January 20, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

Kevin McCormack

5 min read

We’re seeing more muddy waters in the stem cell universe. A chiropractic stem cell and alternative medicine clinic has popped up calling itself, of all things, CIRM. On another front, an already controversial docuseries set to air tomorrow combines interviews with prominent academic stem cell scientists and unproven stem cell clinic folks, muddying the waters. Was that the goal? What’s the deal? As to the stem cell clinic referring to itself as CIRM, some of us in the stem cell world already know of …Read More

3 min read

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

3 min read

One of the most common claims made by unproven, for-profit stem cell clinics is that the stem cells they are selling can help knee arthritis and associated pain, but what is the evidence to back this up? There are many problems with the claims of stem cells for arthritis being made across the U.S. In quite a few cases what is being sold isn’t even real stem cells. It often is an amniotic extract, which probably isn’t from actual stem cells anyway and is …Read More

3 min read

The idea of CIRM as a dedicated state stem cell agency was one of the things that got me excited about starting my time as a professor doing research on stem cells in California way back in 2005-2006 on the job hunt. Fast forwarding to today now 11 years later, CIRM is still on the cutting edge, but some major things have changed for California’s stem cell agency and as it looks to its future, the questions and challenges are different too. By analogy, …Read More

2 min read

When I first started blogging here about stem cells in 2010, frankly it felt pretty lonely out there in cyberspace. Nature‘s great blog by Monya Baker and Natalie DeWitt on stem cells had called it quits late in 2009. For the most part the stem cell blogs and other Internet outlets present early in 2010 were either anti-embryonic stem cell sites or a few predatory stem cell clinic sites. Now there are more stem cell blogs out there. It’s a welcome change. People interested …Read More

2 min read

For the last month I’ve been accepting entries to my blog’s stem cell videos contest. This video contest follows up on other fund and educational contests I’ve run with prizes including a stem cell essay contest. In addition I do an annual Stem Cell Person of the Year Award with a $1,000 prize, which I personally pay myself to the winner. These are all part of my way of giving back and promoting the stem cell field and good citizenship (read about my 2013 winner here). …Read More

1 min read

The current President of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), Dr. Alan Trounson, will be leaving the agency in the near future to have more time with his family back in Australia. As a result, CIRM will need a new President at a critical juncture in its history with only about 4 years of funding left. This new leader ideally will guide CIRM not only in the present but also during its transition to become whatever its identity will be in 2017 and …Read More

2 min read

CIRM recently held an “elevator pitch” (also sometimes known as an “elevator speech”) contest amongst its grantees. The San Francisco Chronicle even covered this contest (and also here). Kevin McCormack, Sr. Director of Public Communications and Patient Advocate Outreach at CIRM, described the contest in, appropriately enough, a speech. As best as I can tell 56 scientists participated. By way of disclosure, I participated in the contest myself too (My own pitch). All the videos can be watched here. The rules? The speech cannot be longer 30 seconds. You …Read More