January 19, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

STAP cells

9 min read

There is a puzzle when it comes to the controversial idea of using cord blood for autism, because two of the strongest proponents are the autism cord blood program at Duke and for-profit, unproven stem cell clinics. On first glance it seemed like this was a bit of an odd couple to me. The links between the Duke autism program and one particular Panamanian stem cell clinic called generically enough “The Stem Cell Institute” appear to go beyond just their enthusiasm about cord blood …Read More

2 min read

Retraction Watch broke the news that Haruko Obokata of the STAP cell train wreck now has a 4th paper retraction. The publication related to the controversial idea that adult tissues have pluripotent potential or actual pluripotent stem cells in them so it was kind of foundational for the debunked STAP cell idea. It also reminds me of VSELs and MUSE cells too, which people to this day still publish about without much attention. There could be some retractions related to VSELs and MUSE cells …Read More

3 min read

Once upon a time this blog and major outlets around the world were regularly writing about a Japanese stem cell researcher named Haruko Obokata (小保方 晴子). Whatever happened to Obokata and the other folks directly involved in STAP cell research? First, a bit of background because maybe still a few people never heard of STAP cells and Obokata or forgot the key points behind the controversy. Haruko Obokata became well known because of her research claiming to make pluripotent stem cells like IPS cells without …Read More

4 min read

Something very strange just happened at the journal Nature related to what’s called Muse cells. Kudos to them for dealing with it quickly though. They published an unreviewed research “article” on controversial (perhaps non-existent) stem cells called “Muse cells” that was actually a paid advertisement. After I communicated with the Nature team eventually they ended up pulling down the ad/article as of today. How can a research article be an advertisement? I don’t think it should be possible. An “ad/article”? Of course, research journals run …Read More

4 min read

Could He Jiankui have faked part or all of his CRISPR babies story? If so, how? Why? Or to put it another way, almost everyone seems to be assuming the story is real, but should we be more skeptical? Should we flip things around and assume the story isn’t entirely kosher until proven otherwise? I once said that the CRISPR field feels like it moves in dog years (very fast!) Consistent with that warp speed, the last 2 weeks have felt more like months. In …Read More

3 min read

Remember when the Piero Anversa situation first made news or at least when you first heard about it? In the public domain, it was back around April 2014. I didn’t even do a whole post on it, but rather it made two bullet points in a post about a set of bad overall news including the latest at the time on the growing mess from STAP cells.  However, clearly there were concerns about this Anversa thing well before 2014. What took so long? In my 2014 post here …Read More

3 min read

2,000 is a big number. As of this week I’ve now published 2,000 posts here on The Niche since I started back in early 2010. I can’t quite believe it myself. To celebrate that milestone, I have revamped The Niche in terms of its organization and style with the help of a very skilled web developer. You might have noticed some of these changes around here. I hope you like them. The site should be speedier for one thing. We are also nearing another …Read More