The field of regenerative medicine is now a hot topic here in Tokyo, as Fujifilm will apply for permission to run clinical trials on treatment using stem cells derived from adult tissue. This will be the first Japanese company to test stem cells for practical use – in regenerative medicine.
The specific target of this new treatment is the list of patients suffering from acute graft-versus-host disease, a condition affection about 40 percent of bone marrow transplant patients. The condition can cause inflammation in the skin and liver, as well as diarrhea and vomiting, and occasionally death. There are 1,000 cases in Japan, with more than 10,000 internationally, including leading western countries.
The therapy uses pluripotent stem cells, or iPS cells – adult cells reprogrammed to an essentially embryonic state from which they can be used to produce any type of body cell. Such cells are being researched and have great potential, especially in the field of regenerative medicine as the possibilities are almost endless.
Also, being used are transplants of mesenchymal stem cells, which are effective for conditions like strokes, ulcerative colitis, and limb ischemia and severe diabetes.
Sources say that besides Fujifilm, Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma and Heals are also planning to seek permission for clinical trials.