January 23, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

macular degeneration

2 min read

Masayo Takahashi is a leading stem cell researcher doing translational and clinical research on vision. She’s doing pioneering work on using pluripotent stem cells as a basis for helping patients with vision loss such as due to macular degeneration. She won The Niche’s Stem Cell Person of the Year Award in 2014 and a number of other awards. Last week I did a post on some exciting new clinical trial work starting here in the US by the NIH/NEI, and that sparked a great …Read More

2 min read

In a surprise, Dr. Masayo Takahashi has announced that she has left RIKEN. Takahashi indicates she will be new President of a company called Vision Care, Inc. as part of the Kobe Eye Center. I’ve pasted a picture of Takahashi’s Tweet with translation more toward the bottom of the post. A big thanks to Piero Carninci, a biologist at RIKEN, for the heads up on this news. I’m sure they are very sad to see her go, but wish her the best! Here is …Read More

3 min read

Do stem cells for vision loss offer real hope? I believe so, but it’s a long road and must be done right. A new paper in this area generated some buzz on top of an earlier recent pub (mentioned in this post) just a week or so ago about the potential of stem cells for vision loss. The new paper is entitled, “A bioengineered retinal pigment epithelial monolayer for advanced, dry age-related macular degeneration” and is Kashani, et al. They generated special eye cells called retinal …Read More

1 min read

Advanced Cell Technology (ACT) has confirmed that one of the patient in a clinical trial that it is running for treatment of macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness worldwide, has shown a striking improvement in vision. The patient reportedly had 20/400 vision prior to treatment and now has 20/40 vision after treatment. ACT uses an embryonic stem cell-based therapy composed of retinal pigmented epithelial cells. The improvement in vision is unlikely to be due to chance, however it is still unclear how promising this …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

6 min read

When are iPS cell-based therapies ready to be tested in actual people? It’s the million or perhaps even billion dollar question of today in the stem cell field. I realize that perhaps it is also a dangerous question, politically-speaking, for me to ask in a public forum, but patient lives as well as potentially the progress of the entire iPS cell field are at stake. So someone needs to start an open discussion about this topic. People are certainly talking about it behind the …Read More