January 23, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

et al.

6 min read

In a new, thought-provoking paper today in Nature, Shoukhrat Mitalipov and a multi-institutional team report a significant advance toward potential novel ways to treat mitochondrial diseases. What are these illnesses? Mitochondrial diseases are rare, but devastating disorders caused by genetic mutations. Today they are largely impossible to treat in meaningful ways other than palliative care. Some of the mutations causing these diseases are in nuclear DNA, while others are in the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). The main current approach to prevention is preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) …Read More

2 min read

It was great being a postdoc in Bob Eisenman’s Lab at the Hutch in Seattle. I loved it.  Bob is a great mentor (see more on my experience there here) and the scientific interactions in the lab were wonderful. It’s been fun and interesting to follow the work of my fellow former Eisenman lab members over the years. For example, another former postdoc from the Eisenman lab, Shaun Cowley, has a lab that is doing some exciting research on the role of histone deacetylase (HDACs) in …Read More

3 min read

An international team of stem cell scientists has replicated human therapeutic cloning to make embryonic stem cells via somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT). The team was led by Drs. Dong Ryul Lee of CHA Stem Cell Institute in Korea and Robert Lanza of Advanced Cell Technology (ACT) and reported the advance in the Chung, et al. paper today in the journal Cell Stem Cell entitled “Human Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer Using Adult Cells”. The cells expressed pluripotency markers (see Figure 1A at left) and …Read More

6 min read

Advanced Cell Technology (ACT; $ACTC) has a new paper out on using human embryonic stem cells (hESC) to make MSCs with potentially powerful therapeutic potential. The paper, entitled Mesenchymal stem cell population derived from human pluripotent stem cells displays potent immunomodulatory and therapeutic properties, was published in the journal Stem Cells and Development. What’s the scoop on this paper and this area of adult stem cell preclinical/clinical research? It’s an interesting, notable paper. At the same time there are some areas in the paper that could have been …Read More

4 min read

Two of my favorite things are stem cells and histones. When they both come together in one paper and it’s in my favorite journal, Cell Stem Cell, you’ve got my full attention. My own lab is especially interested in the roles of histones and Myc in stem cells. So when I saw a paper a paper from a team lead by Shunsuke Ishii at RIKEN on the roles of histones TH2A and TH2B (variants of H2A and H2B), I thought it was very cool. The paper …Read More

3 min read

Back-to-back papers (here and here) in Nature Biotechnology report the transdifferentiation (now often simply referred to as “direct reprogramming”) of plain old fibroblasts into brain cells called oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs). OPCs are a remarkably useful kind of brain cell that generates myelin, which insulates nerves. OPCs are thought to have great therapeutic potential for a number of pathological conditions including Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and spinal cord injury (SCI). The two teams included one from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine led by Paul …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