The human induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) research landscape is rapidly evolving. We recently discussed the current trend in stem cell research to streamline the production of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). Recent exciting studies have indicated that harnessing iPSCs self-renewal ability to manufacture cell therapies is now becoming a reality. Just 4 years ago, the pharmaceutical company Takeda and The Center for iPS Cell Research and Application (CiRA) at Kyoto University entered a 10-year joint research collaboration. A few weeks ago, it was announced that Takeda has advanced the first product from its collaboration with CiRA - a highly scalable off-the-shelf CAR-T cell therapy to treat cancer - into pre-clinical development. Here, we briefly discuss the iCART science behind the Takeda study and its potential implications for an “off-the-shelf” CAR-T cell therapy.
Scientists develop a 3D liver tissue model that better resembles a working organ – by bioprinting layers of three cell types that include hepatic progenitors obtained from induced pluripotent stem cells.
The human liver is an astoundingly large organ with a very complex set of tasks. It weighs in at about 3lbs and filters the blood that comes from the digestive tract, detoxifies chemicals, metabolizes drugs and makes important proteins that help with blood clotting. Its health is of vital importance, quite literally. Sadly, liver disease is on the rise. There are more than 100 different kinds of liver maladies, including viral forms such as hepatitis A, B and C, bacterial diseases, diseases caused by autoimmune disorders, and cancer. Shockingly, fatty liver disease and its chronic conclusion, cirrhosis, both alcohol-related and non-alcohol-related, are found in up to 25% of Americans today.
The gene editing tool CRISPR along with stem cells help scientists create retinal ganglion cells in the lab
Degeneration of retinal ganglion cells often leads to progressive and irreversible vision loss. These cells are the type of nerve cells located within the retina, which transmit visual signals from the eye to the brain. Retinal ganglion cells have limited intrinsic capacity to regenerate and cannot be replaced by new cells. Glaucoma and multiple sclerosis are the most common type of optic neuropathies that lead to vision loss and blindness due to death of retinal ganglion cells.
Gene editing technology along with stem cells helped scientists develop a miniature scale kidney
In the past, researchers already developed complex kidney structures using stem cells. Now, the main aim of kidney tissue engineering is to develop new therapies to repair kidney damage and thus reduce the need for dialysis and transplantation. Recently, scientists at University of Washington in collaboration with Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI) have grown mini-kidneys in the laboratory . The ex-vivo kidney could be used to study abnormalities in kidney development, chronic kidney disease, and the effects of toxic drugs on acute and chronic kidney conditions.
Building a kidney with stem cells is not enough -- it has to function as well. Scientists move closer to that goal.