Archive for the ‘Ethical, legal and social issues’ Category

Guardian of the genome goes rogue in cultured stem cells

Author: Jovana Drinjakovic, 05/10/17

Last month, a study published in Nature revealed that researchers have unknowingly been working on human stem cell lines that harbour mutations in a gene linked to many cancers, raising safety concerns over their use in therapy. But the findings don’t condemn stem cell treatment to an early grave. Instead, they raise an awareness of…Read more

Right Turn: Health care solutions on demand through 3D printing

Author: Stacey Johnson, 04/21/17

3D printing is a topic we’ve covered before at Signals. It’s still hot and trendy, and still making the cut on top technology lists. Back in 2012, Chris Anderson, the former editor-in-chief of Wired, predicted that 3D printing “will be bigger than the web.” Given that good 3D printers are now cheap enough (US$150) to…Read more

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

Right Turn: My question to Paul Knoepfler: Do you ever sleep?

Author: Stacey Johnson, 03/10/17

Paul Knoepfler, already well known for his prolific blogging at The Niche and for his role as a stem cell educator and tireless patient advocate – award winning no less – has taken on another project. Ask him a question about stem cells and you may get a live response. On February 26th, Dr. Knoepfler,…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

Ending on a high note – Day 3 of TMM2016

Author: Camila Londono, 10/31/16

Though the last day of the Till and McCulloch Meetings was a short one, it was absolutely fantastic. The day began with a thought-provoking talk by Douglas Sipp, from the Riken Center for Developmental Biology, touching upon the many issues surrounding regulation of stem cell therapies. I think as scientists, we often tend to forget…Read more

Lobbying for deregulation of stem cell procedures is giving rise to a new “dark economy”

Author: Hamideh Emrani, 10/31/16

Day 3 of the Till & McCulloch Meetings continued with many interesting talks. The one that I have chosen to write about in more detail Dr. Douglas Sipp’s, titled “The Stem Cell Dark Economy.” I think his talk was really thought provoking, and important to be shared with our readers. He began with an old…Read more

Challenging assumptions to expand our thinking? Insights from Session 1 of TMM2016

Author: Camila Londono, 10/25/16

The fifth Till & McCulloch Meetings started off with a bang, with an incredibly exciting and provocative talk by Dr. Sara-Jane Dunn that highlighted the predictive power of Boolean network models. Dr. Dunn, who works at Microsoft Research, introduced the idea of biological computation: a cell’s gene expression “decision making” can be modelled using Boolean…Read more

STEMinism: Chasing diversity and equality in STEM

Author: Camila Londono, 10/14/16

On October 11 I attended SHE DID THAT, the Ada Lovelace event, held at the University of Toronto, that Samantha Payne wrote about in Signals earlier this week. It was an exciting evening that not only celebrated incredible women in science, but also served as a reminder that we have a long way to go…Read more

Ada Lovelace Day: celebrating women in STEM

Author: Samantha Payne, 10/11/16

Can you name five historically influential women in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and medicine)? What about three? I recently asked myself this question and found that I struggled to come up with names, despite the formal training I’ve received in science at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Yet there are many: from…Read more