Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are a rapidly evolving area of stem cell science. Since the discovery of the cell type in 2006, there have been several important market events, including the first ever clinical trial in humans which launched in August of 2013 to evaluate the capacity of iPSC-derived cell sheets for their ability to restore vision in patients with wet-type macular degeneration. More recently, the Supreme Court rejected the right of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) to control patents related to iPSC derivation in a landmark patent decision issued in February 2015.
Every month there are major events occurring in the iPSC sector that shift industry dynamics. Read on to get informed about the most important iPSC market events as of June 2015.
iPSC News Round-Up for June 2015
Horizon Discovery Group inks agreement with DefiniGEN to develop gene-engineered iPS-based cell lines
[June 11, 2015] Horizon Discovery Group plc, the international life science company supplying research tools and services that power genomics research and the development of personalized medicines, and DefiniGEN Ltd, a leading provider of stem cell products and services, have entered into a collaboration to develop a range of unique, gene-engineered iPS (induced pluripotent stem)-based cell lines for use in research.
The partnership, formed to enable customers to exploit the power of genome editing in iPS cells, is made possible through Horizon’s deep expertise in gene editing, and DefiniGEN’s world-leading iPS cell-derived human cell production and metabolic disease modelling capabilities.
Thermo-responsive polymeric nanoparticles for enhancing neuronal differentiation of human induced pluripotent stem cells
[June 17, 2015] We report thermo-responsive retinoic acid (RA)-loaded poly(N-isopropylacrylamide)-co-acrylamide (PNIPAM-co-Am) nanoparticles for directing human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC) fate. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and 1H nuclear magnetic resonance analysis confirmed that RA was efficiently incorporated into PNIAPM-co-Am nanoparticles (PCANs).
The positive charge of amine groups in PCANs facilitated the intracellular transfer of nanoparticles. The size of PCANs dropped with increasing temperatures due to its phase transition from hydrophilic to hydrophobic. Due to particle shrinkage caused by this thermo-responsive property of PCANs, RA could be released from nanoparticles in the cells upon cellular uptake. Immunocytochemistry and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction analysis demonstrated that neuronal differentiation of hiPSC-derived neuronal precursors was enhanced after treatment with 1-2 μg/ml RA-loaded PCANs.
Therefore, we propose that this PCAN could be a potentially powerful carrier for effective RA delivery to direct hiPSC fate to neuronal lineage.
A cost-effective and efficient reprogramming platform for large-scale production of integration-free human induced pluripotent stem cells in chemically defined culture
[June 11, 2015] Factors limiting the adoption of iPSC technology include the cost of developing lines and the time period that it takes to characterize and bank them, particularly when integration free, feeder free, and Xeno-free components are used.
In this manuscript we describe our optimization procedure that enables a single technician to make 20–40 lines at a time in a 24–96 well format in a reliable and reproducible fashion. Improvements spanned the entire workflow and included using RNA virus, reducing cytotoxicity of reagents, developing improved transfection and freezing efficiencies, modifying the manual colony picking steps, enhancing passaging efficiency and developing early criteria of success. These modifications allowed us to make more than two hundred well-characterized lines per year.
Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells: New Tool for Studying Insulin Resistance
[June 17, 2015] Induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells may offer researchers a novel way to study insulin resistance and metabolic disorders like diabetes in humans. Salvatore Iovino, PhD, an employee at Merck in Boston who conducted this research while completing postdoctoral studies at Joslin Diabetes Center, said researchers know that insulin resistance primarily affects the liver, adipocytes and skeletal muscle. However, they remain unsure of the exact timing of disease, which tissues are hit first by insulin resistance and, more importantly, what pathways are changed in these tissues.
“Today, we can generate iPS cells from insulin-resistant patients and therefore generate insulin-resistant iPS cells,” he said during a presentation. “In this way, we can use iPS cells as a tool to dissect molecular pathways that can lead to insulin resistance in different tissues in the same individual,” Iovino added, noting that this has potential ramifications for personalized medicine and regenerative medicine like beta-cell transplantation, as well as disease modeling and drug discovery.
Generation of human iPSC from cells of fibroblastic and epithelial origin by means of the oriP/EBNA-1 episomal reprogramming system
[June 18, 2015] The prospect of therapeutic applications of the induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) is based on their ability to generate virtually any cell type present in human body. Generation of iPS cells from somatic cells has opened up new possibilities to investigate stem cell biology, to better understand pathophysiology of human diseases and to design new therapy approaches in the field of regenerative medicine.In this study we focus on the ability of episomal system, a non-viral and integration-free reprogramming method to derive iPSC from somatic cells of various origin. We performed a side-by-side comparison of iPSC colony forming efficiencies in fibroblasts and epithelial cells transiently transfected with episomal plasmids, and demonstrated that iPSC generation efficiency was highest when donor samples were derived from epithelial cells. We determined that reprogramming efficiency of episomal system could be further improved.
Based on results obtained in the course of this study, we believe that episomal reprogramming provides a simple, reproducible and efficient tool for generating clinically relevant pluripotent cells.
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To learn more about trends and events affecting the iPSC market, view the “Compete 2015-16 Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell (iPSC) Industry Report.”
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