January 25, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

Lorenz Studer

3 min read

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

5 min read

Every year in December I go out onto a limb and make stem cell predictions for the coming year as I did in late 2017 for this year. Then usually around the 1/2-way point through the year I check in on how the predictions are faring so far at that point. In this post I give my 2018 predictions (pasted below) the 1/2-way point checkup. Things are off to a reasonably strong start for the old stem cell crystal ball.  For the grading, green is …Read More

2 min read

One of the highlights of Day 1 of #ISSCR2018 for me so far was the talk by Lorenz Studer (Co-Founder of BlueRock) on the use of human embryonic stem cell (HESC)-derived dopamine neurons for Parkinson’s Disease. Note that for this post and if I have time any others on this meeting, they are probably going to be somewhat stream of consciousness notes from the talks and may have some outlined points rather than sentences. I have some questions or notes for myself that I …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

2 min read

Today’s piece is a stem cell movers and shakers post about individuals who have gotten awards, made moves, or otherwise made news recently. In some cases I’ve included relevant embedded tweets announcing the news. In case you’re wondering, the image at right is my attempt last year to make a graphic design that reflect both movers and shakers (the salt shaker). You can see my movers and shakers piece from mid-2017 here. I once met a scientist much earlier in my career who when …Read More

4 min read

By Jeanne Loring There are ten million people in the world who have Parkinson’s disease. 125,000 of these are living in California.  People with the disease often have to step away from their jobs because the main symptoms – tremor or freezing up of muscles – make it difficult to get through a whole day of work. Parkinson’s disease is caused by the loss of a specific neuron type in the brain.  The dopamine neurons in the region of the brain called the substantia …Read More

4 min read

New human clinical trials using derivatives of pluripotent stem cells in China for Parkinson’s Disease (PD) have raised expectations and some eyebrows. PD is a neurodegenerative condition, sometimes diagnosed or followed by PET scans such as the one at left, characterized by loss of dopaminergic neurons leading to severe and sometimes life-threatening symptoms. Pluripotent stem cells are powerful as their name implies and they have great clinical potential, but if they are not utilized properly they have robust tumor forming potential. This risk can …Read More

3 min read

A committee of the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) did one heck of a document dump yesterday on stem cell policy, releasing a whole bunch of policy recommendations on stem cells and more. The torrent from ISSCR included a 37-page policy statement itself as well as several papers in top journals including the Lancet, Science, and Nature. This output was the product of the members of a special  ISSCR Task Force, whose members I have listed at the bottom of this post. Who …Read More

1 min read

Congratulations to Lorenz Studer as a MacArthur Fellow. The annual selection of MacArthur Fellows highlights creative leaders in a variety of fields. The fellows receive $625,000 with no strings attached. Stem cell biologists have been selected on a regular basis over the years as MacArthur Fellows including Kevin Eggan (2006), Sally Temple (2008), and Yukiko Yamashita (2011). This year’s group of two-dozen 2015 MacArthur Fellows includes stem cell biologist Lorenz Studer (see video above). You can learn much more about Dr. Studer’s work on his …Read More

6 min read

I recently chatted with Sean Morrison, current President of ISSCR, on his goals for the Society, where the stem cell field stands today, top challenges, and the future. 2020 update: read my new interview with Sean on cell therapies for COVID-19. What are your goals for your tenure as President of ISSCR? SM: ISSCR is the international voice for research in the scientific community. There’s been less effort though amongst policy makers and the general public. I want to expand the reach beyond just the …Read More