January 25, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

Masayo Takahashi (高橋 政代)

3 min read

Clinical trials using organoids are still rare and a Clinicaltrials.gov search for such organoid work largely brings up in vitro studies. A new clinical study in Japan where organoid material will actually be transplanted into patients is causing a lot of excitement. Masayo Takahashi (高橋 政代) is a pioneer in stem cell-based clinical trial work and more specifically induced pluripotent stem cell (IPSC)-based trials. Her new clinical study is another groundbreaking step in that it is organoid based, in this case for Retinitis pigmentosa. …Read More

4 min read

By Agnes Soos Amid the hustle and bustle of downtown Boston, nearly four thousand researchers and exhibitors gathered for the 15th Annual ISSCR Meeting. With presentations from over thirty plenary lectures, and dozens of others featured in concurrent sessions and the daily Innovation Showcases, there definitely was no shortage of exciting research to discover and discuss. There was a record number of exhibitors this year with over 150 companies set up in Exhibit Hall. Added to this, the always-busy Meet-Up Hubs, the job boards …Read More

2 min read

It’s been a long road, but the first ever IPS cell clinical study in humans is starting up again in a new incarnation. You might say it has been regenerated in a novel form. Masayo Takahashi (高橋 政代) first started the pioneering IPS cell study a few years back in 2014, but it ended up getting put on hold in the summer of 2015 in the midst of changing regs in Japan and the discovery of some mutations in the IPS cell derivatives. About …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

Something very unusual and positive just happened at this year’s ISSCR meeting. Every year in December I give out an award for the Stem Cell Person of the Year to the individual with the strongest positive impact in the stem cell field generated specifically from outside-the-box thinking and actions. Dr. Jeanne Loring was the recipient in 2015. The award comes with a $2,000 prize that I pay myself. Jeanne declined it, but that money is now going to support an innovative Parkinson’s patient research group called Summit for …Read More

1 min read

Some good news today as the pioneering induced pluripotent stem (IPS) cell trial led by Dr. Masayo Takahashi will resume. This clinical study with a focus on macular degeneration has been on hold for quite some time due to regulatory changes in Japan. There had also been concerns over mutations in the 2nd patient’s IPS cell product. As previous signs had indicated, the new clinical work will have an allogeneic focus, most likely drawing IPS cells from a bank. According to a Japan Times …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

2 min read

It’s time for The Niche 4th annual Stem Cell Person of the Year Award process to start. Please send me your nominations for the person you think had the biggest positive impact in the stem cell and regenerative medicine world in 2015. This award is unique in a number of ways. For example, anyone in the world is eligible to be nominated: both scientists and non-scientists alike. The nominee should also be someone who thought outside the box and took risks, which are novel areas of …Read More

1 min read

The winner of the inaugural Ogawa-Yamanaka Prize is Masayo Takahashi, MD, PhD. According to the Gladstone Institute press release, “Dr. Takahashi was awarded the prize for her trailblazing work leading the first clinical trial to use induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells in humans.” The prize, including a $150,000 cash award, will be given at a ceremony next week at the Gladstone on September 16. If you are interested in listening in, you can register for the webcast here. Dr. Takahashi started the first ever human …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