David Kent

Dr. David Kent is a Principal Investigator at the University of Cambridge in the Cambridge Stem Cell Institute (http://www.stemcells.cam.ac.uk/research/pis/kent). His laboratory's research focuses on fate choice in single blood stem cells and how changes in their regulation lead to cancers. David is currently the Stem Cell Institute’s Public Engagement Champion and has a long history of public engagement and outreach including the creation of The Black Hole in 2009. He has been writing for Signals since 2010.

Posts by: David


Major League Baseball Pitchers and “Stem Cell” therapy

Author: David Kent, 04/18/17

With the Toronto Blue Jays* off to a terrible start, I was almost dissuaded from reading anything about baseball, until I happened upon the following article: “Stem-cell therapy is poised to disrupt the Tommy John epidemic in baseball.” First, I had to do my standard “fake news” check by triangulating the sources, readings, etc., but…Read more

Interspecies generation of insulin producing cells now a reality

Author: David Kent, 03/01/17

From science fiction novelists through to medical doctors and industry leaders, a huge amount of attention has been given to the idea of growing human organs for transplantation in large farm animals like pigs and sheep. The need for organs to transplant into patients is one driving motivation (~5000 patients waiting in Canada alone), but…Read more

Steady progress and more interesting science – 10 years of iPS cells

Author: David Kent, 08/25/16

One of the most memorable moments of my young scientist career was a Keystone Conference in February 2006 in Whistler, BC where I first heard Professor Shinya Yamanaka describe the successful reprogramming of a skin cell into an induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC). I’ve written about this moment on Signals before and taken on the…Read more

Tip of the iceberg? Scary stuff from international stem cell clinics

Author: David Kent, 08/02/16

Last week, a good friend of mine forwarded me a correspondence from the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). I was expecting to read about a new drug being tested in clinical trials or maybe a neat scientific perspective on leukemia biology, but what I got instead shocked and saddened me. The title of the…Read more

ISSCR final day – Not just one hit… finding combinations in cancer

Author: David Kent, 07/18/16

During the morning plenary session on the final day of ISSCR, we were treated to a delightful mix of basic and translational science as well as a riveting public policy lecture from Alta Charo. The session was all about disease modeling and stem cells and the highlight talk for me was from Guy Sauvageau, who…Read more

ISSCR Day 1: Escaping the ground state of pluripotency

Author: David Kent, 06/24/16

The 2016 Annual Meeting of the International Society for Stem Cell Research got off to a fantastic start Wednesday night in San Francisco. Two excellent sessions were delivered to a packed house with talks ranging from the importance of circular RNAs (Pier Paolo Pandolfi) through to a pretty incredible description of the cellular biomechanics of…Read more

Ethics for early career stem cell researchers – are we missing a trick?

Author: David Kent, 05/31/16

Throughout the last decade, I have undertaken research in the stem cell field in two countries (Canada and the United Kingdom) and while my work has never involved the ethically contentious human embryonic stem (ES) cell lines, I have interacted with dozens of scientists whose research does involve ES cells. If you ever ask the…Read more

Here we go…cells derived from embryonic stem cells in UK clinics

Author: David Kent, 11/16/15

The United Kingdom has begun its foray into using cells derived from human embryonic stem cells (ESCs) in clinical settings. I have to admit I was surprised that following coverage on the BBC and in The Guardian, there was virtually no anti-ESC protesting to be found, especially considering this was the first human ESC therapy…Read more

The tiny fingers that touch stem cells

Author: David Kent, 09/22/15

. I was reading Nature the other day and came across a neat article from Yukikio Yamashita’s group at the University of Michigan entitled Nanotubes mediate niche–stem-cell signalling in the Drosophila testis. It may not sound interesting to our average reader, but the cool thing – and presumably what the Nature editors and reviewers enjoyed…Read more

ISSCR 2015 Stockholm, Day 2: The air we breathe – stem cells care too.

Author: David Kent, 06/29/15

. Over the last decade, there has been a lot of talk about how blood stem cells typically live in a low oxygen environment (~1 to 4%) and most of the work that researchers do is performed at normal oxygen levels (e.g., 20% of the air). However, very few researchers have studied this in a…Read more