January 19, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

Jeanne Loring

2 min read

By Jeanne Loring 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 blast off! It’s good to get out of the lab occasionally to get a different perspective.   Last Thursday, December 5, I got a very different perspective, in Cape Canaveral, Florida, where I got to watch the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft be launched by a Falcon 9 rocket. I was there because two years ago my research team was offered the opportunity to design an experiment for the International Space Station (ISS).  The …Read More

3 min read

By Jeanne Loring A stem cell anniversary: 18 years ago today that the US initiated funding of human embryonic stem cell research. August 9, 2001 was a big day for me.  George W. Bush was the US president, and it was an understatement to say that I was not very fond of his policies; but that day he defined my career for the next 18 years. That day Bush gave an 11-minute speech (see Youtube of the video below) at his Texas ranch that …Read More

4 min read

Back in 2013, a half dozen years ago, I went out on a limb and made predictions for the stem cell field for 2020. These are different than my yearly predictions for the coming year (for instance, you can see my predictions made in 2018 for this year of 2019 here). As to my 2013 predictions, of course, it’s only 2019 and not yet 2020, but how are my old predictions looking at this point? I can’t be sure how they’ll look next year …Read More

4 min read

By Jeanne Loring There has been news over the last few days about stem cell researchers pulling out from a documentary called “The Healthcare Revolution”.  First to report on June 15 was Erin Allday of the San Francisco Chronicle, followed by David Jensen’s California Stem Cell Report blog, Michael Hiltzik of the LA Times, and Beth Mole of ArsTechnica. The documentary is a multipart series that included interviews with people designated as “Episode Experts”.  I discovered last Thursday (June 13) that I was listed …Read More

3 min read

By Jeanne Loring What can you do with cells that live forever and can make every cell type in the body?  The answer is: remarkable things, as new reports of clinical trials using cell types derived from pluripotent stem cells indicate. Pluripotent stem cells are either derived from embryos donated from IVF procedures (human embryonic stem cells- hESCs) or from cells provided by a person, usually blood or skin (induced pluripotent stem cells- iPSCs).  The stem cells are never used for transplantation; instead, they …Read More

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In Parkinson’s Disease patients develop neurological dysfunction as they lose a special kind of brain cell called dopaminergic (or dopamine) neurons. While a number of different approaches to this disease have been studied for decades, nothing has proven particularly successful in slowing its progression. As a result there has been a big need for novel thinking about how to tackle Parkinson’s Disease including via stem cells. One of the most exciting ideas has been to use human induced pluripotent stem cells (hIPSC) or human embryonic …Read More

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By Jeanne Loring Stem cells boldly go… Last week at the New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) conference at Rockefeller University in New York City, we announced our collaborative project to study the effects of microgravity on neurons derived from patient-specific induced pluripotent stem cells.  The press release is here. Susan Solomon, the CEO of NYSCF, announced the unprecedented collaboration:  NYSCF and San Diego’s Summit for Stem Foundation (Summit) are providing the cells and designing the experiment. Space Tango, based in Kentucky, developed the …Read More

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Even as some unproven, for-profit stem cell clinics promote themselves aggressively in many ways including now on TV, on the flip side lately we’ve seen more TV journalists covering questionable marketing by the clinics and negative patient outcomes. Today I saw that CBS This Morning, a national broadcast, had a fairly long TV segment on stem cell clinics. Even though the segment wasn’t perfect, it did a pretty good job overall. It was mostly focused on the case of patient Doris Tyler who alleges she …Read More

2 min read

One of the most famous living biological scientists, Sir Ian Wilmut, just announced that he has Parkinson’s Disease. I wish him the best in dealing with this illness. Wilmut is very well-known for having cloned the first mammal, Dolly the Sheep. This work followed on the earlier breakthrough by Sir John Gurdon of cloning the first vertebrate with his work in frogs. it just occurred to me: I’m not sure if the first cloned frog had a name! Over the years there has been …Read More

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The votes are in and the community has picked its top 10 Stem Cell Person of the Year Award finalists. Both the 20 nominees and now the 10 finalists are a diverse group. The finalists include six women and four men, from five countries and four different continents. We also got votes from readers of the blog from 32 different countries spanning every continent, which is exciting. This year’s finalists are mostly scientists, but it’s a diverse group that also includes advocates and the top vote …Read More