NEWS ROUND-UP

Cell therapy weekly: Japanese scientists target Parkinson’s disease with iPSC-derived dopaminergic progenitors

This week: USA-Korea partnership will develop gene-edited therapeutics and YAP inhibition boosts immunotherapy

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Aug 02, 2018
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The news highlights:

Kyoto University Hospital and CiRA to commence iPSC-derived cell therapy trial for Parkinson’s disease
NYSCF to partner with ToolGen, nSAGE to develop cutting-edge technology for gene editing
Protein inhibition could boost immunotherapy effectiveness

Kyoto University Hospital and CiRA to commence iPSC-derived cell therapy trial for Parkinson’s disease

Scientists from Kyoto University Hospital and Center for iPS Cell Research and Application (CiRA) (both Japan) have commenced a clinical trial investigating the effect of transplanted dopaminergic progenitors derived from iPSCs on Parkinson’s disease. In the Phase I/II trial evaluating the safety and efficacy of this potential treatment, seven subjects will have approximately 5 million iPSC-derived dopaminergic progenitors transplanted by stereotaxic brain surgery. The cells will be generated from iPSC cells prepared at the iPS Cell Stock for Regenerative Medicine at CiRA.

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NYSCF to partner with ToolGen, nSAGE to develop cutting-edge technology for gene editing

New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF; NY, USA) has formed a strategic partnership with ToolGen, Inc. and nSAGE (both Korea) to develop therapeutics based on gene editing and stem cells. ToolGen is a leading biotech focused on applying CRISPR-related technology and nSAGE specializes in advanced stem cell engineering.

“NYSCF is committed to harnessing stem cell research to develop better therapeutics for the major diseases of our time,” commented Susan L. Solomon, NYSCF CEO. “We are excited to embark on this partnership with ToolGen and nSAGE, leaders in gene editing and stem cell engineering technologies, to bring their expertise to bear on translational disease research.”

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Protein inhibition could boost immunotherapy effectiveness

Researchers at the Bloomberg-Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy in the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center (MD, USA) have found that inhibition of the Yes-associate protein (YAP), found in a subset of regulatory T-cells (Tregs), could reduce tumor burdens and enhance the effectiveness of immunotherapy. YAP suppressed antitumor immunity by Tregs; targeting YAP could lead to more effective treatments for cancer as well as autoimmune diseases.

Fan Pan, senior author of the study and associate professor of cancer immunology (Johns Hopkins Medicine), said, “Blocking YAP or the signaling pathways under its control boosted the effects of both a tumor vaccine and a checkpoint inhibitor (anti-PD1 antibody) to produce even stronger antitumor activity. The approach of therapeutically targeting YAP was effective over a broad scope of cancer types in mice.”

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For more weekly cell therapy news, read previous editions of the cell therapy weekly.

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