The world’s first commercial induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) factory, named the Sumitomo Dainippon Manufacturing Plant for Regenerative Medicine & Cell Therapy (SMaRT), was opened in March in Osaka, Japan. These allogeneic iPSCs can be used for genetic engineering and immunotherapies, with the cells initially produced being used in clinical trials. Having a dedicated facility to produce iPSCs for medical treatments is crucial to advance stem cell therapies from research into the clinic, and will ultimately lead to new drugs. Other facilities produce iPSCs only for research purposes or small clinical studies, including Kyoto University’s Center for iPS Cell Research and Application (CiRA) and the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) Center for Regenerative Medicine.
"If we designed airplanes like we design drugs..." alludes Walter Woltosz, CEO and Chairman of Simulations Plus, then you probably wouldn't feel very safe on an airplane! Drug design took the pharmaceutical industry by storm in the 1990s, a decade that spawned a series of fast and furious investments in the deserts of the Southwest.
What patients need is a preventative drug for the brain the "same way that you take statins for heart disease," says Dr. Nazneen Dewji. Over 1 in 10 people over 65 suffer from Alzheimer's, rising to 1 in 2 over the age of 90, affecting over 8 million people today. The disease is marked by cognitive degeneration and memory loss. Many families experience the emotional devastation of slowly watching their parents fade away. Currently, there is no safe and effective treatment.
Is CRISPR/Cas9 actually that big of a deal? While there is a Nobel prize floating around, and upfront license payments and collaborations are over $100M with billions to be gained in the coming 18 years, it also might not be that big of a deal in everyday research. Zhang recently discovered another method in the CRISPR system called Cpf1, which staggers the DNA break and only needs one guide RNA. While the discovery is not revolutionary scientifically, being just one of many in the CRISPR system, and with many others bound to be discovered in the coming years, it does however provide an answer to the patent brawl by simply stepping out of it. Cpf1 can do the same thing, without all the legal hassle. And there's more where it came from.
Coming out of the “Made in China” era of heavy industrial and manufacturing growth, China is now grasping onto emerging technologies and making moves towards creating the future, not just manufacturing it. Xing Jijun, Counselor of Science and Technology with the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in New York, says that service robots are a large priority given China’s aging population as a result of the one child policy, creating many 421 families, with 1 grandchild supporting 4 grandparents in old age.