September 19, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

spore stem cells

4 min read

A great new piece in The New Yorker by Dana Goodyear, The Stress Test, gives us a window into Charles Vacanti’s side of the STAP cell mess and includes recent quotes from him. It’s a long, fascinating look inside of STAP, the tangled and ultimately tragic scientific implosion that created and then brought down two Nature papers and some careers. The most notable part of the article is that the stem cell community finally hears from Vacanti, postdoc mentor of lead author Haruko Obokata. We …Read More

2 min read

Now that it appears that the authors have all consented to eventually have both of their STAP cell Nature papers retracted, what’s next for STAP? Who knows, but below is my attempt at a top 10 list of STAP predictions looking ahead. I hope I’m wrong about several of them. 10. No insight will come from Nature on the STAP review or editorial process and there will be no indication from them that anything went wrong at their level.  I predict the journal will …Read More

2 min read

Japanese news media are reporting that Haruko Obokata and other key authors have agreed to retract the Nature STAP cell letter, but not the Nature article. This is a major development and a peculiar one because to many in the  field it is the Nature STAP cell article that is the more flawed of the two Nature papers on STAP. Why would Obokata and her colleagues agree to retract the STAP letter from Nature, especially after for so long categorically rejecting the idea? I suspect they are under pressure from other …Read More

4 min read

If you take an ordinary cucumber and soak it in a mild acid solution of vinegar for a few weeks you get a pickle, which is where we find STAP stem cells. Recently, some scientists reported in Nature that if you take ordinary cells and soak them in a mild acid solution for 30 minutes, often the cells transformed into the most powerful type of stem cells known to science. These newly incarnated pluripotent or totipotent stem cells, which they termed “STAP” stem cells, reportedly …Read More