For many years, progress in stem cell medicine has been held back because of a lack of effective and efficient methods for the manufacture of therapeutic adult tissue stem cells. Massachusetts stem cell biotechnology company Asymmetrex announces this week that it now offers a new contract service that can help suppliers of therapeutic adult tissue stem cells produce significantly more stem cells at greatly reduced cost.
Asymmetrex Introduces New Contract Service to Produce Greater Numbers of Therapeutic Adult Tissue Stem Cells at Reduced Cost
Today, Asymmetrex, the Massachusetts based stem cell biotechnology innovator, begins offering a new contract service to support the cell therapy industry’s production of therapeutic adult tissue stem cells. Stem cells are a small sub-population of specialized cells that function to renew and repair the organs and tissues of children and adults. Stem cells from a healthy donor can be transplanted to restore or repair diseased or damaged organs and tissues in patients who are sick or injured.
Stem cell transplant treatments do not require expansion of donor stem cells when a donor with a compatible immune system is available for a patient. However, in general, there are many more patients in need of a transplant than there are immune compatible donors. So, the future ability of stem cell medicine to address the full degree of medical need depends on developing the ability to expand initial donor stem cell populations into larger numbers without loss of their curative properties. Expanded numbers of quality adult tissue stem cells are also needed to support statistically sound clinical trials for continued development of stem cell transplant therapies.
Asymmetrex’s new advance for cell therapy suppliers is the result of the company’s unique proprietary expertise in adult tissue stem cell culture. Its recently patented AlphaSTEM Test™ technology, which is a means to count adult tissues stem cells specifically for the first time, is based on the earlier discovery that during expansion in culture, ironically, adult tissue stem cells are lost as a result of their intrinsic tissue renewal property. Under typical culture conditions, stem cells continuously produce non-stem cells that subsequently undergo significant, though limited, multiplication. However, as in the body, stem cells do this while not multiplying their own number. The result of these continued natural processes in culture is progressive dilution and loss of the stem cells with each subsequent expansion culture.
Recently, Asymmetrex demonstrated that not only can its AlphaSTEM Test™ technology be used to count and certify the quality of adult tissue stem cells, but it can also be used to establish unique culture conditions projected to reduce stem cell dilution significantly during expansion. Asymmetrex’s Director, James L. Sherley, M.D., Ph.D., shares, “Two years ago when we achieved specific counting, I expected that we would be able to find conditions for increasing stem cell number, too; but even I didn’t anticipate the projected huge savings in production costs!” The company’s projections indicate that it can achieve production of twice as many stem cells as several companies have reported, but require only 5% or less of their production cost. The required culture time is also reduced significantly.
The new service has been developed first for human mesenchymal stem cells, which are found in a variety of tissues including bone marrow, adipose (fat), umbilical cord, and amniotic fluid. These cells are an ideal first focus, as there are many companies worldwide working on their production to supply hundreds of stem cell transplantation clinical trials each year. Asymmetrex plans to also investigate application of the method to other types of adult tissue stem cells, which have been largely dismissed for expansion because their donor populations are not as proliferative as mesenchymal stem cells. Sherley says that blood stem cells are a very important member of this latter group on the Asymmetrex horizon.
Asymmetrex, LLC is a Massachusetts life sciences company with a focus on developing technologies to advance stem cell medicine. Asymmetrex’s founder and director, James L. Sherley, M.D., Ph.D., is an internationally recognized expert on the unique properties of adult tissue stem cells. The company’s patent portfolio contains biotechnologies that solve the two main technical problems – quantification and production – that have stood in the way of successful commercialization of human adult tissue stem cells for regenerative medicine and drug development. In addition, the portfolio includes novel technologies for isolating cancer stem cells and producing induced pluripotent stem cells for disease research purposes. Asymmetrex markets the first technology for determination of the dose and quality of tissue stem cell preparations (the “AlphaSTEM Test™”) for use in stem cell transplantation therapies and in pre-clinical assays for drug safety. The same technology underpins Asymmetrex’s contract service for optimizing manufacturing processes for therapeutic adult tissue stem cells.