CBR stores samples from more than half a million children and aims to advance the clinical applications of cord blood and cord tissue stem cells. Headquartered in California, the company says it has helped more than 300 families to use their cord blood cell cells for established and experimental medical treatments.
The stem cell foundation it is partnering with will create induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell lines from umbilical cord tissue collected after birth and provided by CBR. iPS are a type of stem cell typically generated directly from adult tissue. The partnership will take advantage of the non-profit foundation’s research and technology capabilities.
Umbilical cord tissue is largely an untapped source of cells for medical research and cell therapies, NYSCF said.
NYSCF will use proprietary robotic technology to create the stem cells. Its teams will receive the material from CBR and select a subset appropriate for reprogramming to generate iPS cells, which are special because they have the ability to mature into any type of cell in a person’s body.
“Traditional isolation of stem cells has been very artisanal at best,” Stephen Chang, VP of research and development, told Biopharma-Reporter.com, comparing this to artisanal home baking.
“That is fine for cooking, but for consistency and reproducibility and at the same time for cost and for high-throughout, an array is important.”
The NYSCF Global Stem Cell Array is a first of a kind. “It is a set of robotic stations that handle cell culture; we figure out what humans do by hand and we mechanise that in a series of steps. We have a room with a bunch of machines replacing humans, working 24/7, and it is all computer monitored,” Chang said.
NYSCF will characterize resulting stem cells, ensure quality and cryopreserve the cells for research and for future use. The foundation remains the only one to have a major robotic platform to efficiently produce stem cells with significantly reduced variability between resulting stem cell lines.
The stem cell lines produced will be used for use in biomedical research and may be used to better understand human biology.
“Because the Array reduces variability between resulting iPS cell lines, genetic differences between cells are more readily detected," explained Scott Noggle, VP of stem cell research at NYSCF.
"Creating iPS cells from cord tissue may be a powerful tool for biobanking with future therapies in mind, and may also help us glean critical insights into human disease and cures now."
CBR has partnered with research institutions to set up FDA-regulated clinical trials to explore the potential regenerative ability of stem cells to help treat conditions that have no cure today, including acquired hearing loss, autism, cerebral palsy and paediatric stroke. “In fact, 73% of the stem cell units released by CBR have been used for experimental regenerative therapies,” according to the company.