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New method makes stem cells in about 30 minutes, scientists report http://www.latime

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    New method makes stem cells in about 30 minutes, scientists report http://www.latime

    e simplicity of the technique, which Obokata and her colleagues dubbed stimulus triggered acquisition of pluripotency, or STAP, caught many experts off-guard.

    ?So you mistreat cells under the right conditions and they assume a different state of differentiation? It?s remarkable,? said Rudolf Jaenisch, a pioneering stem cell researcher at MIT who was not involved in the study. ?Let?s see whether it works in human cells, and there?s no reason why it shouldn?t.?

    Obokata said that researchers had already begun experiments on human cells, but offered no details.

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    This article also discusses turning skin cells into pluripotent stem cells:

    A team of Japanese and American scientists converted human skin cells into stem cells using the same simple approach that had astonished scientists around the world last month when they announced that they had converted blood cells of mice into stem cells by bathing them in a weak solution of citric acid for 30 minutes.
    The scientist who instigated the research programme more than a decade ago said that he now has overwhelming evidence that the same technique can be used to create embryonic-like stem cells from human skin cells.
    "We have strong evidence that we have now made human stem cells by the same technique used on mouse cells and it suggests that there is probably a parallel process going on. I'm 98 per cent comfortable with the results so far."


      MMmmmmm McCells.
      And the truth shall set you free.


        Uh Oh. This just came out in Scientific American.
        A research institute is launching an inquiry after allegations of irregularities in two blockbuster papers

        Feb 18, 2014 |By David Cyranoski and Nature magazine
        mouse embryo

        The controversial work involved a mouse embryo injected with cells made pluripotent through stress.
        Credit: Haruko Obokata
        A leading Japanese research institute has opened an investigation into a groundbreaking stem-cell study after concerns were raised about its credibility.

        The RIKEN center in Kobe announced on Friday that it is looking into alleged irregularities in the work of biologist Haruko Obokata, who works at the institution. She shot to fame last month as the lead author on two papers published in Nature that demonstrated a simple way to reprogram mature mice cells into an embryonic state by simply applying stress, such as exposure to acid or physical pressure on cell membranes. The RIKEN investigation follows allegations on blog sites about the use of duplicated images in Obokata?s papers, and numerous failed attempts to replicate her results.

        Cells in an embryonic state can turn into the various types of cells that make up the body, and are therefore an ideal source of patient-specific cells. They can be used to study the development of disease or the effectiveness of drugs and could also be transplanted to regenerate failing organs. A consistent and straightforward path to reprogramming mature cells was first demonstrated in 2006, when a study showed that the introduction of four genes could switch the cells into an embryonic form known as induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. The introduction of genes, however, introduces uncertainties about the fidelity of the cells, and Obokata?s reports that the feat could be done so simply were met with awe, and a degree of scepticism (see 'Acid bath offers easy path to stem cells').

        That scepticism deepened last week when blogs such as PubPeer started noting what seem to be problems in the two Nature papers and in an earlier paper from 2011, which relates to the potential of stem cells in adult tissues. In the 2011 paper, on which Obokata is first author, a figure showing bars meant to prove the presence of a certain stem-cell marker appears to have been inverted and then used to show the presence of a different stem-cell marker. A part of that same image appears in a different figure indicating yet another stem-cell marker. The paper contains another apparent unrelated duplication.

        The corresponding author of that study, Charles Vacanti, an anaesthesiologist at Harvard Medical School in Boston, told Nature that he learned only last week of a ?mix up of some panels?. He has already contacted the journal to request a correction. ?It certainly appears to have been an honest mistake [that] did not affect any of the data, the conclusions or any other component of the paper,? says Vacanti.

        The problems in the two recent Nature papers, on both of which Obokata is a corresponding author (Vacanti is a co-author on both, and corresponding author on one), also relate to images. In one paper, one of the sections in a genomic analysis in the first figure appears to be spliced in. In the other paper, images of two placentas meant to be from different experiments look strikingly similar.

        Teruhiko Wakayama, a cloning specialist at Yamanashi University in Yamanashi prefecture, is a co-author on both of the papers and took most of the placental images. He admits that the two look similar but says it may be a case of simple confusion. Wakayama, who left RIKEN during the preparation of the manuscript, says he sent more than a hundred images to Obokata and suggests that there was confusion over which to use. He says he is now looking into the problem.

        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.




          A Japanese scientist behind a
          seemingly groundbreaking stem cell study says the findings should be withdrawn
          amid doubts over its quality.

          It was reported in January that dipping cells in acid could cheaply and quickly
          convert them into stem cells.

          But questions were raised about the images used in the scientific report and
          other research groups have failed to reproduce the results.


            wise, I never understood why a researcher would fabricate results. I mean you're pretty much guaranteed to get found out over time? Right?
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              Originally posted by lunasicc42 View Post
              wise, I never understood why a researcher would fabricate results. I mean you're pretty much guaranteed to get found out over time? Right?
              Well, maybe not. Woosuk Huang thought that he could get away with it when he reported the first successful cloning of human embryonic stem cells. He had already successfully cloned dog embryonic stem cells. So, everybody believed that he could do it. He then faked the experiment, conveniently lost all cells by claiming a power failure, and therefore cannot provide the cells for others to test. It set off a flurry of efforts around the world to replicate his claim. Eventually somebody would have achieved the cloning (after all, they have cloned sheep, cows, dogs... why not humans?) using similar techniques. In the meantime, he would have gotten all the credit and fame. He even made sure that the experiments were done by different people so that nobody knew what was happening except for him.

              But, you are right with your question. You wonder how anybody can think that they can get away with it. A lot of scientists will be trying to replicate this technique and, if it is fraudulent or untrue, someone would eventually find out. It is such a risky thing to do. That is why many people don't believe that Obokata is making it up. The behavior of RIKEN (Obokata's research institution) also suggest that they don't think that the data was fabricated. Let us hope that it is not.





                Interesting development on this issue can be found here...


                  In an article entitled "Stem-cell method faces fresh questions", journalist David Cyranoski wrote on 18 March 2014 that questions have been raised about Haruko Obokata's doctoral dissertation and the cells used in the study. RIKEN, the institute where Obokata works, announced interim findings of their investigation. The investigative panel, composed of five people including the director of RIKEN and Nobel-winner Ryoji Noyori noted six problems. Two of the problems were considered unintentional mistakes. Four of the problems were deemed more serious but the panel deemed that there were no signs of fraud. Three co-authors of the paper have already agreed to retract the paper but Charles Vacanti, the senior corresponding author has indicated that he will not retract the paper unless there is compelling evidence that the data is incorrect.

                  To compound the problem, the first 20-pages of Obokata's thesis was found to be copied for an NIH primer for stem cells and one image for the results section of the thesis was copied from a commercial web site without citation. Last week, Obokata wrote to her professor at Waseda University and asked to retract her dissertation.

                  In the meantime, a senior collaborator that injected the STAP cells into mice to show that they are pluripotent has sent the cells to be investigated by another laboratory to find out what cells were injected.