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  1. This is a personal view. When we look at scientific evidences on these MUSE cells, we don’t have much, if not some presentations at congresses including domestic (i.e., in Japan). The trials is in collaboration with Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings, which means the cells might have been in the private domain (secrecy agreement between Tohoku U and MCH) , or the whole thing receive a somewhat privileged handling by the government since it received the MoE grant (KAKEN) , (3 years fundamental research grant (A), No. 17H01583, 01.04.2017 to 31.03.2020, amount=42,770k Yen, approx. 393k USD). Not a humongous amount but a 3-years gov’t grant anyway.
    Is the Japanese govt so much in a hurry to find a novelty in the stem cell area, despite Yamanaka said the iPS/stem cell research is in its scientific “valley period” representing the years required to ascertain the applicability of an in vitro/in vivo/ex vivo preclinical finding-base technique to a clinical trial?
    I really don’t know what to say if not pointing our the sheer lack of scientific evidence supporting the portability of the therapeutic to humans, notwithstanding the lack of data supporting the well-established nature of the MUSE cells.
    Now, what will happen? Only the future will tell, and hopefully before any harm is done…

    • Maybe there is a corporate proprietary element here. But if you look at their online protocol for MUSE, on first glance it seems like anybody could get these pluripotent cells from many tissues and cell lines: http://www.stemcells.med.tohoku.ac.jp/english/protocol/pdf/Muse_protocol.pdf.
      However, digging deeper into the protocol there are many caveats and warnings (places saying “ATTENTION!” in red) about using only certain antibodies, only certain passages or cells, and so on. This makes me less confident in these cells. For example, this statement to me seems counterintuitive, “ATTENTION! Different from the subculture of mesenchymal stem cells described above, the mesenchymal stem cells must reach 100% confluence just before collecting Muse cells by FACS. If mesenchymal stem cells were under or over 100% confluence, the yield of Muse cells will be substantially decreased.” Overall, I have a lot of doubts.

  2. Agreed. I should have said things more bluntly…
    Please excuse my Japanese habit to expect people to read between the lines (bad habit in science, indeed).
    After reading the protocol, the culture is very tricky to say the least, depending on multiple factors (reagents, etc) not controllable until tested. How such protocol could meet the ICH requirements as regards the clinical drug supply and their quality assurance: the whole thing looks unreliable enough not to proceed to a clinical trial at all. The culture protocol must be much improved so that it will offer a stable and high enough a yield, without which the scale-up from the research lab level to clinical drug production level looks compromised to say the least.
    Is the sponsor happy that the whole thing is difficult to reproduce but by the original inventor for the sake of both monoploy and secrecy, I don’t know.
    But such attitude seems devoid of any sense if they are unable to bring it to an industrial scale to meet the market demand. The Tohoku U researchers would have to delegate the task of cultivating the cells since it is certainly not within their competence to grow them at a pharma production site with all the QA/GMP tasks it implies.

  3. You need to talk to Dr. Neil Riordan about these “golden cells” that he uses in his world famous clinic in Panama. I was told his “golden cells” were MUSE cells.

  4. Whenever somebody starts basing a new miracle anything on adult stem cells… I think we’re leaving the field of science and getting into the influence of politics and religion. This doesn’t mean that political and religious ideas are somehow direct influences (which wouldn’t make sense in Japan anyway), but that we can trace back the need to use adult stem cells rather than any other kind to those indirect influences. These are situations that date back many, many years and are the result of so many different factors that have fed into them that… again, we’re out of the realm of hard science here. But without them, we’d probably already have effective stem cell treatments for many chronic degenerative conditions. Would anybody really be trying to get effective treatments out of adult stem cells if we didn’t have the specter of religious and political influences hanging over our heads??

  5. Hi fellows

    I dived into the Medline. MUSE cells are described in 66 publications of which 40 are original articles and 26 are review articles. Not the usual distribution of articles. It might points at an effort to leverage on small amount of data. On the other hand, of the original papers, 22 came out of Dezawa lab but 18 were authored by others. Of these 9 are products of Japanese groups and 5 are from China. Each of the following countries – Argentina, Egypt, Italy and USA (Stanford) – contributed one paper to the growing list. Certainly, this is STAP not the situation similar with the STAP swamp. More independent research is requested before we can come to a clearer conclusion.

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