Industry updates with Dusko Ilic: January 2020

Written by Dusko ILIC

Read highlights from the latest installment of Dusko Ilic’s industry updates, which discuss the latest developments and news in regenerative medicine and stem cell research, and are published every month in Regenerative Medicine.

Every month, Dusko comments on news of note. Read the full update for January 2020 in Regenerative Medicine here>>

Find previous updates here>>

What happened this month that you were expecting?


Bluebird bio (MA, USA) conquered another country. One of the most expensive therapy treatments, Zyntegloâ„¢, has been launched in Germany. It is a one-time gene therapy for patients 12 years and older with transfusion-dependent β-thalassemia (TDT) who do not have a β0/β0 genotype, for whom hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) transplantation is appropriate but a human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-matched related HSC donor is not available. Bluebird is spreading its wings – fly free and good luck to you! Well deserved.

What happened that surprised you this month?


Exopharm’s (Melbourne, Australia) Plexoval Phase I study, investigating exosomes isolated from human platelets for wound healing, got a green light from regulatory bodies. Being at the right place (Australia) at the right time makes life easier.

If we only read about one story this month, what should it be?

Although this news item is not from a commercial sector, it is worthy of your attention: a team from Osaka University (Japan) said it has carried out the world’s first transplant of cardiac muscle cells created from iPSCs, in a physician-initiated clinical trial. They aim to transplant sheets of cardiac muscle, over the course of three years, into 10 patients with serious heart malfunction as a result of ischemic cardiomyopathy. The cells, on degradable sheets attached to the surface of the patients’ hearts, are expected to grow and secrete a protein that can regenerate blood vessels and improve cardiac function. The iPSCs have already been derived from healthy donors’ blood cells and stored, and each sheet is around 4—5 cm wide and 0.1 mm thick. The first patient has since moved to the general ward at a hospital and will be monitored over the next year.

Read the full industry update for January 2020>>

Dr Dusko Ilic

Dusko Ilic is a Senior Lecturer in stem cell science, coordinator of the cross-divisional postgraduate program in stem cells and regenerative medicine, and Head of the Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Core Facility at King’s College London (London, UK). He is also Head of the Assisted Conception Unit’s Human Embryonic Laboratories at Guy’s Hospital (London, UK). He is also a member of the editorial board of the journal Regenerative Medicine, where he writes the Industry Report, a regular Industry updates with Dusko Ilic: November 2019feature compiling information from non-academic institutions in the field of stem cells and regenerative medicine