‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the clinic
Not a creature was stirring, not even a cynic;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with flare,
In hopes that healing soon would be there;
The patients were nestled all snug in their beds;
While visions of stem cells danced in their heads;
And mamma in her lab coat, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our cells for a long winter’s nap,
When in the incubator there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bench to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the door and threw up the sash.
The flasks on the breast of the new metal shelf,
Gave a luster of midday to the object itself,
When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
But a colony formation and eight tiny stem cells so dear,
With my little old scope so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment they must attach and stick.
More rapid than eagles their tendrils they came,
And I whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the flask! To the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”
As cells that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the flask top the stem cells they flew
With the cell full of DNA, and RNA too—
And then, in a twinkling, I saw on the scope
The prancing and pawing of each little cell a lope.
As I upped the mag, and was scanning around,
One stem cell popped free of the colony with a bound.
It was dressed all in lipids and receptors, from his head to his foot,
And it’s nucleus was all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of proteins it flung on his back,
And it looked like a pedler just opening his pack.
Its membrane—how it twinkled! It’s dimples, how merry!
It vesicles were like roses, it’s golgi like cherries!
Its little nucleolus was drawn up like a bow,
And the cytoskeleton inside was as white as the snow;
The stump of a protein it held in it’s ribosome,
And the fine particles, they encircled it’s body head like a lysosome;
It had a broad footprint and a little round belly
That shook when I bumped it, like a bowl full of jelly.
It was chubby and plump, a right jolly old cell,
And I laughed when I saw it, in spite of my self;
A wink of my eye and a twist of my head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
I spoke not a word, but went straight to my work,
And filled all the flasks; then turned with a jerk,
And laying my finger aside of my nose,
And giving a nod, up from the bench I rose;
I sprang to my car, and gave it a whistle,
And away I flew home like the down of a thistle.
But I heard the cell exclaim, ere I drove out of sight—
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”
About the Author
Christopher J. Centeno, M.D. is an international expert and specialist in regenerative medicine and the clinical use of mesenchymal stem cells in orthopedics. He is board certified in physical medicine as well as rehabilitation and in pain management through The American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.…