Yutaka Niihara, MD, MPH
Professor of Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.
Chief Scientific Officer and co-founder, Emmaus Life Science, Inc.
Sickle cell disease; Regenerative medicine
Research DescriptionDr. Niihara has been involved in patient care and research for sickle cell disease for most of his career, and is the principal inventor of the patented L-glutamine therapy for treatment of sickle cell disease in which he co-founded the bio-pharmaceutical company, Emmaus Life Sciences, Inc. It is now in phase III clinical trial involving 32 sites throughout US with FDA Drug Designation and Fast Track Designation. Additionally, his laboratory focuses on regenerative medicine using cell sheet technology. This treatment uses autologous progenitor cell sheets to repair damaged organs such as cornea epithelium and myocardium.
- BA, 1982, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA
- MD, 1986, Loma Linda University, School of Medicine, Loma Linda, CA
- MPH, 2006, Harvard School of Public Health, Cambridge, MA
Recent and/or Significant Publications
- Bardag-Gorce F, Oliva J, Wood A, Hoft R, Pan D, Thropay J, Makalinao A, French SW, Niihara Y. Carrier-free cultured autologous oral mucosa epithelial cell sheet (CAOMECS) for corneal epithelium reconstruction: a histological study. Ocul Surf. 2015 Apr;13(2):150-63. doi: 10.1016/j.jtos.2014.12.003. Epub 2015 Jan 30. PMID: 25881998
- Gianoukakis AG, Leigh MJ, Richards P, Christenson PD, Hakimian A, Fu P, Niihara Y, Smith TJ. Characterization of the anaemia associated with Graves' disease. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2009 May;70(5):781-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2265.2008.03382.x. Epub 2008 Aug 15. PMID: 18710465 Free PMC Article
- Niihara Y, Matsui NM, Shen YM, Akiyama DA, Johnson CS, Sunga MA, Magpayo J, Embury SH, Kalra VK, Cho SH, Tanaka KR. L-glutamine therapy reduces endothelial adhesion of sickle red blood cells to human umbilical vein endothelial cells. BMC Blood Disord. 2005 Jul 25;5:4. PMID: 16042803 Free PMC Article