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A fun, interesting and informative way of taking a ‘cell-fie’ in Hokkaido | Philstar.com
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A fun, interesting and informative way of taking a ‘cell-fie’ in Hokkaido

UNDER YOUR SKIN - Dr. Grace Carole Beltran - The Philippine Star
A fun, interesting and informative way of taking a âcell-fieâ in Hokkaido
(From left) Kintaro Cells Power Corporation emerging markets officer Ikki Ocampo, business consultant, Filipino ambassador for Japan Inbound Medical Tourism Initiatives, with Kintaro Cells Power Corp. CEO Alexei Gladkov, chief branding officer Ken Kobayashi, author Dr. Grace Carole P. Beltran, and Nissan Founder's third-generation venture capitalist and senior advisor Junta Ayukawa

On Sept. 28, I had the adventure of a lifetime. Not only was my excitement and eagerness for more comprehensive information about the bone marrow-derived human mesenchymal stem cells given a boost — which I have been doing for the past 20 years  (it started with ReCell from Australia) — but I also came to discover a new place of serenity in the vast, mountainous terrain of Hokkaido.

Nestled in the embrace of the Land of the Rising Sun, Hokkaido, the northern jewel of Japan, beckons with a siren song of natural wonders and captivating charm. Imagine a place where the ethereal beauty of untouched landscapes meets the warm embrace of a cozy hearth.

Hokkaido province comprises about one-fifth of Japan’s total land area.  It is Japan’s second largest island.  It is the northernmost of the four main islands in Japan.  Bordered by the Sea of Japan (East Sea) to the west, the Sea of Okhotsk to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the east and south, Hokkaido is famous for its beautiful wilderness, powdery snow, delicious seafood and fascinating indigenous culture. Just a short flight from Tokyo, Hokkaido is the perfect escape route.

A “Symphony of Seasons,” Hokkaido dances to the whims of four distinct seasons, each adding its unique brushstrokes to the canvas of this magical island. In winter, powdery snow blankets the landscape like a quilt of diamonds, inviting travelers to experience the thrill of winter sports or the simple joy of a snowball fight.

Come spring, Hokkaido dons a robe of cherry blossoms, turning the island into a pastel paradise. The delicate fragrance of sakura blossoms fills the air, painting the sky with hues of pink and white, and inviting all to partake in the tradition of hanami, the appreciation of fleeting beauty.

The lush green tapestry

As summer arrives, Hokkaido transforms into a lush green tapestry. Rolling hills, vast forests, and meadows come alive in a vibrant celebration of life. It’s a season of outdoor adventures, from hiking through breathtaking trails to cooling off in crystal-clear lakes. And when the sun sets, the stars grace the sky in a mesmerizing celestial display.

Autumn adorns Hokkaido in a riot of colors. The landscape bursts into shades of crimson, amber, and gold as the trees prepare for the winter slumber. Travelers find themselves lost in a fairy tale, wandering through enchanted forests and relishing the crisp mountain air.

In addition is fresh seafood, farm-fresh produce, and dairy delicacies. Hokkaido boasts of a bounty of delectable offerings, from creamy Hokkaido milk and velvety ice creams to succulent crabs and melt-in-your-mouth sushi.

The glorious Hokkaido melon is a jewel of sweetness, or savor a bowl of miso ramen that warms both body and soul. Each dish tells a story, a testament to the island’s dedication to quality, tradition, and the love of food.

Nature’s sanctuary

Beyond the changing seasons and the tantalizing cuisine, Hokkaido is a sanctuary for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers. Majestic mountains, pristine lakes, and expansive national parks present a playground for outdoor enthusiasts, inviting them to hike, ski, camp, and immerse themselves in the pure embrace of Mother Nature.

In Hokkaido, you will also find not just the warmth of the hearth, but also the warmth of the heart. The island’s inhabitants exude a sense of hospitality and kindness that makes every traveler feel like they’ve found a home away from home. Hokkaido welcomes all with open arms and invites them to partake in the splendid dance of seasons and the eternal embrace of nature.

Hokkaido, is a charming island that captures hearts and leaves an indelible mark on the souls of those lucky enough to wander its enchanted landscapes.

Allow me to share with you another stimulating scientific adventure that will tickle your funny bone, and quite literally at that. Let us delve into the quirky world of bone marrow-derived human mesenchymal stem cells, where science meets humor in a delightful amalgamation of education and entertainment.

Imagine your body is a circus, and the performers stealing the limelight are none other than the bone marrow-derived human mesenchymal stem cells, the clowns of our biological extravaganza! These stem cells have a knack for turning up where the fun is needed most, repairing tissues and calming down the chaos.

The “Jack-of-all-trades,” these stem cells are like the Swiss army knife of the human body, except they can’t open a bottle of wine. However, they can do almost everything else. Need to repair a bone? Check. Regenerate cartilage? Check. Support blood cell formation? Double check. These versatile cells are the ultimate multitaskers.

Our stem cells reside in the bone marrow, a cozy little neighborhood where they can sip on mineral cocktails and have regular bone-chats. When the body sends out an SOS, these stem cells rush to the rescue, making them the unsung heroes of the human body.

The ‘cell-fie’ of a lifetime

Just like your grandma’s old camera, stem cells have a knack for taking a “cell-fie.” They have this fantastic ability to turn into specialized cells, adapting to the needs of the body. Need more bone cells? Voila! The stem cells magically transform into osteoblasts, the architects of our skeletons.

These cells also act as the “inflammation party crashers.” When the body’s in distress, the inflammation party is in full swing. But fear not. Our mesenchymal stem cells are the peacekeepers of the party. They waltz into the inflammation scene and say, “Calm down, fellas, let’s all get along.” In a matter of time, the party is over, and peace is restored.

Think of stem cells as the spa day for your cells. When tissues need rejuvenation, these stem cells release a cocktail of healing factors, acting like a bunch of tiny masseuses, making every cell in the body feel relaxed and rejuvenated.

In this uproarious circus of science, bone-marrow derived human mesenchymal stem cells steal the show with their versatile acts and ability to keep our biological circus running smoothly. So, the next time you hear about these stem cells, remember the laughter and applause they bring to the complex and fascinating world of human biology. The circus must go on, and so does the magic of science!

***

For inquiries, call Ikki Ocampo at +81-80-1217-0419 (WhatsApp) or via email at ikki.ocampo@gmail.com or with me at 09998834802 or my email at gc_beltran@yahoo.com.

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