there isn’t enough data to be sure, but there is reason for major skepticism about the use of stem cells for autism. I’ve covered this topic a number of times over the years because patients and families want to know and because it is …Read More