June 3, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

science hype

2 min read

Meet The Screamers. After being a scientist in one form or another for 30 years and blogging about stem cells and other science for more than 10 years, I’ve seen a lot of science hype. However, some science hype goes above and beyond the usual level to outright smack readers in the face. It almost hurts your brain or makes you want to scream “No!” We definitely see this kind of uber-hype in the stem cell field at times, but also in many other …Read More

2 min read

Stem cell news is always burbling up, sometimes right there in front of us on the web and other times via networks of people. Astellas news. Some may remember there used to be this pioneering stem cell biotech called ACT, which then became Ocata, and finally was acquired by the big company Astellas. One of their areas of focus was on using pluripotent stem cells for macular degeneration. The driving scientific force was (and is) Dr. Robert Lanza. About a year ago I had …Read More

2 min read

This past week’s coverage of unproven stem cells exhibited a wide range both in tone and in topics including golfer Jack Nicklaus. There were the three critical articles on clinics that I blogged about earlier and then there was a CNN puff piece by Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Roni Selig mostly focused on Nicklaus. Note that “unproven” is not necessarily a bad word or pejorative adjective for stem cells as pretty much everything in clinical trials is still unproven, but if unproven stem cells are …Read More

4 min read

I’ve been blogging about stem cells now for about 8 years and the recent level of hype about and fluffy media coverage of Celularity, the biotech spun out of Celgene, ranks right up here with the most extreme past cases I’ve seen. What is Celularity and who is its leadership? It’s a new biotech focused on placental stem cells with some familiar, well-known leaders including Bob Hariri and Peter Diamandis, and famous tech names on their board including John Scully and Bill Maris, along …Read More

5 min read

Some conditions like Huntington’s Disease are so bad and there are no treatments such that any bit of encouraging news can be cause for legitimate excitement, but at the same time things can go too far potentially, especially if there is news coverage not backed up by a published paper or some other definitive source of data. This kind of situation risks going from science over the line to hype. The splashy news a couple days ago that there may have been a “major …Read More

2 min read

Science hype is one of the more troublesome issues in our field today especially at its interface with the media, and unfortunately a ‘great’ example of that came this past week in a headline from the Daily Mail on the new CRISPR of human embryos paper from Kathy Niakan’s group in the UK. Although Niakan’s group was generally appropriately cautious in their new Nature paper about potential clinical implications of their work and didn’t hype possible reproductive use of CRISPR in humans at all, they …Read More