January 18, 2021

The Niche

Trusted stem cell blog & resources

Masayo Takahashi

7 min read

IPS cell research is a growing area of promise for regenerative medicine. These stem cells, also known as iPSCs or more formally as Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells, are engineered cells that are programmed to function the same way as embryonic stem cells. They can be differentiated into possibly any type of cell that is needed for therapeutic purposes. Since iPSC production was first reported by Shinya Yamanaka using mouse and human cells in 2006 and 2007, respectively, cells from a whole host of species have …Read More

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

By Jeanne Loring What can you do with cells that live forever and can make every cell type in the body?  The answer is: remarkable things, as new reports of clinical trials using cell types derived from pluripotent stem cells indicate. Pluripotent stem cells are either derived from embryos donated from IVF procedures (human embryonic stem cells- hESCs) or from cells provided by a person, usually blood or skin (induced pluripotent stem cells- iPSCs).  The stem cells are never used for transplantation; instead, they …Read More

2 min read

In the past month or two there has been a steady stream of good news in the stem cell and regenerative medicine world. Here are three examples. Fate Therapeutics announced the first US IND for an induced pluripotent stem cell (IPSC)-related product. Its cleared product, FT500, is an off-the-shelf natural killer-based cancer immunotherapy. I expect more to come in the next couple years so good news now and likely more to come. IPSC-based trials are picking up in Japan too with trials related to …Read More

2 min read

Where do things stand with IPS cell translational research? The newest development is that regulators in Japan just have given conditional approval to an Osaka University team to an induced pluripotent stem (IPS) cell-based study for ischemic heart disease. For years IPS cell-based products have been on-again off-again in active clinical study for macular degeneration, work led by Dr. Masayo Takahashi. The new heart disease study is led by Yoshiki Sawa. This appears to be the third conditionally approved IPS cell study in Japan. I’m not …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

3 min read

A team of researchers at RIKEN and Kobe City Medical Center reported at a press conference today a serious adverse event in a clinical trial participant receiving an induced pluripotent stem cell (IPS cell)-based therapy for vision loss. According to Japan Times and Yahoo! Japan (in Japanese), the patient in question in the IPS cell trial for macular degeneration developed a problem with his eye following the cell transplant. From Yahoo! Japan: “The patient had an operation on Monday to remove pre-retinal membrane, deemed to …Read More

4 min read

Every year I look into my stem cell crystal ball and make predictions for our field including regenerative medicine. Well, I don’t really look into a crystal ball, but I try to use a combination of what I’m hearing through the grapevine, stuff I’m reading, some info that is not yet in the public domain, and common sense to make predictions. Today’s post has my 20 predictions for next year, 2018. You can see my 2017 predictions and my grading of how I did here. …Read More

2 min read

The votes are in and the community has picked its top 10 Stem Cell Person of the Year Award finalists. Both the 20 nominees and now the 10 finalists are a diverse group. The finalists include six women and four men, from five countries and four different continents. We also got votes from readers of the blog from 32 different countries spanning every continent, which is exciting. This year’s finalists are mostly scientists, but it’s a diverse group that also includes advocates and the top vote …Read More