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Stanford Center for Definitive and Curative Medicine aims to cure the incurable

Oct 27, 2017
Credit : GMI Post


At least 280 million people worldwide live with rare genetic diseases. For many of them, the disease’s underlying cause is well defined, yet eludes definitive treatment. Stem cell and gene therapies hold enormous promise for curing these conditions by engineering cells to treat disease or alter a patient’s DNA to “fix” an abnormality.

To bring these new stem cell and gene therapies to patients, Stanford Medicine recently opened the Stanford Center for Definitive and Curative Medicine (CDCM), which

Stanford Center for Definitive and Curative Medicine Dr. Maria Grazia Roncarolo

provides the organizational and physical infrastructure to support cutting-edge studies on stem cell and gene therapies, from initial discovery through completion of proof-of-concept clinical studies.

Renowned clinician and scientist Dr. Maria Grazia Roncarolo, chief of the Division of Pediatric Stem Cell Transplantation and Regenerative Medicine, will direct the new center.

“Stanford’s unique environment brings together scientific discovery, translational medicine and clinical treatment,” Roncarolo said.

From work performed by scientists over the past decade, the CDCM already has a queue of nearly 24 early-stage therapies in its pipeline.

The CDCM also benefits from Stanford’s new Laboratory for Cell and Gene Medicine (LCGM).

One of the first of its kind in the world, the LCGM can produce cell and gene therapies according to good manufacturing practice standards required for patient treatment.

Headed by David DiGiusto, the LCGM can produce diverse cellular products for patient use from genetically corrected bone marrow cells for sickle cell anemia, to genetically engineered skin grafts for children with the genetic disease epidermolysis bullosa, to genetically engineered lymphocytes that fight leukemia. 

“The LCGM will bridge the gap between research and clinical investigation so we can reach the curative potential of these exciting cell and gene therapies,” DiGiusto said.

Reaping the fruits of craftsmanship

Oct 27, 2017
Credit : GMI Post


With more than 150 years of experience, California’s prune growers have developed best practices that produce world-class fruit and generate more than $200 million in farm gate value every year.

The state’s rich valley soil, favorable climate and “California Grown” pride also allow the state’s plum growers to perfect their craft, very evident in the sweetness, ideal size, and fine texture that makes the fruit a healthy snack and versatile culinary ingredient.


Covering around 47,000 acres, the prune industry may not be as large as that of walnut and almond growers. But prune producers are able to meet most of the demand in the United States and sell nearly half of their produce overseas. In 2016, California’s prune industry shipped around 7,300 metric tons of the fruit to Japan, its largest overseas market where it has a 98 percent market share.

Because of their premium quality, California prunes have found long-standing and loyal customers in Japan, which is known for its discriminating standards regarding the freshness and quality of its food.

“From orchard practices to pitting and drying, our process follows a system that aims for perfection. Our long-standing position as Japan’s prune supplier of choice requires that we meet unique specifications for moisture and other standards. Japan is a cornerstone of our business and we appreciate the loyalty that the trade and consumers have shown us in return,” said California Prune Board (CPB) Executive Director Donn Zea.

Working with its long-time partner in Japan, Uniflex Marketing, Inc., the CPB is working with nutrition experts to help inform Japanese consumers about the health benefits of including prunes in their daily diet, not only as snacks and juice, but also as an ingredient in baking and other applications.

In its preparations for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Japan’s food and hospitality industries are also looking at ways to meet the dietary needs of foreign visitors and produced a “Special Menus Guidebook” that feature prunes in a dozen sample menus. 

“California prunes have been a favorite in Japan for generations. We know there are many food options out there and consumers of all ages are making decisions that best fit their needs and lifestyles. We’re listening to our customers and providing market support that helps the consumer make informed choices.

If we’re successful we’re confident that the Japanese consumer will continue to choose California prunes,” Donn said.

HTL: A Japanese team player

Oct 27, 2017
Credit : GMI Post


When Hilltop Technology Laboratory (HTL) launched its business in 2013, it had a simple vision: to serve U.S. companies like a good neighbor. Although the Japanese company ventured into a new market with no clients, Hilltop offered unique services that attracted 47 clients in its first year. This year, it has more than 350 clients.

HTL President Yuki Yamamoto

“While most Japanese small and medium- sized enterprises expanded their operations in Asia, we knew that the U.S. needed our services. There is no service like ours here,” HTL CEO Yuki Yamamoto said.

Specializing in aluminum and plastic parts prototyping, HTP serves a multitude of businesses and industries, producing components for precision machinery, movie props and musical instrument parts with a quick turnaround time.

As the Southern California headquarters prepares for a move to a bigger facility, the company is also opening an office in San Jose to create presence in Silicon Valley.

“We opened our San Jose office in January as part of our growth plan. We promise a five-day turnover and we are expanding to keep this promise,” Yamamoto said.


When it is unable to meet the requests of prospective clients, HTP recommends other Japanese companies that can fulfill those job requirements.

“We want to support the Japanese market while contributing to the U.S. market. We play for both sides. We want to accelerate innovation. There are so many great companies in California, and we want to help them develop faster,” Yamamoto explained.

Northwest USA 2017 was prepared for and originally printed in The Japan Times Newspaper.

PDF of the printed report

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