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.
Researchers at the University of Melbourne are studying how to boost the body’s immune system to help fight off certain cancers through a healthy microbiome.
The microbiome, the collective group or community of microorganisms that have a tight connection and relationship with the rest of our bodies, is essential for our healthy existence. The most studied microbiome is that of the intestines, and it is now known to play a crucial role in more than digestion. There is a critical balance between types of microbes (bacterial, fungi, viruses) that influences the body’s biochemistry, such as cholesterol levels, blood glucose, and even brain function.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University and IBM Thomas J Watson Research Center discovered unique autoimmune cells in type 1 diabetes.
Over 30 million people living in the United States are affected by diabetes, and 5% of those have type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disorder whereby the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas are destroyed by the body’s own immune system. This leads to a lack of sufficient insulin needed to assist the entry of glucose into cells, causing hyperglycemia. The mechanism of this aspect is mainly unknown. However, it is held that insulin is the target of the autoimmune attack that leads to type 1 diabetes.
A recent study found the lymph node cells, much like the thymus, play a part in immune self-tolerance.
Nearly 5% of the U.S. population is affected with a devastating autoimmune disease, and this percentage is ever growing. Current treatments address organ inflammation or approach the autoimmunity with immunosuppression, which has serious and widespread side effects. In order to develop more specific and effective therapies, there must be a fuller understanding of the mechanisms by which self-tolerance develops. It is known that autoimmune diseases occur due to the immune system’s loss of tolerance to self-antigens. How and why this loss of tolerance occurs is associated with many factors, including genetic (and epigenetic), cellular, environmental, and more.
Exciting new research published in Nature Communications cites using HemaCare leukapheresis material to design primary human T cells that may be more effective at fighting cancer than CAR-T cells. 
The successful treatment of B cell leukemias with genetically modified T cells heralded a new frontier in cell-based medicines. CAR-T cells, or chimeric antigen receptor T cells, have become the face of cell and gene therapy, with Novartis’ first-in-class Kymriah® prompting a robust pipeline of competitive CAR-T treatments. Now a research group in Cambridge, Massachusetts is taking T cell-based immunotherapy one step further. By changing the way T cells target cancer cells, they claim to have come up with a more effective cancer immunotherapy mechanism.