August 9, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

science hype

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

7 min read

Can science now cure MS in some patients with stem cells or is that near on the horizon? What about stem cells for other serious autoimmune disorders? What are the risks to patients in terms of health, money, and hope? What if patients must find $100,000 or $200,000 just to get into a clinical trial for this and insurance only sometimes helps in a big way? Will the trial conclude with an approved product that works and is safe enough? It’s always complicated with an ongoing …Read More

2 min read

I appreciate fun linguistic approaches to explaining science such as a good science metaphor and I use them myself at times, but sometimes these end up risking doing much more harm than good. The best or should I say worst example I’ve heard recently is referring to a growth factor called BDNF as “Miracle-Gro for the brain”. What the heck? BDNF is the acronym for brain-derived neurotrophic factor. It is a growth and trophic factor that has the exciting potential to induce helpful changes in the …Read More