January 21, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

Astellas

2 min read

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic there are still some research things we can do including data analysis as well as reading new papers and media articles on science, including regenerative medicine. If the weather’s good and you have wi-fi (or you print articles still on paper) you can even do this out in the fresh air and sunshine, if the weather cooperates. Here are some recommended recent science and regenerative medicine reads. At the end I add what might be the worst case of science …Read More

3 min read

We heard this week about the encouraging news of a new CRISPR-stem cell collaboration between stem cell biotech ViaCyte and CRISPR Therapeutics. The goal of the team is to make genetically engineered pancreatic derivatives from stem cells that would have a unique immune stealthiness. If such an approach was successful, patients would not need to take immunosuppressive drugs. I followed up with five questions for ViaCyte. Their CEO Paul Laikind sent along some answers that provide new, deeper insights. You can see a cool …Read More

2 min read

Stem cell news is always burbling up, sometimes right there in front of us on the web and other times via networks of people. Astellas news. Some may remember there used to be this pioneering stem cell biotech called ACT, which then became Ocata, and finally was acquired by the big company Astellas. One of their areas of focus was on using pluripotent stem cells for macular degeneration. The driving scientific force was (and is) Dr. Robert Lanza. About a year ago I had …Read More

4 min read

Each year I make a list of predictions for the year to come for the stem cell and regenerative medicine field. Then about a year later I grade myself on how I did as that year winds down. Here’s how I did in 2016. For 2017, late in 2016 I made 20 stem cell predictions. Let’s now see how I did. I was wrong on 6 out of the 20 predictions and mostly right on the rest with some others in the middle that I colored …Read More

3 min read

Below are the 2016 stem cell predictions I made last year and their status now color-coded near year’s end. Green is right, orange is mixed bag, and red is flat out wrong. Overall, I did better than most past years with only having entirely blown it on four. Stay tuned later this week for my 2017 predictions, which looks to be a dramatic year in the field of stem cells and regenerative medicine. The Score Card on 2016 Predictions Another stem cell biotech acquisition by pharma …Read More

4 min read

The money behind a piece of legislation can provide unique insights into the back story and this is definitely true for the REGROW Act that would reduce FDA oversight of the investigational use of stem cells in patients. Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois, who is facing probable defeat next week in his reelection bid according to polls, has been the leading backer of the REGROW Act. Kirk has been more in the news of late due to extremely controversial Trump-like comments he made about his …Read More

1 min read

It’s been a busy few weeks for the stem cell field. Below are some news briefs on developments. RetractionWatch reports that Piero Anversa is leaving Harvard/Brigham and Women’s Hospital after an investigation and dismissed lawsuit he filed against the institution. All still quiet on the STAP cell front at the same institutions. There’s some more clarity and confusion over the Japanese regulatory sphere for IPS cells. New regs may not be issued for another 4 or more months, leaving the clinical studies there in …Read More

1 min read

Astellas Pharma is on track to purchase Ocata Therapeutics (formerly Advanced Cell Technology). This has stirred a lot of strong feelings amongst investors in Ocata. (Update, now almost 5 years later, the Ocata vision program is still not going full steam ahead at its new owner it seems). I’ve also been wondering what exactly is Astellas Pharma? Astellas is a giant compared to Ocata with reportedly $11 billion USD in revenue and $1.3 billion in profit just in the year 2013 alone. While Ocata …Read More