Tag Archives: robert lanza

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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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

The State of Alzheimer’s Research

So I just finished Dancing With a Stranger, by Meryl Comer, and… it’s not exactly the feel-good book of the year. She is a caregiver for BOTH her husband AND her mother, and both have Alzheimer’s. Oh, yeah– and she has both of the genes associated with the disease. Just the fact that some people are able to keep going in the face of unbearable problems is hard to believe.

I’ve been looking into the current state of stem cell based AD trials, and here’s what I’ve found out. As of December 2014, there’s not a lot going on at the clinical level right now. There’s one trial in South Korea using cord blood-derived cells, but even though they completed the preliminary outpoint in 2012, there does not seem to have been any information released on what the outcome was, which isn’t very encouraging to me. Dr. Lanza’s article about preliminary interim results in Ocata’s RPE trials for AMD was released months into the study. So, for it to be fully two years after the completion of Phase I, and still nothing… not that great. Another study in China is now recruiting, but I’m not sure how much better that one looks.

There are a few meds in development that look promising… but the problem with drug trials is that there’s a long history of meds looking great for AD until they’re actually released, and then they turn out to not accomplish much of anything over the long term. I’ve seen a couple of drugs really help people in the early stages, but only for about one year (Aricept and Namenda are good examples.)

The most promising thing I’ve seen, IMHO, is Neuralstem’s animal studies on Alzheimer’s. They released results in October, and the conclusion is that their cells “rescued spatial learning and memory deficits in mice with an animal model of Alzheimer’s disease.” The problem obviously is that we’re only talking about mice at this point, and there is, unfortunately, a history of stem cell treatments looking wonderful in mice and then not translating to humans. Still, if I had more money, I would definitely invest in this company!

So that’s pretty much the AD story for now!

Incredible News About Stargardt’s Cure

So, I was posting a summary for my book on the NaNoWriMo Facebook page, thinking that it sounded over the top… stem cell-based cures for horrible incurable diseases within 2-10 years, that kind of thing… well….

There’s no link for this, because it is insider info from shareholders who went to Ocata’s quarterly meeting in Boston, which was not open to the public. (There is a LOT about Ocata in the book– they’re the biotech company that just changed their name from Advanced Cell Technology.) Ocata is the company developing the first cure (or even treatment!) for age-related macular degeneration, a disease that slowly causes blindness for 30 million people in the U.S. and Europe alone. The interim published results for the clinical trials have looked great, but as far as when this treatment might actually come to market… it’s everybody’s guess.

But in the quarterly meeting… several attendees have all said the same thing. The drug already has orphan treatment approval for a genetic disease caused Stargardt’s, which has exactly the same effects and eventually causes blindness. But it attacks much younger people, including children as young as six. (Yep, six years old.) AND… the CEO of Ocata said that the drug will be available in the U.K. in 2018. We don’t have absolute confirmation of this yet. But it’s apparently what was officially said at that meeting.

One of the lines of thought on the forums is that the date might be earlier for AMD approval in the U.S, even quite a bit earlier if the drug is fast tracked here… we just don’t know. But this is INCREDIBLE!!!~ There has never ever been any kind of treatment for Stargardt’s before, and now there will be, and it will be STEM CELL BASED. As of now, that will be the first drug approved anywhere in the WORLD that is embryonic stem cell based.

YES! IT’S THE START OF A NEW ERA IN MEDICINE!!! And it will be in the book!
(sorry about the capslock…

About This Blog

So… this info is eventually going to go on a page of its own, but for now, I’m just going to say a few things here.

What’s this blog about?

  • Stem cell news
    Stem cell links
    Basic stem cell information
    Stem cell personal stories
    Stem cell rants.
  • Yep, there will be some rants here. If anybody DOESN’T want to read rants… well, Paul Knoefpler’s Blog is pretty non-ranty, and is written by a researcher in the hard sciences.
    Continue reading

    Yamanaka on the new iPSC trials for wet AMD in Japan. Part 1.

    Head on over to Paul Knoepfler’s blog and check out hisYamanaka Interview on Clinical Use of Pluripotent Stem Cells.

    I don’t know. I’ll be posting more about this tomorrow, but… suffice it to say right now that I wish I could get more excited about this new study with iPSC’s. I think they’re rushing wayyyyyy too fast to use these techniques on a human subject, especially when you look at all the pre-clinical problems and questions. And there were A LOT.

     

    And I think we could have all lived without this quote:

     

    At the same time, the ethical issues that hESC possess mean that as iPSC technology improves, hESC will be less needed. Still, iPSC is a new technology, and its safety and efficacy still needs to be confirmed.

     

    Um, hello, EARTH TO DR. YAMANAKA. There ARE no “ethical issues.” Seriously, you don’t know about Robert Lanza’s blastomere technique, which doesn’t destroy the embryo?. And yep, no kidding that iPSC’s safety needs to be confirmed, much less their efficacy. Maybe we shouldn’t be blithely testing these cells on human beings right now.

     

    That’s enough of a rant for today, but there will be more tomorrow!

    Stem Cells: The Most Important Medical Issue of Our Time.

    Stem cells. The hope, the hype; the successes, the failures; the frauds, the triumphs, and the miracles in the making. It’s all going to be here! Oh, okay; ALL of the information in the world about stem cells is probably NOT going to be found here. 😉 But if I can find it out… will be. There will be much more content here, including the story of just why and how I  became so passionate about the entire issue of stem cells and regenerative medicine.  I can honestly say that some of what you’ll read here is unique and cannot be found anywhere else the world. So just keep watching this space– some incredible things are coming up!