“Supreme Court Rules on Stem Cells, $100 Billion Proposed for International Stem Cell Collaboration, Japan to Launch iPSC Therapy Center, and More”
Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are a rapidly evolving area of stem cell science. Since the discovery of the cell type in 2006, there have been several important market events, including the first ever clinical trial in humans which launched in August of 2013 to evaluate the capacity of iPSC-derived cell sheets for their ability to restore vision in patients with wet-type macular degeneration. More recently, the Supreme Court rejected the right of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) to control patents related to iPSC derivation in a landmark patent decision issued in February 2015.
Every month there are major events occurring in the iPSC sector that shift industry dynamics. For those of us interested in the iPSC industry, tracking shifting dynamics is of vital importance. For this reason, this post covers critical iPSC industry events for the week of February 22-28, 2015.
iPSC News Round-Up for February 22-28, 2015
1. $100 Billion for International Stem Cell Program? CIRM’s Klein proposes massive international collaboration [February 22, 2015]
The main architect of California’s groundbreaking 2004 stem cell initiative has proposed a $100 billion international bond program in life sciences, to speed up research and clinical testing of disease therapies. The program would be focused on stem cells and genomics.
Bob Klein, a real estate developer who spearheaded the creation of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, unveiled his proposal at last Thursday’s UCSD Moores Cancer Center symposium. The United States and a few other countries would jump-start the program and other countries would join.
2. Supreme Court Rejects Stem Cell Patent Case [February 24, 2015]
A nine-year legal challenge to human embryonic stem cell patents ended Tuesday, when the Supreme Court declined to hear the case. The decision means the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, or WARF, will get to keep its patent rights for the cells, which were discovered in 1998 by University of Wisconsin – Madison scientist James Thompson.
However, the challengers succeeded in preventing WARF from gaining rights over induced pluripotent stem cells, said Jeanne Loring, a stem cell scientist at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla who was part of a coalition contesting the WARF patents.
Loring and two public interest groups, Consumer Watchdog and the Public Patent Foundation, challenged the patents in 2006, and in 2007 succeeded in narrowing WARF’s claims to exclude the IPS cells.
3. Kyoto University Hospital in Japan to open iPS cell therapy center in 2019 [February 24, 2015]
Kyoto University Hospital in Japan says it will open a center to conduct clinical studies on induced pluripotent stem cell therapies in 2019 year.
Officials said the 30-bed ward will test the efficacy and safety of the therapies on volunteer patients. The hospital aims to break ground at the site next February and complete construction by September 2019.
Ongoing research on iPS cells at Kyoto University includes turning the cells into dopamine-releasing neurons for transplant into patients with Parkinson’s disease, and creating a formulation of platelets that helps blood to clot. Professor Shinya Yamanaka, who shared the 2012 Nobel Prize in medicine, leads the existing iPSC research center at Kyoto University.
4. How Pluripotent Stem Cells Are Grown Affects Their Genetic Stability [February 25, 2015]
Human pluripotent stem cells, which include both human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and adult stem cells like induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), need large numbers for transplantation into patients but the process of translating their potential into effective, real-world treatments involves deciphering and resolving a host of daunting complexities, according to a new study.
The authors say they have definitively shown that the culture conditions in which stem cells are grown and mass-produced can affect their genetic stability
5. Scientists Complete First Steps Toward Making Sperm and Eggs From Skin Stem Cells [Feb 26, 2015]
Dr. Jacob (Yaqub) Hanna, from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel: “Our research is focused on taking skin cell samples and converting them into embryonic-like stem cells (iPS cells) via direct reprogramming and without using embryo derived stem cell lines. Then we are focusing in differentiating these male or female iPS lines into sperm cells or oocytes, respectively. We have succeeded in the first and most important step of the process, where we succeed in reaching the progenitor cell state for sperm and egg… So we are now focusing on completing the second half of this process.”
6. Neurons controlling appetite made from skin cells [February 27, 2015]
Researchers have for the first time successfully converted adult human skin cells into neurons of the type that regulate appetite, providing a patient-specific model for studying the neurophysiology of weight control and testing new therapies for obesity. The study, led by researchers at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) and at the New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF), was published last month in the online issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
In a separate study, which appeared in the February 10 issue of the journal Development, Kevin Eggan, PhD, Florian Merkle, and Alexander Schier of Harvard University have also succeeded in creating hypothalamicneurons from iPS cells. These neurons help to regulate behavioral and basic physiological functions in the human body, including, in addition to appetite, hypertension, sleep, mood, and some social disorders.
Future iPSC News Round-Ups
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