January 23, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

IPS cells

4 min read

What happens following pluripotent stem cell transplants into the brain? Are human IPS and ES cells going to function similarly in this context? We recently published a new translational paper on the behavior of human pluripotent stem cells when transplanted into the adult mouse brain in collaboration with my great UC Davis colleague, Dr. Veronica Martinez-Cerdeno. Martinez-Cerdeno V, Barrilleaux B, McDonough A, Ariza J, Yuen B, Somanath P, Le C, Steward C, Horton K, Knoepfler P. Behavior of xeno-transplanted undifferentiated human induced pluripotent stem cells is …Read More

4 min read

Has it really been 10 years since induced pluripotent stem cells (aka IPS cells or IPSC) came onto the scene in the stem cell field? Yes, it was a decade ago that now Nobel Laureate Shinya Yamanaka (山中伸弥) published that seminal Cell paper on reprogramming to make mouse IPS cells and then human IPS cells came the next year. From the moment I read that first mouse IPS cell paper, I was very excited about the science and the ideas in it. The domain …Read More

2 min read

What’s better for stem cell trials such as for vision loss or Parkinson’s Disease: allogeneic or autologous cells? In a major shift earlier this year, the induced pluripotent stem (IPS) cell trial in Japan for treatment of macular degeneration (MD) switched gears from using the patients’ own cells (called “autologous”) to using banked cells from other people, termed “allogeneic”. Dr. Masayo Takahashi, the leader of this MD trial indicated the main reason was due to regulatory changes related to stem cells in Japan. This …Read More

3 min read

Can cells produced from autologous induced pluripotent stem cell (IPSC or IPS cell) cultures sometimes be immunogenic in patients? This key question has remained somewhat unsettled due to varied findings over the years (e.g. see here), but many of us had generally felt in the last couple years that IPS cell derivative immunogenicity in an autologous context wouldn’t be a major problem. This is a big deal because if human IPS cell cultures and in particular their derivatives are immunogenic (sparking a major immune …Read More

3 min read

As many of you know, the pioneering, first of its kind IPS cell clinical study in Japan has been suspended as I first blogged about here.2020 Update: I believe a version of this study is ongoing. In the comments section of that blog post there has been a helpful overall discussion that has involved Dr. Masayo Takahashi, the leader of the IPS cell trial. It is great that Dr. Takahashi has been participating in this discussion and I commend her for that openness. This …Read More

2 min read

The pioneering induced pluripotent stem cell (IPSC) clinical study in Japan led by top stem cell clinical researcher Dr. Masayo Takahashi has been stopped reports the WSJ in Japan. This development is confirmed by other sources and in a PDF report by RIKEN (in Japanese here). One patient was transplanted in September 2014 with their own IPSC-derived retinal pigment epithelial cells (using an innovative RPE sheet, see image) for treatment of macular degeneration. The study then moved on to a possible second patient, whose IPSC did …Read More

4 min read

The big stem cell news already this week is the acquisition by Fujifilm of Cellular Dynamics International (CDI) for a whopping $307 million dollars or about $16.50 per CDI share. You can read the press release here. Update: The entity is now known as Fujifilm Cellular Dynamics. It was less than two years ago that CDI did its IPO with an initial offering of about $46 million. Fujifilm reportedly has a multibillion-dollar war chest for buying into the life sciences sector and a growing interest in regenerative …Read More

2 min read

A cool new paper is out in Stem Cell Reports describing long-term tumorigenicity of human induced pluripotent stem cells (IPSC or IPS cells). See graphical abstract. The potential tumorigenicity of IPSC is a major concern when teams around the world are translating IPSC technology to the bedside. Past studies including one from my own lab have shown that there are some parallels between cellular reprogramming to make IPSC and tumorigenicity. MYC has often been viewed as the likely culprit but this paper expands the potentially …Read More

2 min read

The still mysterious BioGatekeeper had challenged Yamanaka’s IPS cell patent claiming that it was obvious. The potential implications were huge given the commercial interest in translating IPS cell technology. For background see here, here, and here. There’s pretty much zero information on BioGatekeeper otherwise. Despite the potential seriousness of this patent challenge, just a few days ago the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) denied the challenge so for all intents and purposes BioGatekeeper’s effort is dead. A big hat tip to reader Shinsakan. You …Read More

5 min read

I invited Nobel Laureate Shinya Yamanaka to do an interview on the future of clinical translation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC). He provides some intriguing new insights into the iPSC field and the broader stem cell arena. PK: The Takahashi Team’s active Clinical Study using iPSCs to make RPEs to treat Macular Degeneration has generated a great deal of excitement. Can you please share your perspectives on the importance of this work and the team involved?  SY: This is the first study to apply …Read More