Tag Archives: ocata

A new story about shareholder determination!

This is a VERY important article. As you-all may or may not know (and not necessarily, seeing as how there has been almost zero coverage), Astellas Pharmaceuticals is trying to buy Ocata. Now for a recap, for those who don’t know. Ocata, of course, holds the patents for stem cell-based treatments to a long list of incurable diseases. Their FDA-approved study for a cure for age-related macular degeneration has finished Phase I. AMD affects 220 million people in the world– yep, that’s right, 220 million– and is the number one cause of blindness in the developed world. A Phase I trial is only required to show safety. Ocata’s trial showed major improvement in over half the subjects, and stopped the progression of the original disease in all but one. These gains have been maintained for several years.

Most drugs currently for sale on the market for any purpose at all do not have results like this. Yep, I’m going to say it again; most approved drugs that have completed all phases of testing and can be bought at Walmart with your doctor’s prescription do not have a success rate like this. That’s not even mentioning the cures in earlier phases of testing, the ones for multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, lupus, chronic fatigue, and on and on and on. And… the company’s in danger of being bought out.

Not all of the retail shareholders agree with me on this, but given the insane unending demonizing of embryonic stem cell research in this country, I will be okay with seeing this go to Japan if that’s what it takes to make these cures happen. BUT… and it’s a big but… Ocata is giving it away for almost nothing. Now THAT, we can do something about. We are standing firm against the unacceptable offers that Astellas has made so far. And we’re getting some press at last! 🙂 Read and share!!
Small investors oppose Ocata sale; $379M offer deemed too low for drug ‘worth billions’

The Latest Thoughts on Why Ocata is Being Bought out by Astellas

A snippet from Part 4 of Light a Candle: (warning: narrative excellence not guaranteed):

How exactly had this happened? Where had everything gone wrong, and why? We were all groping the dark for answers. I knew better than most people that it had almost certainly not happened because of problems with the science. I still winced when remembering the endless odysseys to the OHSU library, wheedling my way in to do forbidden research—or at least research that it was forbidden to do in any more convenient way if you’re weren’t either a student or a professor. It also didn’t really explain anything to say that Astellas had been willing to do the JV and then leaped on the opportunity to take over the company outright. Who wouldn’t have done that? Why were they able to do it? That was the real question, and the key.

Pentecostal protestors weren’t marching with pickets around Pfizer. The top corporate officers at Janssen Pharmaceuticals weren’t raving evangelicals. Death threats weren’t being sent to the entire board of directors at GM. Nothing immediate was happening, and perhaps it would be better if it were. The obvious and immediate threat could be confronted and fought. But the sneaky sludge clogging the gears had been building up for many years. In brief? The long-term situation created by “religious” protests had led to the current reality, which was that Ocata’s perceived worth was a fraction of its real one. The market ran on fear, uncertainty, and doubt. Logic often had little to do with value that was perceived. Ocata did not have current cures that were commercially available. People couldn’t take their blind grandmas to the retinal specialist and bring them back crying, “I can see again!” Embryonic stem cell research was buried under layers and layers and layers of smothering superstition, fear, and a strange hatred. So direct experience was all that would convince the average person. And it was still years away from happening.

Except that in Japan, it wouldn’t be. That culture simply didn’t care; they were untroubled by the shibboleths. They knew that saving people’s lives, adults’ lives, children’s lives, was more important than hysterically clinging to some insane illusion about the value of a blastocyst that would otherwise have been thrown into a dumpster behind a fertility clinic.

Another rant was definitely shaping up. I rubbed my nose.

The Missing Word: Why we don’t have stem cell cures.

If you have been following stem cell research at all, and especially if you or a loved one has an incurable disease that could only be cured by a stem cell-based treatment, there’s one question that has burned in your mind and kept you up at 3 a.m. more than once. And it’s this.

After so many years of heavily funded ADULT stem cell research, why don’t we have stem cell cures?

The answer is both simple and heartbreaking. The wrong kind of research has been funded. If adult stem cell research was ever going to get much of anywhere, then the last stem cell treatment approved by the FDA would not have been in 1956. Yep, you read that right. NINETEEN FIFTY-SIX.As in fifty-nine years ago.

Funding for embryonic stem cells has been blocked not once, but FOUR SEPARATE TIMES. The federal funding block would still exist if Shirley vs. Sibelius hadn’t narrowly been struck down by the Supreme Court two years ago. The only type of stem cell therapy that holds any real hope of helping suffering human beings has been defunded, demonized, villified, and found guilty by association.That’s why Ocata’s revolutionary stem cell research is going to Japan, where they really don’t care about the supposed “morality” of using HESC’s. (The irony, of course, is that Ocata’s stem cell technology doesn’t destroy embryos at all. The research itself is guilty by association.) No, they care more about cures, which is apparently too much to ask in the U.S. (and apparently the entire Western world, seeing as how Nouse is a British source.) How can this be? This article pretty much sums it up. Business plus politics equals science: The underworld of regenerative medicine

But there is a GLARINGLY MISSING word in that headline. One word. How do we know? This.

