January 22, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

Haruko Obokata

2 min read

Retraction Watch broke the news that Haruko Obokata of the STAP cell train wreck now has a 4th paper retraction. The publication related to the controversial idea that adult tissues have pluripotent potential or actual pluripotent stem cells in them so it was kind of foundational for the debunked STAP cell idea. It also reminds me of VSELs and MUSE cells too, which people to this day still publish about without much attention. There could be some retractions related to VSELs and MUSE cells …Read More

4 min read

Could He Jiankui have faked part or all of his CRISPR babies story? If so, how? Why? Or to put it another way, almost everyone seems to be assuming the story is real, but should we be more skeptical? Should we flip things around and assume the story isn’t entirely kosher until proven otherwise? I once said that the CRISPR field feels like it moves in dog years (very fast!) Consistent with that warp speed, the last 2 weeks have felt more like months. In …Read More

2 min read

The Japanese public broadcasting system, NHK, has been accused by scientist Haruko Obokata of violating her human rights. Obokata was the primary researcher involved in the STAP cell fiasco in which two ultimately retracted Nature papers contained duplicated, plagiarized, and manipulated data. She was certainly not the only researcher on those papers, but overall she has been accused of having the most central role in the STAP problems. Obokata left RIKEN late in 2014. During the height of the STAP cell mess the Japanese …Read More

1 min read

I’ve seen many crazy things over the years doing this blog. There was the Moriguchi IPS cell fraud, the electric stem cell bra, the stem cell supermodel case, the stem cell soup No. 7 aphrodisiac, the STAP cell scandal….and the craziness goes on. Today there’s a new one that even surprised me. Haruko Obokata, lead STAP cell author, has now entered the online game world, although it seems not of her own choosing. The Asahi Shimbun reports that a new character in the video game Star …Read More

3 min read

The Japanese research institute RIKEN has come full circle in a way on the STAP cell scandal. Note that the STAP papers included not only authors from RIKEN, but also from Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School. With its final report released today (also a powerpoint of images were released including the one showing a figure posted here of reportedly made up data published in a STAP paper), RIKEN seems to now have handled this complicated mess in a relatively rigorous, scientific manner that …Read More

1 min read

Signaling a nightmare ending to what was originally a fairy tale scientific story, the Japanese press (e.g. here) are reporting that Haruko Obokata has herself been unable to make STAP cells again as part of a RIKEN team testing STAP under watchful supervision. In advance of a scheduled RIKEN press conference tomorrow, newspapers including Asahi Shimbun are reporting now that RIKEN will announce STAP was not replicated even with the involvement of Obokata. Earlier this year RIKEN had said their internal investigation had found Obokata committed …Read More

2 min read

When I asked the readers of this blog what they felt was the biggest stem cell story of 2014 in a poll, they overwhelmingly picked the STAP cell scandal. For background on STAP you can toggle through the many STAP cell pieces on this blog here, see a STAP timeline, and a STAP image gallery. Basically, STAP was a bogus scientific claim about a supposedly simple reprogramming method to make powerful stem cells induced by cellular stress. Despite many flaws in this STAP research and the …Read More

2 min read

Inspired by DrugMonkeyBlog, I have gone through and listed the first ipscell.com blog posts of each of the 12 months of 2014. It makes for a surprising summary of the year. Think of it as the 12 months of stem cell blog mass (12 days of Christmas image from Wikipedia). Just for fun, I’ve included both the blog post title and the first sentence of each post. 2014 Jan: Stem Cell Outreach Success in Spanish: ¿Qué son las células madre? I’ve been working on a stem cell outreach …Read More