IFN-γ-Tethered Hydrogels Enhance Mesenchymal Stem Cell-Based Immunomodulation and Promote Tissue Repair

University of Michigan Background
Human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) are multipotent stem cells capable of differentiating into a variety of tissue types. Additionally, these cells exhibit immunomodulatory activity, making them an attractive avenue for treating chronic inflammatory and autoimmune disease. Studies show that treatment with hMSCs can help alleviate Crohn’s disease symptoms, but only for about half of patients. Other studies show that modulating hMSCs with pro-inflammatory stimuli such as interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) elicits full immunomodulatory response from hMSCs. Cells can be treated with IFN-γ ex vivo, but this creates extra regulatory red-tape for use of these cells in human therapeutics.
Technology Overview
This technology consists of a method to treat hMSCs with IFN-γ in vivo. This is done by tethering IFN-γ to a hydrogel and injecting this as a scaffold encapsulating hMSCs. Researchers successfully used this method to treat both immunocompromised and immunocompetent mice to compare colonic wounds (). This provides a novel method for applying IFN-γ to hMSCs which may allow easier access as a human therapeutic.
Further Details
IFN-γ-tethered hydrogels enhance mesenchymal stem cell-based immunomodulation and promote tissue repair
Benefits
This technology consists of a novel method for treating human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) with IFN-γ to increase immunomodulatory function. Unlike previous methods, this technology allows researchers to treat hMSCs in vivo by tethering IFN-γ to a hydrogel scaffold surrounding the cells. Because this is an in vivo method as opposed to ex vivo, regulation restrictions are not as pertinent and this therapy will be easier to apply.
Applications

Treatment of Crohn’s disease and other ailments with colonic wounds
Potential treatment of other inflammatory or autoimmune diseases such as IBD, UC, and Rheumatoid arthritis
Hydrogel technique may be used for scaffolding of stem cells in other contexts

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