Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have inspired a great deal of activity as a novel therapeutic approach. Presently, MSC-based clinical trials are being conducted for a variety of disease conditions, with many trials demonstrating safety and efficacy.
Clinical utility of MSCs can be attributed to four key biological properties:
- Their potential to migrate to sites of inflammation caused by tissue injury when injected intravenously
- Their potential to differentiate into different cell types
- Their potential to release different bioactive molecules that can stimulate the recovery of injured cells
- Their ability to modulate inflammation and accomplish immunomodulatory functions
Currently, several hundred MSC clinical trials are in progress across different parts of the world, including within the U.S. European Union (EU), China, Middle East, and South Korea. Among these clinical trials, approximately one-third are exploiting MSCs for various disease indications. Unfortunately, only a small number of clinical trials using MSCs have reached Phase III, indicating that the therapeutic potential for MSCs has yet to be realized.
One of the major bottlenecks to the industry is how to manufacture clinical-grade MSCs on a commercial scale, which Australian regenerative medicine company Cynata Therapeutics (ASX:CYP) is aiming to solve.
To fully understand the cell type and its evolution over time, this post considers key dates in the discovery of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). [Read more…]