Stem cell banking and the making of a patient "advocist"

In 2005 Chris Hempel gave birth to twin daughters Cassi and Addi. In 2007, she and her husband learned that their girls had a rare, fatal disease called Neiman Pick Type C.

Four years later, Hempel describes herself as a "advocist" for rare diseases. She's an advocate for scientific research but also an activist seeking to bridge the gap between patients and researchers. One of her primary messages is this: If patients donate tissue (skin, in her case) that contribute to science, then they should get to know the results and participate in the research.

Stem cell hope, hype, and hypocrisy according to Arthur Caplan

Ethicist Arthur Caplan had an excellent piece about stem cell hype last week on Science Progress, a publication of the Center for American Progress. Caplan is Director of the Center for Bioethics and the Sidney D. Caplan Professor of Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania.

He starts by saying that yes, some have over-hyped the promise of stem cell research, saying:

Guest blogger Alan Trounson - April's stem cell highlights

Alan Trounson is President of CIRM

Since I arrived at CIRM late in 2007 I have maintained a tradition of presenting some of the top science journal papers from the previous month or two at each of our Board meetings. Beginning last month, I decided this would be easier to digest in a written document than in PowerPoint slides amid a harried board meeting. You can see an archive of these periodic stem cell reports on our website.

CIRM a leader in iPS cell publications

Yesterday, stem cell blogger and newly tenured CIRM grantee at UC Davis Paul Knoepfler had an interesting blog entry on iPS cell publications.

The right tool for the job: is it iPS, ES or adult? Answer: It depends

Two stem cell stories in the news today bring to mind yesterday's interview on NPR's Fresh Air, in which veteran journalist Matthew Wald of the New York Times said of the decision to store spent nuclear waste in Yucca Mountain, NV:

More questions raised about iPS cells safety

Much has been written over the past few days about a spate of new papers by CIRM grantees showing significant differences between reprogrammed iPS cells and embryonic stem cells (see the San Diego Union TribuneDiscover, Technology Review) and CIRM gran

Disease in a dish model provides insight on aging

Normal aging takes many decades to create major changes in our cells, so it is very difficult to study. As a result, very little is known about this fundamental inevitability of life. But that may change with the help of an unfortunate child, who by the bad luck of a single point mutation developed a rare disease that results in aging at eight to 10 times the normal pace.

The confusing (and ongoing) story of iPS vs. embryonic stem cells

It appears we weren't the only people to notice last week's convergence of reprogrammed iPS cell news -- first they are made better, then they are suggested to be worthless. USA Today ran a story summing up several years' worth of such news.

iPS developments - faster creation, but questions raised

Two pieces of news came out today about reprogrammed iPS cells - one showing a new way of making them and the other suggesting that they may not be all they're cracked up to be.

Better, faster stem cell reprogramming

A group at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute led by Derrick Rossi has taken a big step toward a holy grail in stem cell science - reprogramming skin cells to resemble embryonic stem cells without viruses (Cell Stem Cell paper).


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