DAVID GRANOVSKY

Posts Tagged ‘RIKEN’

JAPAN TO HOLD FIRST STEM CELL CLINICAL TRIAL

In ALL ARTICLES, SCIENCE & STEM CELLS, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on February 15, 2013 at 9:00 am

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World’s first stem cell clinical trial

Researchers in Japan are looking to use the recent discoveries of Nobel Prize winning Shinya Yamanaka to treat a degenerative eye disease in what would be the world’s first clinical trial of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells). An ethics committee at the Institute for Biomedical Research and Innovation gave its approval this week for the trial, meaning work could begin as early as the 2013 fiscal year.

Scientists plan to use iPS cells in a therapy for age-related macular degeneration, or vision loss. The trial will be conducted by a team led by Dr. Masayo Takahashi, and will be done in cooperation with Riken, a scientific research foundation affiliated with Japan’s Ministry of Science and Technology.

Age-related macular degeneration mostly occurs in people who are middle-aged or older, and, if left untreated, often leads to blindness. The current drugs on the market are known for only treating symptoms and not fighting the disease itself. The goal of the clinical trial is to create retinal cell sheets from iPS cells, which take the form of any other cells from the body, and transplant them into patients’ eyes. Six patients, all aged 50 or older and for whom existing drugs do not work, will be chosen from the institute’s hospital and, if successful, have corrected vision below 0.3 on the Japanese scale. The Japanese government has already stated it will be spending 110 billion yen (approx. $1.18 billion) over the next 10 years to sponsor research on the application of iPS cells.

“Japan is yet another country that has envisioned the potential stem cell therapies hold for regenerative medicine. ” – DG

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KILLER T-CELLS PRODUCED TO ATTACK DISEASE

In ALL ARTICLES, SCIENCE & STEM CELLS, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on January 14, 2013 at 9:00 am

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Cells Grown By Japanese Researchers Kills Cancer

A team of researchers from both the University of Tokyo and the Riken Research Centre for Allergy and Immunology may have found a cure for HIV and Cancer. The research team was able to “extract live T-cells, the vital powerhouses of the human immune system, from patients, specifically targeting specialized cytotoxic T-cells which have the ability to recognize and attack signs of infection.  Researchers then converted the T-cells back to induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) by exposing them to a group of compounds called the “Yamanaka factors,” in part so they could study the stem cells’ differentiation processes. Then the team reconverted the stem cells back into specialized disease-fighters, the T-cells known as “killer T-cells”or “killer T lymphocytes.” Among other critical findings, researchers discovered that the skin-cancer fighting T-cells remained capable of producing the crucial anti-tumor compound interferon.

“Stem cells can be grown at a much faster pace in a laboratory than in the human body, enabling researchers to create killer T lymphocytes that are—at least theoretically—ready for therapeutic human injection.”

“While the iPS cells did reconvert back into their original specializations, it’s unsure whether lab-grown cells will behave similarly to the immune system’s own disease-fighters when injected into the human body. Furthermore, the risk of rejection is high when cells from one patient are grown and converted for use in another.  Perhaps most importantly, it’s hard to predict whether cells that fight cancer in the lab will restrict their deadly effects to cancer cells in the body. Lead researcher Hiroshi Kawamoto, in a press release from the Riken Center, states, “the next step will be to test whether these T cells can selectively kill tumor cells but not other cells in the body.” It’s possible that lab-grown cells could attack normal, healthy human cells after therapeutic injection.  But medical and scientific experts remain cautiously optimistic.

“A lot of work needs to be done before we can think about clinical trials, but the initial data are promising.” Said Dr. Dusko Ilic, Senior Lecturer in Stem Cell Science, King’s College London.

The main challenge researchers face is the cost of producing large amounts of killer T lymphocytes safely. Numerous expensive confirmatory studies and trials will need to be conducted before the new therapy is approved for human use.

“The implications for the health of humankind, on the other hand, are immediate, and clear. If science has indeed provided a novel means of fighting our most persistent and deadly infections, untold amounts of suffering could be mitigated—and, ultimately, eradicated.”

http://www.usnewsuniversitydirectory.com/articles/cells-grown-by-japanese-researchers-kills-cancer_12861.aspx#.UPNh2GeAoTA

STEM CELLS TECHNOLOGY HARNESSES POTENTIAL TO USE A PATIENTS IMMUNE CELLS TO FIGHT DISEASE

In ALL ARTICLES, SCIENCE & STEM CELLS, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on January 5, 2013 at 10:22 am

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“In two separate papers contained in the January 4th issue of the Cell Press Journal, Scientists in Japan have used old immune T-cells and regenerated them into T-cells that multiplied in greater numbers, had longer life spans and showed a greater ability to target diseased cells in HIV-infected cells and cancer cells. These discoveries could lead to more effective immune therapies.”

STEM CELLS TECHNOLOGY HARNESSES POTENTIAL TO USE A PATIENTS IMMUNE CELLS TO FIGHT DISEASE

The human body contains immune cells programmed to fight cancer and viral infections, but they often have short life spans and are not numerous enough to overcome attacks by particularly aggressive malignancies or invasions.

The techniques the groups employed involved using known factors to revert mature immune T cells into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), which can differentiate into virtually any of the body’s different cell types. The researchers then expanded these iPSCs and later coaxed them to re-differentiate back into T cells. Importantly, the newly made T cells were “rejuvenated” with increased growth potential and lifespan, while retaining their original ability to target cancer and HIV-infected cells. These findings suggest that manipulating T cells using iPSC techniques could be useful for future development of more effective immune therapies.

In one study, investigators used T cells from an HIV-infected patient. The re-differentiated cells they generated had an unlimited lifespan and contained long telomeres, or caps, on the ends of their chromosomes, which protect cells from aging. This is significant because normal aging of T cells limits their expansion, making them inefficient as therapies. “The system we established provides ‘young and active’ T cells for adoptive immunotherapy against viral infection or cancers,” says senior author Dr. Hiromitsu Nakauchi, of the University of Tokyo.

The other research team focused on T cells from a patient with malignant melanoma. The re-differentiated cells they created recognized the protein MART-1, which is commonly expressed on melanoma tumors. “The next step we are going to do is examine whether these regenerated T cells can selectively kill tumor cells but not other healthy tissues. If such cells are developed, these cells might be directly applied to patients,” says senior author Dr. Hiroshi Kawamoto, of the RIKEN Research Center for Allergy and Immunology. “This could be realized in the not-so-distant future.”

http://www.sciencedaily.com

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