"Natural Killer" Cells Score Points for $10.6 Million California Stem Cell Investment

Derek Ruff (seated), Dan Kaufman (center), Sandip Patel (left)  UC San Diego photoThe California stem cell agency chalked up an initial payoff this week in a $10.6 million investment with the first-ever use in a patient of "natural killer" cells that can destroy cancer.The treatment involved a patient named Derek Ruff, a scientist named Dan Kaufman, a company called Fate Therapeutics, Inc., and UC San Diego. Ruff is the first person to receive the off-the-shelf treatment, known as FT500, according to a news release on Monday from UC San Diego.  Kaufman, director of cell therapy at the San Diego school, said, “This is a landmark accomplishment for the field of stem cell-based medicine and cancer immunotherapy. This clinical trial represents the first use of cells produced from human induced pluripotent stem cells to better treat and fight cancer."California's stem cell research program, known formally as the California…

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