The Niche top posts of 2016

stem cell fireworksWhat were the top posts here on The Niche for the past year? I’ve listed some of them below along with some posts from 2015 that remain highly read.

Some top 2016 posts

2015 and older posts that remain highly read every day

Top 20 Stem Cell Predictions for 2017

stem cell crystal ball

Stem cell crystal ball

Each year I make a list of predictions for the stem cell and regenerative medicine field for the coming new year. Later in this post I list my top 20 stem cell predictions for 2017. In looking at my past predictions I realized this will now be my 7th year doing stem cell/regenerative medicine yearly predictions.

You can see below links to these predictions for past years, which sometimes seems rather far removed from today and in other cases strike me as strangely apropos of our times.

What will 2017 bring? Below are my top 20 predictions in no particular order except starting with a few hopeful visions for the coming year.

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TGIF top 10 weird stem cell posts: magic testicle soup, Kim Kardashian, zombies, & more

kardashian-vampire-facialAfter six and a half years blogging here, I’ve seen so much crazy stuff. Not all of it was even “bloggable” due to its nature.

For TGIF, here are 10 of the weirdest posts from this blog over the years.

Where’s the Beef? Reality Check on Stem Cell Test Tube Burger Baloney

ZombieStem cells in my Pepsi? A new crazy stem cell myth

Please pass on bull testicles Soup No. 5 & on stem cell Soup No. 7

Haruko Obokata 小保方 晴子-like Game Character Conducts ‘Dangerous Research’

Stem cells sold for better sex part 2: bigger & better penis?

Strangest stem cell event of 2012: Moriguchi’s fake iPS cell transplants

Testimony in shocking supermodel stem cell fraud case: “I lied to patients”

Kim Kardashian vampire facelift: stem cells in there?Soup No.5

Beyond zombies: reviving dead people with stem cells & lasers?

Stranger than fiction: the electric stem cell bra for breast enlargement

Some stem cell clinics respond to Cell Stem Cell paper with ‘not me, them’

There has been relatively limited response from clinics themselves to the Cell Stem Cell paper that Leigh Turner and I published recently on the scope of the stem cell clinic industry in the U.S. Not Me stem cells

We found 570 stem cell clinics and there could easily be 50-100 more that escaped our search methods or that have popped up since we finished our search at the end of February. While not all the clinics necessarily require FDA approval depending on the type of stem cells and the uses, it seems almost certain that many should have gotten approval from the FDA for what they are doing before they started selling the unproven “treatments”.

One thing I was curious about before our paper even came out was what kind of response, if any, it would get from the stem cell clinics. It’s been pretty quiet from that quarter.

A few clinics talked to reporters who covered the paper and basically used some version of the same mantra, “not me, them”. This reminds me of the Family Circus “not me” cartoons (part of one is shown above).

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Perspectives: Nature editorial on stem cell oversight & clinics gets it right

The journal Nature published an excellent editorial earlier this week on stem cell oversight and stem cell clinics.

The piece, entitled ” FDA should stand firm on stem-cell treatments. US regulators must regain the upper hand in the approval system” struck just the right balance. It correctly supported the FDA’s data-centered approach to stem cell oversight and indicated that this regulatory system is not too harsh. At the same time, the editorial also rightly asserted that the FDA cannot simply stick entirely to the status quo and needs to be more efficient.Turner & Knoepfler Figure 2

The editorial also hit the nail on the head by discussing stem cell oversight, the REGROW Act, and stem cell clinics all within one interconnected arena. That’s the reality of the stem cell world today. Too many FDA critics and supporters of a weakened oversight system essentially pretend the stem cell clinics are not going to be affected by efforts that would limit FDA oversight of stem cells.

It was great to see that the Nature editorial cited the new paper by Leigh Turner and I on the astonishingly large number of stem cell clinics in the US. Given the scope of the stem cell clinic industry in the U.S. (at least 570 clinics) and the remarkable range of conditions marketed to be treated using a variety of stem cell types, there are at the very least serious questions about compliance at some clinics because of issues related to more than minimal manipulation and non-homologous use. See Figure 2 from our paper above.

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