“The company’s focus is regenerative medical treatments using human embryonic stem cells (ES). There is widespread controversy about their use, many of you will know and have a different opinion regarding how and when, if ever their use is justified. The very creation of therapeutic stem cells is central to the debate as it involves destruction of embryos. The debate is complex and multisided. Some argue that a life is created therefore termination is unjust. Whereas others feel that a life is formed at a later developmental stage and therapeutic value of these early pluripotent cells is too great not to utilize.”

Can we talk here? Can we be honest? There is ONLY ONE REASON why anyone would think there is “widespread controversy” about the use of hesc’s, whether their use is “justified”, etc etc etc. The debate is not “complex and multisided.” It exists for only one reason. And that’s the missing word.

RELIGION.

No, that word doesn’t sum up the problem by any means. But notice that I said religion, not God. Religious fundamentalists have made this argument since 1998 because they’ve convinced themselves that they’re speaking for what God wants, and they have blocked stem cell treatments that could have cured millions of incurable diseases ever since. That’s the only reason. Never mind that Ocata’s treatments don’t even destroy a single embryo but get lumped in with those who do.

So why can’t this stupid article just be honest? Don’t use weasel words like “some.” Say “people who claim they are speaking for God.” And say “religion.” Just be straight with us. But that this would be too honest, and we can’t have that.

Nobody knows what God wants. I don’t know, and the fundies certainly don’t know. But one thing I do know is that millions of people are suffering and dying from diseases that have no treatment and no cure. Embryonic stem cells could provide that cure. If you’re reading this and you’re an atheist, this one is a pretty easy sell. But if you’re a person of faith– as I am, which may surprise you if you’d read this far– then think about this. Does your God want millions of people to suffer and die unnecessarily? Because if you can say “yes” to that… then that doesn’t sound like a loving God to me. It sounds more like a god that people create from the worst parts of themselves. And think, really think, about whether or not this would be a god worth worshipping– or if people are just trying to find a way to justify their own prejudices and fears by stuffing them into the missing word.

First Patient Enrolled in Ocata Therapeutics’ Phase 2 Study for Dry AMD Results from First Cohort Expected in the Second Quarter of 2016

Here’s the press release.
(STARES at today’s news)

*^()&)*(&)*(&)*( I DON’T EVEN.
(RUNS around yelling incoherently, but happily.)

INFINITE YAY.
THIS… this is what we’ve been waiting for. Ocata is officially now going to start Phase 2 of the AMD study.

There’s so much to be said here… it’ll have to get done later on… but for now… HAPPY. Just plain… happy. 🙂

Ocata gets a SECOND NIH grant!!

I’m on the last day of vacation, so there won’t be a long post about this one, but basically… Ocata now has not one but TWO extremely recent NIH grants. This one is for Retinitis Pigmentosa. Now, I’m going to make a shameful admission… I’m an America’s Next Top Model addict. ;)ANTM doesn’t make it onto science blogs too often (or even science-y layperson blogs), but there’s a good reason here. Back in the fourth season, there was a contestant named Amanda. She was slowly going blind from Retinitis Pigmentosa, which is why I think the judges didn’t allow her to win. It was a very sad story and actually makes it hard to watch reruns of that season. By this time, I think she’s gone completely blind. But this grant shows that there is hope for her and everyone else who has the same terrible condition.

Anyway, check out the story:

Ocata Therapeutics Receives SBIR Grant from the NIH’s National Eye Institute to Develop Proprietary Photoreceptor Progenitor Cell Therapy for Retinitis Pigmentosa

My Amazing Powers of Predicting Disaster: Failure of the Takahashi Trials

!!!!!!
Ahem.

Well, the Japanese Takahashi trials with the induced pluripotent stem cells are turning out to be a dangerous failure. Read all about it here. Just as SOMEBODY predicted. Hmm… I can’t imagine who…

Anyway. The trials were stopped because, in the words of New Scientist: “ genetic mutations were discovered in the cells of the second trial participant. One of the mutations may carry a remote risk of cancer.” (Remote… oh really? This is the same publication that has carried gushing fan news about the IPSC trials since Day One. Of course, so have all the rest… but still, I wouldn’t trust a disclaimer like that as far as I could throw it.)

Hmm… .WHO predicted this failure last year? WHO posted these predictions multiple times all over the web, including Paul Knoepfler’s blog and investorstemcell.com? WHO said it was way too soon to rush into the clinical setting when there hadn’t been even a tenth of the number of animal studies that should have happened first? WHO held fast to this prediction, even when nobody agreed with her and nobody wanted to hear about it?

Could it be… ME??

Hint: the answer is yes.

I’m NOT posting the link to Randy Travis singing “I Told You So” again. This is actually beyond even what I dared to predict last fall for the IPSC trials. That’s it. There HAS to be a way to turn this amazing psychic power to predict disaster into something valuable… (hmmm)

Anise: (poring over a crystal ball while clients wait impatiently) I can tell you all the Powerball combinations that aren’t going to win.

