Predictions for the stem cell field for 2013: but first how did I do predicting for 2012?

Carnac the MagnificentEvery year I make predictions about what the following year will bring us in the stem cell field.

For example, last year I made some predictions for 2012 and I shortly will do a post on my predictions for 2013.

First, how did I do with my predictions for this year, which I made in a post on Dec. 7, 2011?

Prediction 10.) Transdifferentiation remains extremely intriguing, but there’s little progress on it. A few more trans-differentiation papers come out in 2012, but no flood to be sure. Trans-differentiating cells is a lot tougher than reprogramming them into iPSCs. Wilmut’s declaration of our need to be independent from ESC because we should be working on trans-differentiation instead is shown to be very overly optimistic about the timeline of transdifferentiation.

10. How did I do? Well, it turns out there was not so much on transdifferentiation so I would score my prediction as CORRECT.

Prediction 9.) Obama is re-elected President, Democrats retain the Senate and Republicans retain the House, but the political environment remains hostile to science and stem cell research, particularly at the state level. Obama beats the Republican candidate for President (most likely Romney) so we dodge that bullet, but science and stem cell research still receive little support and are attacked further at the state level, especially by Republican governors.

9. How did I do? I think I got this one on the money: CORRECT.

Prediction 8.) The all-chemical (small molecule) iPSC dream still remains unrealized in 2012.I hope I’m wrong about this one.

8. How did I do? CORRECT.

Prediction 7.) We learn more about the properties of iPSC in even more potentially clinically relevant settings and the data are very promising. More studies are published on using iPSC in model systems to treat diseases.

7. How did I do? I would say I was WRONG on this one sadly. I can’t think of much in the way of published clinically relevant iPSC data.

Prediction 6.) The iPSC field continues to mature as reflected in its publication trends. The number of iPSC articles stays about the same or only increases modestly in 2012 and the citation rate per iPSC paper continues to plummet as the field matures. You can see the trends here.

6. How did I do? CORRECT.

Prediction 5.) The personhood movement continues to stir things up. They spend millions of dollars trying to legitimize their extreme views that one cell fertilized eggs are the same as living breathing people. They succeed in getting on the ballot in California, are overwhelming defeated, but declare victory because they got their message into the conversation some more.

5. How did I do? WRONG (thankfully), but beware for next year.

Prediction 4.) The Vatican and potentially other churches continue to increase their involvement in stem cell research, although not of course that involving ESCs. During the same year, the extremists who are fighting their self-declared “war” on ESC research continue to attack and attack some more.

4. How did I do? CORRECT. Let’s see how the Vatican 2013 conference goes.

…..and now the top 3…

Prediction 3.) There is no for-profit buyer for Geron’s stem cell program/GRNOPC1. I seriously hope I am wrong about this one.

3. How did I do? WRONG. BioTime inked a deal for the Geron stem cell program. I’m so happy to be wrong!

Prediction 2.) CIRM continues to have a huge, positive influence on the stem cell field. Under the super leadership of Jonathan Thomas and Alan Trounson as well as its Board, CIRM continues its record of vision and excellence in driving stem cell research forward. They continue to streamline CIRM processes and fill essential positions at CIRM, making it more efficient and more accessible to the public. CIRM-funded research continues to wow the world and strides are made toward translating the work to the bedside. In short, CIRM is better than ever in 2012 and continues to have a bright future.

2. How did I do? CORRECT. I still can’t imagine where we’d be without CIRM. Those who like to pick on CIRM should also take time to point out its great accomplishments.

Prediction 1.) Advanced Cell Technology (ACT)’s combined Phase I/II Clinical Trials show their hESC-based RPE drug is safe for the treatment of blindness.  I might be going out on the limb in terms of timeline (i.e. the trials finishing in 2012). Also, we’ll most likely have to wait a bit longer for news on efficacy, but I hope the data points in that direction.

1. How did I do? CORRECT. All indications are so far that the RPE drug is safe! Fingers crossed 2013 brings more good news and perhaps more than just hints of efficacy.

So 7 out of 10. Better than a coin toss! Stay tuned for predictions for 2013. I’m sure I’ll get them all right this time (yeah, right).

2 thoughts on “Predictions for the stem cell field for 2013: but first how did I do predicting for 2012?


  1. Congratulations on your excellent score on the 2012 predictions! Your blog is a fantastic and educational read.

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