headline in the San Diego Union-Tribune trumpets: “Stem cell manufacturing
now ready.” The article is about a process developed by the Lonza
company to manufacture stem cells in a way that is compliant with the
FDA’s “Good Manufacturing Process” certification. The
idea is that these stem cells will be available to patients off the shelf
– they will be HLA-matched, so that incompatibility between stem
cell and recipient should be minimized (not eliminated, just minimized). Their
peer-reviewed paper was published on Sept 23, 2015 in Stem Cell Reports, and reviewed by
Alexey Bersenev, director of the Advanced Cell Therapy Lab at Yale University,
The whole process is based on the premise that induced pluripotent stem
cells are a good thing to (a) manufacture and (b) use in the treatment
One of the issues with iPSC is that these cell lines have been shown to
have difficulty turning off some of the growth genes. They sometimes produce
germ cell line tumors – teratomas – even when transplanted
back into a normal mouse. And when transplanted into an immunodeficient
mouse, over half of them developed tumors.
My biggest question lies with the whole concept of artificially inducing
umbilical cord stem cells to become pluripotent again. The process of
harvesting one’s own stem cells for administration into one’s
own body is, in concept, so simple, that it boggles my mind why we would
want to go to such lengths to induce someone else’s stem cells for
“off the shelf” administration. Unless, perhaps, once they
become a drug, there is more money to be made…
If you have questions about whether stem cell therapy, using your own stem
cells, might be right for you, give us a call at 480-240-2600. You can
schedule a free 15-minute consultation with one of our practitioners to
discuss the question.
 Baghbaderani BA, Tian X, et al.
cGMP-Manufactured Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells Are Available for
Pre-clinical and Clinical Applications.
Stem Cell reports (Sept 25, 2015). Open access. DOI:
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.stemcr.2015.08.015 Kamada M, Mitsui Y et al.
Tumorigenic risk of human induced pluripotent stem cell explants cultured
on mouse SNL76/7 feeder cells. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2014 Oct 24;453(3):668-73. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2014.10.009.