Tag Archives: STAP

My Amazing Powers of Predicting Disaster: Failure of the Takahashi Trials


Well, the Japanese Takahashi trials with the induced pluripotent stem cells are turning out to be a dangerous failure. Read all about it here. Just as SOMEBODY predicted. Hmm… I can’t imagine who…

Anyway. The trials were stopped because, in the words of New Scientist: “ genetic mutations were discovered in the cells of the second trial participant. One of the mutations may carry a remote risk of cancer.” (Remote… oh really? This is the same publication that has carried gushing fan news about the IPSC trials since Day One. Of course, so have all the rest… but still, I wouldn’t trust a disclaimer like that as far as I could throw it.)

Hmm… .WHO predicted this failure last year? WHO posted these predictions multiple times all over the web, including Paul Knoepfler’s blog and investorstemcell.com? WHO said it was way too soon to rush into the clinical setting when there hadn’t been even a tenth of the number of animal studies that should have happened first? WHO held fast to this prediction, even when nobody agreed with her and nobody wanted to hear about it?

Could it be… ME??

Hint: the answer is yes.

I’m NOT posting the link to Randy Travis singing “I Told You So” again. This is actually beyond even what I dared to predict last fall for the IPSC trials. That’s it. There HAS to be a way to turn this amazing psychic power to predict disaster into something valuable… (hmmm)

Anise: (poring over a crystal ball while clients wait impatiently) I can tell you all the Powerball combinations that aren’t going to win.

Clients: Isn’t there a faster way?

Anise: No. But I can give you all 174 million losing number combinations, and you just have to go through them– wait– where are you going??

The point is that I knew the IPSC trials wouldn’t work. They were rushed to the clinic crazy fast because it was a chance for Japan and Riken to get the first clinical trial of IPSC’s underway. This represented a chance to save face after the STAP cell disaster last year. To tell you the truth, it’s not rocket science and is very easy to piece together. However, this kind of outcome is what I hoped wouldn’t happen. But it was always a possibility. I posted long, long threads about it in the past, and we really don’t need to go into all of it again here… suffice it to say that there are good reasons to have a lot more animal trials before jumping immediately and dangerously fast into clinical trials.

You know… this sounds horrible, but the failure of these trials will ultimately help Ocata a lot. One by one, the inferior and not-ready-for-prime time stem cell treatments are falling. Ocata’s treatment for AMD is the only one that continues to advance through all trials with flying colors. And since this is treatment I would need… well, I think I have the cred to say it!!

Also, it would have been good for that article to get Ocata’s name right. 😛 But you know… there’s good and bad in everything.

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Day One of NaNo! And now, let’s talk about STAP…

It’s Day One of National Novel Writing Month! I’m officially a NaNo rebel, because I’m writing nonfiction. (Note the “novel” part. 😉 The idea is that you write 50,000 words during the month of November. (Don’t worry! I’ve done it before.) It can be done with nonfic, of course, and a lot of people seem to be doing it this year. Still, we’re kind of the stepchildren of the site… we don’t even get our own forums.

Today, I wrote the first 2000 words, yes and YAY! I’m starting with the STAP debacle from early this year. Here’s a sample (and please remember that the whole point of NaNo is that you don’t edit until you’re done… 😉

When it comes to the issue of STAP cells (stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency cells),here’s the impression that everyone pretty much got at first, which was January 2014, when the original papers came out. There’s this new treatment coming out any day now, and all that scientists need to do is to take regular adult cells and throw them in some orange juice, or poke at them with a straw and put them through a colander, and they turn into happy shiny new cells they can change into anything. Yay! Then you go to your doctor and he makes a new special treatment just for you for any disease that you could ever possibly have in the world.

Well I have to admit that this did, and does, sound good. How could it not? A special treatment just for you, and it’s that easy? A little TOO easy…

Is the phrase “I have a bridge to sell you” coming to mind yet?