Clients: Isn’t there a faster way?

Anise: No. But I can give you all 174 million losing number combinations, and you just have to go through them– wait– where are you going??

The point is that I knew the IPSC trials wouldn’t work. They were rushed to the clinic crazy fast because it was a chance for Japan and Riken to get the first clinical trial of IPSC’s underway. This represented a chance to save face after the STAP cell disaster last year. To tell you the truth, it’s not rocket science and is very easy to piece together. However, this kind of outcome is what I hoped wouldn’t happen. But it was always a possibility. I posted long, long threads about it in the past, and we really don’t need to go into all of it again here… suffice it to say that there are good reasons to have a lot more animal trials before jumping immediately and dangerously fast into clinical trials.

You know… this sounds horrible, but the failure of these trials will ultimately help Ocata a lot. One by one, the inferior and not-ready-for-prime time stem cell treatments are falling. Ocata’s treatment for AMD is the only one that continues to advance through all trials with flying colors. And since this is treatment I would need… well, I think I have the cred to say it!!

Also, it would have been good for that article to get Ocata’s name right. 😛 But you know… there’s good and bad in everything.

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News From Europe!:)

Check this out!!

The EU agrees to fast track desperately needed meds.

The EU is pulling FAR ahead of us with this one. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has decided that trial medications for incurable and untreatable diseases can be fast tracked and approved for use with small populations– IF they’re getting great results. (Such as the success that Ocata has shown with its stem cell based cure for the most common cause of blindness in the developed world. HINT HINT HINT.) That is not happening here.There is no genuine fast track for medications that show that kind of desperately needed promise. The “breakthrough status” that is available for these types of meds is very inadequate.Very few medications have ever been granted this status until Phase III of testing; real promise might be shown much earlier than that. And quite honestly, this situation why I decided to support the Right to Try laws in the U.S. As imperfect as they are (and they do have issues, beyond a doubt) they may provide pressure for the FDA to adopt the same thing that the EMA has now done.

It’s easy to say that adopting the same policies in the U.S. would lead to little regulation, and that is a real concern. But look at what’s happening here. The EU is not somehow throwing out all regulation.In fact, that’s just what they’re avoiding with this decision. Here’s why. If you or a loved one ever have a terminal/disabling disease, reason and logic will go straight to hell. You won’t care what’s regulated or what isn’t. Believe me, you won’t. You’ll do anything at all that might help– and that means you’ll be vulnerable to some really bad choices. People do make those questionable choices right now, and there are more of them available than ever before (illegal stem cell clinics being a good example.) The only way to stop this is to give desperate people other options.

The EU is doing what they need to do in order to accomplish this. We can do it too, and we have to. We can’t play these games with people’s lives anymore here while the rest of the world figures out exactly how to help those who suffer.

Amazing news from Ocata!!

This is REALLY exciting… I had a few thoughts about it to share on Facebook, and I’m reposting them here:

Cures for autoimmune diseases ARE possible!! They’re on their way, and they could be almost here! Well, there’s just ONE problem… they originally came from a stem cell line where at SOME point, LONG long ago, a three day old blastocyst was destroyed. One that would otherwise have been thrown out at a fertility clinic. One that never had a chance of being an embryo. Fifty million people have autoimmune diseases in America alone. Are they more important than one blastocyst that was sacrificed years ago? There are people who say yes. We are headed for a showdown. Share if you are on the side of the fifty million!!

New Ocata Press Release About Autoimmune Treatments in the Pipeline!!

More Details About That South Korean Study

Here’s the link for the original South Korean article showing even more positive results for patients when the Ocata technique was used. This is a much smaller study with only four people, and I think the real value is that it supports the original results in the Lancet. There were two AMD and two SMD patients, and when I read the full article, I could see that all of them had improvements. Three were very significant (vision improved 50%, 100% (twice as good, and I can never remember if that should be 100% or 200%), and 1300% improvement– yes, vision that was thirteen times better than before the study!

The fourth person wasn’t considered to have significant improvement, but I’m not so sure that I would agree. Their vision went from being able to read one letter to two, and when your vision is that bad to start with, any improvement helps.

Anyway… I highly recommend reading the whole article. The complete pdf if available for free, which is usually not the case– so take advantage of it!

Treatment of Macular Degeneration Using Embryonic Stem Cell-Derived Retinal Pigment Epithelium: Preliminary Results in Asian Patients

New Ocata Press Release!

YES! These are the results we’ve been waiting for from CHA in So. Korea. They are great, and they 100% support the Lancet results from Ocata’s own trials. The thing that really impresses me about the CHA results is that just like Ocata’s, they were published in a peer-reviewed journal instead of being released through a company announcement. I have to say, I’m kind of over company announcements. (Remember when StemCells Inc did that??) Anyone can announce anything. I can announce that I just won Powerball. That doesn’t make it true! An article in a peer-reviewed journal is the gold standard.

Anyway, here’s a snippet, although you really need to go the link:
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