January 23, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

Japan stem cells

3 min read

Every so often I realize I’ve accumulated a bunch of tabs on my browsers of things I need to dive into as time permits, which sometimes translates into a collection of recommended reads here on The Niche. Here are some recommended recent reads in the stem cell/regenerative medicine field and childhood cancer space. It includes some great science and complex social and policy developments and opinions. ‘I just want to live’: California man pleads with scientists around the world to ‘CRISPR me’. Remarkably this …Read More

2 min read

Japan is a leader in stem cell and regenerative medicine research, and in particular in clinical translation toward the bedside. Induced pluripotent stem cell (IPSC)-based investigational therapies are rightly an area of focus in Japan given their invention by Nobel Laureate Shinya Yamanaka. Small clinical studies based on IPSC have been initiated there for several diseases including related to vision loss and Parkinson’s Disease. David Cyranoski over at Nature reports on a new, different stem cell clinical effort in Japan for vision loss with …Read More

4 min read

There is real hope for treating spinal cord injury with stem cell-based therapies in the future. However, unfortunately regulators in Japan have taken a major misstep in approving a not-ready-for-primetime mesenchymal stem cell (MSC)-based approach to spinal cord injury. Their decision is dangerous and unwise. In a Nature piece (linked to above) by David Cyranoski we learn that the MSC therapy in question is still unproven. There are only limited data available to support it, which are not from rigorous studies. The claimed outcomes …Read More

4 min read

For a long time at the end of each year, I’ve been making stem cell predictions for the coming year. Most often I’ve been making a “top 20” list of predictions and today’s post has my list for 2019. You can see how I did for 2018 here, which might have been my best year ever for predictions. We’ll see if I can match that here for 2019. I doubt it. However, I do think my prediction that 2019 will be the worst year …Read More

2 min read

A much-anticipated induced pluripotent stem (IPS) cell trial for Parkinson’s Disease reportedly will soon launch led by Professor Jun Takahashi. The news broke on Yahoo Japan, which included an unusual number of appropriately sober statements regarding the trial, even though it is an exciting trial as well, compared to most media stories on stem cells. Parkinson’s Disease is a result of a loss of dopaminergic neurons in the brain so it is a particularly attractive target disease for stem cells, which can be readily …Read More

3 min read

I have a new Cell Stem Cell piece out today that aims to take stock of today’s stem cell regulatory oversight in the U.S., Japan, and elsewhere including Australia, Canada and India. I use a carrot and stick metaphor for encouraging legit research and taking regulatory action on serious non-compliant activities, respectively. Where is stem cell oversight today? Too much stem cell carrot and not enough stick? Some would probably say too little carrot and too much stick? Given how the stem cell arena can …Read More

3 min read

The Japan stem cell and regenerative medicine oversight system has been designed to move investigational therapies forward fast, much faster than the systems in other countries such as the U.S. But how well is it working so far? It’s an important question both for that country and more globally as the Japanese system was touted by some as a model and a reason why the U.S., to remain more competitive in this industry. Some of the same folks felt that the U.S. should also …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

1 min read

The past few weeks have brought some exciting, thought-provoking stem cell papers and developments in the regenerative medicine field. Here’s a list of stem cell papers in the media that struck me as particularly cool along with some other developments in the field. Human Stem Cells Fight Parkinson’s Disease in Monkeys Organoids Reveal Clues to Gut-Brain Communication (see image) Stimulation of 3D osteogenesis by mesenchymal stem cells using a nanovibrational bioreactor Health Canada investigates Canadian stem cell clinics Stem cells: Japan’s scientific ‘moonshot’ – Financial …Read More

3 min read

Traditional clinical trials have four phases. Each phase plays an important, unique role in testing whether new drug products are safe and effective as well as how they compare to the standard of care. Today in the stem cell field across the globe, the Phase III is under fire including what some might call friendly fire from some academics even. For instance in Japan and now in the US, there has been pressure to drop the requirement for Phase III in certain cases. Japan …Read More