January 20, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

Stem cells: an insider’s guide

6 min read

Would you eat lab grown meat? Envision biting into a warm juicy burger with all the trimmings. Lab grown meat intro If you are a burger fan, your mouth may already be watering. Or maybe you prefer steak or bacon? If you are a vegetarian or animal welfare advocate, however, you might be rather disturbed by this imagery, except that burgers these days even at places like Burger King and McDonald’s are more often not made from cows than in past years. Some vegetarians …Read More

2 min read

My daughter Julie and I have written a book together entitled,  “How to Build a Dragon or Die Trying, A satirical look at cutting edge science.” The book will be out sometime in June most likely. This is a very different kind of book than my first two, Stem Cells: An Insider’s Guide and GMO Sapiens. In How to Build a Dragon we, first of all, take a satirical tone as highlighted by the subtitle. We are somewhat poking fun at science hype in …Read More

4 min read

Historically, the main route of proposed healing via stem cell therapy was cell replacement. In this way of thinking the transplanted cells engrafted (took up home) in the patient’s tissue and replaced dead or diseased cells. However, interest continues to grow in other possible modes of healing by stem cells that don’t rely on cell replacement. In today’s post I cover 4 other possible mechanisms for stem cell therapy to aid health. Secreted factors An alternative, not mutually exclusive model to cell replacement is …Read More

3 min read

Stem cells are always in the news so what’s up in the last week or two? CIRM News The dialogue over CIRM’s future is picking up a bit of steam. The San Francisco Chronicle did an in-depth piece on CIRM some weeks back and then opined that they didn’t feel supportive of another round of funding. I disagree. I think CIRM is a good future investment for California, but as a past CIRM grantee and stem cell advocate my opinion is probably not a …Read More

4 min read

If you want to fight aging, should you turn to stem cells? Does the idea of stem cells to battle getting old even make any sense? The answer is, “it depends.” It’s a really interesting area conceptually and technically for stem cells. A theory. There is evidence that things that happen to our endogenous stem cells are linked to aging. In my book Stem Cells: An Insider’s Guide, which I’m hoping to get a new edition out for next year, I even proposed the …Read More

4 min read

Is monkey cloning a good idea? We’re about to find out. A new Cell paper today reports the first cloning of monkeys via somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), raising many questions. The paper from a team led by Qiang Sun is entitled, “Cloning of Macaque Monkeys by Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer.” The highlight bullet points from the paper are the following: “•Somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) using fetal fibroblasts yielded two live monkeys •Epigenetic modulators promoted development and pregnancy rate of SCNT embryos •SCNT …Read More

6 min read

By Jane Langille A few weeks ago, I wrote to Dr. Paul Knoepfler after reading his book Stem Cells: An Insider’s Guide because I was intrigued by his stem cell theory of aging. I wondered if his theory might mean that someone who mobilized and donated hematopoietic cells might be shortening their own lifetime supply. After exchanging emails about my daughter’s experience, he invited me to contribute a guest blog as he felt that the complexity of her experience as a donor and the questions …Read More

4 min read

A question that has come up with advances in stem cell technology: could same-sex couples have their own biological children? Since Shinya Yamanaka reprogrammed first mouse and then human ordinary cells into powerful pluripotent stem cells, termed induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, back in 2006-2007 many new research avenues have opened up. The impossible suddenly seemed a lot more possible with the report of iPS cells (aka IPSC). People started asking many more creative questions, The biomedical sciences now had more potential to make the …Read More

2 min read

Sometimes you think you know a person and they suddenly surprise you by doing something so new that it is shocking or by taking on a new personality. Cells can be that way too. In my book on stem cells, Stem Cells: An Insider’s Guide (you can buy it here on Amazon–it’s very affordable–or also here at the publisher’s site for some international buyers) published last year, great scientific illustrator, Taylor Seamount, and I came up with a new adaptation (see image above) of a classic model …Read More

4 min read

The below is an excerpt from my book, Stem Cells: An Insider’s Guide. I hope you enjoy this excerpt and the book, which I think is a really good deal at under $27 paperback or under $17 for E-book version. Having our innovation and ethics too In the stem cell field you can have it both ways. As a company, you can be ethical and help patients. There are many examples of stem cell-related corporations doing “the right thing” when it comes to developing …Read More