January 23, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

IPS cells

3 min read

In a major first for the stem cell and regenerative medicine fields, a patient in Japan today received a pioneering transplant of a retinal pigmented epithelial (RPE) sheet made from induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, also known by the acronym IPSC. This is the first ever iPS cell-based transplant into a human. The patient is reported to be a 70-something Japanese woman suffering from macular degeneration and the procedure was performed by Dr. Yasuo Kurimoto and other specialists. I highly recommend the article by …Read More

2 min read

A mysterious organization called BioGatekeeper, Inc. has filed a legal challenge to the Yamanaka Patent seeking to cancel it (for more on this see here and here). The technology to change just about any human cell into a super powerful kind of stem cell called induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells or iPSC) has great potential not only to help millions of patients, but also to make companies millions or even billions of dollars. Many scientists have been on the trail of cellular reprogramming, …Read More

3 min read

A new patent dispute has exploded in the stem cell field related to induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. What’s going on? In 2006, Shinya Yamanaka reported cellular reprogramming to create mouse induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells in Cell and the next year multiple groups along with Yamanaka’s reported creating human iPS cells. It’s no exaggeration to say this was a blockbuster development for the cell and developmental biology fields and Yamanaka later went on to win the Nobel Prize for this discovery. Another element …Read More

3 min read

A new patent has been awarded to James Sherley for a very unusual method claimed for making induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. The patent, No. 8,759,098, claims that a single non-genetic chemical agent, xanthine, can by itself reprogram adult stem cells (ASC) into iPS cells (aka iPSCs; see image they released at left). Surprising patent, huh? Another notable element to this patent story is the identity of the patentee: Dr. James L. Sherley. Sherley fought a court battle (Sherley v Sebelius) with the Obama administration seeking to ban all …Read More

5 min read

In the interview below I talk with Dr. Masayo Takahashi, who is leading a team conducting the first ever in-human clinical study based on iPS cells. The work began with patient enrollment on Aug. 1, 2013 in Japan. 1. Can you tell us a bit about your background? As an M.D./Ph.D. and ophthalmologist do you also see patients in addition to doing research? How did you first get interested in stem cells? Are your interests primarily in iPS cells? Yes, I have outpatient clinics in …Read More

3 min read

In a shocker, Japan’s 2nd largest newspaper, Asahi Shimbun, published an editorial yesterday  saying that iPS cells are being pushed too fast to the clinic for economic reasons. The piece was bluntly entitled “Too much of a rush for clinical trials with iPS cells”. Asahi Shimbun, with a circulation of 10 million, is taking a bold step in questioning whether the iPS cell field in Japan might be moving too fast and the non-medical reasons behind that. They start off their piece with a bang …Read More

3 min read

Cellular Dynamics, the stem cell company founded by Dr. James Thomson, is filing for an IPO. Hat tip to David Jensen. The company, which will go under the stock symbol ICEL, is focused on iPS cell-produced products. They describe their portfolio as follows: Cellular Dynamics is developing and deploying a number of cell types derived from induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells in additional to providing custom services to aid in life science research and drug discovery. If you recall, both Thomson and Dr. Shinya Yamanaka …Read More

1 min read

I just closed my blog’s poll on what are the most clinically promising pluripotent stem cells. Why close the poll now less than 12 hours after I opened it instead of leaving the poll open longer? You’ll find out soon enough. I can’t resist teasing you readers sometimes. iPS cells were the big winners in the poll at 48%. Allogeneic human ES cells were 2nd at 28%. In contrast, not a single person voted for SCNT-derived human ES cells. Adult pluripotent stem cells finished …Read More

3 min read

There was a time, not so long ago, when the religious right hailed the discovery of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. Headlines blared from the extreme right on the Internet such as, “Embryonic stem cells obsolete”. Even the same kind of thing, saying, “The stem cell debate is dead”. You see opponents of embryonic stem cells (ES cells) figured that the appearance of iPS cells, made from skin rather than blastocysts leftover from IVF, on the scene could be used as a propaganda weapon …Read More

2 min read

If you are wondering, “How will iPS cells get to help patients?” part of the answer is perhaps the big player and Japanese Institution, Riken and its arm Retina Institute of Japan. The stem cell field is still abuzz about induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells 7 years after their discovery. This amazing embryonic stem cell-like cells can be made with no embryo and have the potential for truly patient specific therapies as well as dish-in-a-dish modeling and drug discovery.   iPS cells are being commercialized and …Read More