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Major stem cell breakthrough allows quick and easy creation

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Because the FDA has said it won't approve human trials on stem cells (fetal, ips, or acid, presumably) unless it can be proven that they will not create tumors or...

How does that make sense for people who need it for life saving procedures? They would rather just have them die of their current ailment than a possible tumor?

FDA really is a fascinating organization when you think about it.
 

Dryk

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Seems like it would be easy enough to test the viability of this method in human cells. In fact, I would think that they could have at least tried the procedure on human cells as part of their paper, just to see if viable stem cells were produced.
They would never combine two viable papers rather than release them seperately.
 

killer rin

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cells plucked from animals could be turned into all-powerful master cells simply by immersing them in a mildly acidic solution for half an hour.
It blows my mind that something this simple wasn't found out until now. How did no one try throwing cells in acid before to see what it did? And if they did, how did they not notice that they were turning into stem cells.
 

Stronty

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Drink vinegar and soak in a vinegar tub to reset your cells into repair and rejuve mode?
 

mrklaw

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Obokata calls the resulting cells Stap cells

 

ЯAW

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Jul 20, 2013
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Acid-bath stem-cell study under investigation

Japanese research institute launches inquiry after allegations of irregularities in blockbuster papers.

"The scepticism has been inflamed by reports of difficulty in reproducing Obakata’s latest results. None of ten prominent stem-cell scientists who responded to a questionnaire from Nature has had success. A blog soliciting reports from scientists in the field reports eight failures. But most of those attempts did not use the same types of cells that Obokata used."

I wonder how Japanese media is going to react to this. They really made huge deal about Obokatan from what I heard from my friend living there. I hope we will have a word from teams who did use same types of cells as Obokata so we can assure if her work is correct or not.
 

E-Cat

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The STAP cell saga has taken a turn for the farcical, but I withhold judgement for now.

An interesting new article details the current situation:

http://www.biosciencetechnology.com/blogs/2014/02/new-stem-cell-sagas-0#.Uw3JlfmSxja

Even Teru Wakayama, a co-author on the Nature reprogramming papers that stunned the stem cell world this month, says he can’t reach the first author on both: Haruko Obokata.

Wakayama added that he, himself, reproduced Obokata’s work with her at the Riken Institute—but hasn’t, since he moved to Yamanashi University. “Even me: I succeeded in this work at Riken, but I have not been able to in my new lab.” Still, his conclusion was firm: “I do not doubt that someone, someday, will reproduce this."

In one very recent development, a Riken insider told Bioscience Technology this week that first author Obokata received an email from a scientist claiming to have repeated her results. Other success “anecdotes” have accumulated, the insider emailed.
But the insider warned, given many anecdotal reports of failure, it is key to stay “agnostic.”

Riken representatives this week say her team is almost done with a much-demanded, detailed protocol, aimed at teaching all comers how to make the new stem cells. The protocol, “in the late stages of preparation,” is coming “soon” and may end much controversy. Or fuel more.

“I think I should just go to vacation in Mexico for several weeks,” co-author Charles Vacanti told Bioscience Technology last week.
 

E-Cat

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Obokata et al. have released a .PDF detailing "essential technical tips" for creating STAP cells. It's to be followed by a full protocol later on.

http://www.cdb.riken.jp/jp/04_news/articles/pdf/14/protocol_exchange_v1.pdf

The creation of the cells doesn't appear to be as simple as previously thought. For example, "The donor mouse should be 1-week old or younger. Reprogramming efficiency is dramatically reduced using cells from older animals."
 

RumblingRosco

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Obokata et al. have released a .PDF detailing "essential technical tips" for creating STAP cells. It's to be followed by a full protocol later on.

http://www.cdb.riken.jp/jp/04_news/articles/pdf/14/protocol_exchange_v1.pdf

The creation of the cells doesn't appear to be as simple as previously thought. For example, "The donor mouse should be 1-week old or younger. Reprogramming efficiency is dramatically reduced using cells from older animals."

Currently, I'm half-way through my PhD studies with research focusing on engineering yeast to produce valuable and useful chemicals from non-food feedstocks. So, I'm not an expert on stem cells, but I have a strong understanding of general/microbiology. The instructions provided by that PDF look easy to me. Like, scale of 1 to 10, 1 being a high school biology student-level of difficulty and 10 being the difficulty of solving the world's most complex and yet-to-be-solved proofs, those instructions fall solidly between a 3-5, in my opinion.

If the protocol can be confirmed by other labs, this is absolutely the beginning of a huge, incredible victory for stem cell research and modern medicine at-large.
 

E-Cat

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Currently, I'm half-way through my PhD studies with research focusing on engineering yeast to produce valuable and useful chemicals from non-food feedstocks. So, I'm not an expert on stem cells, but I have a strong understanding of general/microbiology. The instructions provided by that PDF look easy to me. Like, scale of 1 to 10, 1 being a high school biology student-level of difficulty and 10 being the difficulty of solving the world's most complex and yet-to-be-solved proofs, those instructions fall solidly between a 3-5, in my opinion.

If the protocol can be confirmed by other labs, this is absolutely the beginning of a huge, incredible victory for stem cell research and modern medicine at-large.
I'm not saying that the protocol itself is hard to follow, but if STAP cells can't be easily derived from older mice, doesn't that have implications for the efficiency of the method when moving to human cell trials? I thought STAP was supposed enable significantly greater throughput than iPS.
 

Blader

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How does that make sense for people who need it for life saving procedures? They would rather just have them die of their current ailment than a possible tumor?

