January 24, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

embryonic stem cells

3 min read

With stem cells for vision loss, first we want to be sure a treatment won’t make things worse. Several teams around the globe are rigorously studying stem cell-based approaches to vision loss via regulatory-compliant studies including for macular degeneration with some results cautiously upbeat on safety from early phase analyses, but data from a new study on the use of human embryonic stem cell (hESC)-derived retinal pigmented epithelial cells (RPEs) for macular degeneration are concerning in some ways. The paper in the AAO Journal from a …Read More

2 min read

Over the years, the Vatican has expressed interest and even invested money in the adult stem cell field. Not surprisingly, they’ve also been critical of embryonic stem cell research. Interestingly their own stem cell meetings have at times stimulated heated debate for various reasons and one was even cancelled with at least part of the reason related to embryonic stem cell research.

2 min read

What does a stem cell word cloud tell us about the field? Word clouds are fun and informative ways to do textual data mining. I’ve done some in the past that have providing penetrating looks at science including at the whole field of science in 2014. What has the stem cell field overall been focusing on lately? I turned to a word cloud to figure it out from the thousands of articles out there. Above is a word cloud made from all the titles of 2015 …Read More

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A new human therapeutic cloning paper is out today, the third in a matter of months. This one is from the lab group of Dr. Dieter Egli published in Nature demonstrating production of nuclear transfer embryonic stem cells (NT-ESCs) from an adult human somatic donor via somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT). This human SCNT paper follows on the heels of a similar paper (Chung, et al.) from Bob Lanza’s group published in Cell Stem Cell and the pioneering Mitalipov human SCNT paper (Tachibani, et al.) …Read More

3 min read

When you want to both know the real history of the pluripotent stem cell-based biotech industry and perspectives on its future, there are only a handful of people to turn to and one of them is definitely Dr. Michael West, CEO of BioTime. I’m doing a several part series of blog posts on a lengthy phone interview and conversation that I had with West. Today in Part 2 we are focused on clinical development of human ES cells and what happened with Geron. You …Read More

2 min read

One of the most common myths is that stem cells are a zero sum game. What’s a zero sum game? It’s a dynamic where the overall good in a given situation or system stays the same. What this means is that in a zero sum game, if something is good for one person, it must be bad for someone else because the overall net situation does not change. There are real zero sum games in life, but the stem cell field is not one …Read More

3 min read

An interesting paper just came out in PNAS reporting the apparent presence of pluripotent stem cells in the adult breast. The paper is Roy, et al. and is from Thea Tlsty’s outstanding lab at UCSF. I have read the paper and it seems very solid technically to me. The finding has stimulated some powerful metaphors. For example, The San Francisco Business Journal called the paper an “Earthquake” for the field. I have asked some leaders in the field behind the scenes for their impressions …Read More

1 min read

The buzz topic in the stem cell field right now is whether the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) will take up the Sherley v Sebelius (S v S) case over the legality of federal funding of embryonic stem cell research in the U.S. The SCOTUS decision as to whether to hear the S v S should come tomorrow (Monday). I’ve predicted that the SCOTUS will take a pass on the case. The reality is that it could go either way even if I’m hopeful it’ll …Read More

2 min read

Every year around this time I put my “best of” the year in stem cells including awards such as my Stem Cell Person of the Year Award. For example here are the 2011 awards. This year I’m also trying with difficult to decide on what was the craziest thing for stem cells that happened in 2012. It was a freakin’ crazy year so I have 4 options and am curious of your thoughts so take the poll below if you want. Here are my …Read More

3 min read

Advanced Cell Technology (ACT) is well into clinical trials for macular degeneration (the leading cause of blindness) using human embryonic stem cell (hESC)-based retinal pigmented epithelial cells (RPE). To date, the trials suggest the products are safe. Efficacy? We don’t know. I am cautiously hopeful, but it is frustrating to know that most clinical trials fail. Lest you think that ACT is a one trick pony, it is doing a bunch of other interesting stuff too including using induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. Over …Read More