Oct 27, 2011Programming Cells to Home to Specific Tissues may Enable More Effective Cell-based Therapies
For this new platform, researchers engineered the surface of cells to include receptors that act as a homing device. “The central hypothesis of our work is that the ability of cells to home to specific tissues can be enhanced, without otherwise altering cell function,” said corresponding author Jeffrey M. Karp, PhD, co-director of the Regenerative Therapeutics Center at BWH and a principal faculty member of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. “By
While conventional cell therapies that include local administration of cells can be useful, they are typically more invasive with limited potential for multiple doses. “You can imagine, that when the targeted tissue is cardiac muscle, for example to treat heart attacks or heart failure, injecting the cells directly into the heart can be an invasive procedure and typically this approach can only be performed once,” said Dr. Karp, also an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and affiliate faculty Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology.
Using the platform the researchers created, the cells are prepared to travel directly to the area of interest after being injected through a common and much less invasive intravenous infusion method. “These engineered cells may also be more effective because multiple doses can be administered” stated Debanjan Sarkar, PhD, previously a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Karp’s lab and now an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the State University of New York, University at Buffalo.
“The necessity for a more effective delivery approach stems from the potential diseases cell therap
The researchers concluded that, as the understanding of the mechanisms of cell trafficking grows, the ability to improve homing to specific tissues through engineered approaches should significantly enhance cell therapy by reducing the invasiveness of local administration, permitting repeat dosing, and potentially reducing the number of cells required to achieve a therapeutic effect, ultimately providing better outcomes for patients.
Study authors also include: Sebastian Schafer, Weian Zhao, Dawn P. Spelke, Joseph A. Philips, Praveen Kumar Vemula, and Rukmani Sridharan, each of Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, and the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Science and Technology; Joel A. Spencer, of Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and Tufts University; Rohit Karnik, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and Charles P.Lin, of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.
Full Text of the study in Blood.
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