Fujifilm Corp. aims to start clinical trials with artificially derived stem cells next year to prevent serious complications from bone marrow transplants used to treat leukemia, company officials say.
The camera and medical equipment maker, which has been expanding its pharmaceuticals business, will apply for government permission for the trials by the end of March. It would be the first Japanese company to conduct such trials, which could help accelerate the use of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells.
In the trials, Fujifilm plans to inject mesenchymal stem cells generated from iPS cells into individuals with acute graft-versus-host disease to prevent immune cells in transplanted marrow from attacking their bodies. About 1,000 people develop the disease every year in Japan.
Cynata Therapeutics Ltd., an Australian medical venture in which Fujifilm holds a stake, has started similar trials in Britain, and some of the patients have fully recovered, they said.
Fujifilm will apply Cynata Therapeutics’ techniques to the clinical trials in Japan and aim to start selling products made from iPS cells in 2022 at the earliest, the officials said Sunday.