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Biotech Science

Scientist Live-Blogs His Lab's Attempts To Generate New Type of Stem Cells 20

sciencehabit (1205606) writes "In the latest twist in the story of STAP cells, a new kind of stem cell described in two Nature papers in January, a scientist is live-blogging his latest attempt to generate the cells. The papers described how subjecting cells from newborn mice to a mildly acidic solution turned them into pluripotent stem cells, the sought-after cells that can become all the body's cell types. Kenneth Ka-Ho Lee, a stem cell researcher at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, has already tried once to make the cells, following the methods published in Nature in January. That attempt failed, which Lee documented publicly on the website ResearchGate. The lack of success mirrors other reports from scientists around the world in the weeks since the papers were published, despite a more detailed set of methods posted by some of the authors on 5 March. Today, Lee posted in the comment section of his ResearchGate review that he had set up a team of four lab members to do the experiments. They will live blog the research, and promise frequent updates."
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Scientist Live-Blogs His Lab's Attempts To Generate New Type of Stem Cells

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  • This technique works best when combined with cold fusion. Also, don't forget about step 3.

  • Another failure, but this one is ... moving... what is... Aaaaaargh......

  • by Dcnjoe60 ( 682885 ) on Monday March 24, 2014 @06:56PM (#46569315)

    Wasn't that methodology disproved and the results of the original research shown to be fabricated? I thought /. had an article about that already.

    • Re:Disproved? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Ambassador Kosh ( 18352 ) on Monday March 24, 2014 @07:27PM (#46569559)

      It is far more complex than that. There is a lot of doubt about the research but making stem cells is a process that is VERY hard to do even with protocols that we have fully diagnosed. With other techniques for induced pluripotent stem cells the results are usually 1% or less of the cells make the changes you want. Even if the paper had written down EVERYTHING that was done for the STAP cells there is no guarantee that it would work effectively for someone else until the protocol is nailed down better.

      It does seem unlikely that the STAP research is correct but it is too soon to say that for sure and there is no way we can walk away from this kind of advance if it is at all possible.

      The worst outcome would be if the STAP cells really do exist but was the result of sloppy technique and sloppy experimental documentation while having the paper also involve fraud. Under those conditions nobody else would be able to reproduce it since they would not make the same mistakes and the fraud involved would mean that it would be very hard for others to try similar experiments to figure out what really happened. If all we had was a shoddy experiment that happened to work but not fraud involved then there would be a LOT of work to figure out what really happened. This is why I hate all the cheating in scientific papers, not only does it damage that paper it also damages that entire line of inquiry.

    • Re:Disproved? (Score:5, Informative)

      by RDW ( 41497 ) on Monday March 24, 2014 @07:34PM (#46569613)

      No, the results are not disproven and certainly not shown to be fabricated, though you could be forgiven for thinking otherwise after the feeding frenzy about this paper on the internet. There are certainly grounds for scepticism, though. We'll have to wait until this has been thoroughly tested using the more detailed protocols that have now been made available before we can call it one way or the other.

    • The first author's thesis had some plagiarism in it, that's a definite no-no but doesn't affect the science here per se, only the credibility. There are concerns over some of the figures, but I think the consensus is it's more likely just weird editing than fabrication: the images don't appear shopped, there's one image in particular that looks poorly compressed.

      The biggest issue that is concrete is that the method was promoted as a super easy way to get stem cells pluripotent, so immediately many lab
  • Did I write down 'acid'? I meant 'base'. I'm always getting those two confused!

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