FDA really is a fascinating organization when you think about it.

It's a typical bureaucracy, where common sense is substituted for strict rules in order to cover bases and save asses.
 

M3d10n

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Aug 28, 2006
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I'm not saying that the protocol itself is hard to follow, but if STAP cells can't be easily derived from older mice, doesn't that have implications for the efficiency of the method when moving to human cell trials? I thought STAP was supposed enable significantly greater throughput than iPS.

Back to storing our umbilicals in the fridge it is then.
 

Averon

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Aug 27, 2008
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Update:

Japan stem cell scientist calls for retraction of study

A co-author of a Japanese study that promised a revolutionary way to create stem cells has called for the headline-grabbing research to be retracted over claims its data was faulty.

The findings, published by Japanese researcher Haruko Obokata and US-based scientists, outlined a simple and low-tech approach in the quest to grow transplant tissue in the lab.

The study was touted as the third great advance in stem cells—a futuristic field that aims to reverse Alzheimer's, cancer and other crippling or lethal diseases.

But it faced hard questions as the Japan-based Riken institute, which sponsored the study, launched a probe last month over the credibility of data used in the explosive findings.

At issue are allegations that researchers used erroneous image data for an article published in the January edition of British journal Nature.

Teruhiko Wakayama, a Yamanashi University professor who co-authored the article, called for a retraction.
http://phys.org/news/2014-03-stem-cell-scientist-retraction.html
 

ActStriker

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Nov 14, 2011
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Oh boy.

Rising Japanese scientist faked heralded stem cell research, lab says

Last January, just three years after Obokata earned her PhD, she published what appeared to be her groundbreaking research in the scientific journal Nature. It purported to establish a new way to grow tissue and treat complicated illnesses like diabetes and Parkinson’s disease with an uncomplicated lab procedure. Many called it the third most significant breakthrough in stem cell research.

“There were many days when I wanted to give up on my research and cried all night long,” she said at news conference. “But I encouraged myself to hold on just for one more day.”

The headlines were thunderous. “Stem cell ‘major discovery’ claimed,” BBC bellowed. ”STAP cell pioneer nearly gave up on her research,” reported the Asahi Shimbun. “Scientist triumphed over setbacks,” crooned the Japan News.

On Tuesday morning, Obokata’s research institute, Riken, which is almost entirely funded by the government, announced that the 30-year-old had purposely fabricated the data to produce the findings. Institute director Ryoji Noyori said he’ll “rigorously punish relevant people after procedures in a disciplinary committee,” according to AFP.

The investigation’s head said the paper “amounts to phony research or fabrication.” He added: ”The manipulation was used to improve the appearance of the results.”

Obokata, for her part, denied the month-long investigation’s allegations. “I will file a complaint against Riken as it’s absolutely impossible for me to accept this,” AFP reports her saying in a statement.
 

TheOMan

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Well...that really is unfortunate. I was thinking this was going to be massive for those that need new organs (as did some of my friends that work in the field). If she faked the results, I'm guessing her career is pretty much over, she must have been under some intense pressure.

What I never understand in these situations is, do the scientists trying to pull shenanigans believe they won't get caught? They must know how this process works, so why risk it all?
 

ezrarh

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Well...that really is unfortunate. I was thinking this was going to be massive for those that need new organs (as did some of my friends that work in the field). If she faked the results, I'm guessing her career is pretty much over, she must have been under some intense pressure.

What I never understand in these situations is, do the scientists trying to pull shenanigans believe they won't get caught? They must know how this process works, so why risk it all?

Unfortunately scientists do this too often. Just a lot of stuff aren't as highly publicized so it's not as intensely scrutinized. I've ran into a paper where I try to repeat the experiment and results are no where near what they described in the publication. Most aren't as blatant as straight up fabrication the data but are simply misleading or results can't be duplicated.
 

bonercop

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I can't believe she thought she could get away with this. Suspicions were raised almost immediately, because, no shit, people are going to try to reproduce this.
 

j_k_redtail

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Unfortunately there were some pretty glaring issues with the paper that became apparent in the first week or so after publication... it would be really unfortunate if the senior authors got off scot-free.
 

E-Cat

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The unfortunate saga continues. This morning Haruko Obokata, the lead researcher, held a press conference in Japan. She is not well, and was reportedly hospitalized due to her physical and mental state. She still claims the conclusions of her research regarding STAP cells are valid, even if the Nature papers contained some glaring errors. Obokata has filed a complaint against RIKEN.

Here's a Wall Street Journal liveblog on the press conference:

http://blogs.wsj.com/japanrealtime/2014/04/09/live-obokata-speaks-about-stem-cell-research-probe/

There's one thing I don't understand: if STAP cells exist, surely there must still be some cell cultures intact. I mean, it'd be idiotic not to, right? Where are they, and why are they not being studied?

I'm leaning toward they don't exist, but that Obokata didn't purposely engage in fabrication. She might have insta-killed her career, though.
 

mckmas8808

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UGH! So annoying to read when stuff like this happens.
 

Wilsongt

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Jul 17, 2007
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Shame...

Medical research is tough enough as it is, but the stress of doing it Japan is even more stressful due to the culture there... Poor girl.
 

pestul

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Jesus Christ.. this sounded so promising. I can already see that the conspiracy theorists are going to have a hay day with this one. "A major medical breakthrough shutdown by pharma-shills".. or something of the like.
 

Kinitari

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Aww man. You fucked up, it doesn't mean suicide was the right way to make amends...
 
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