UMIP-60 – Large Scale Production of Purified Schwann Cells From Nerve Tissue For Clinical Use

Problem:Within the field of regenerative medicine, the application of transplantation to repair injuries and to treat disease is accelerating. In terms of commercially developed cellular therapeutics, the majority of FDA-approved products, such as umbilical cord blood derived hematopoietic stem cells, are for hematological diseases. It is urgent that regenerative medicine be applied to injuries and diseases of the central nervous system (CNS) that lack reparative therapies. Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a CNS condition for which tissue repair and regeneration treatments are emerging. An estimated 265,000 people are living with chronic SCI, and there are 12,000 new injuries each year in the United States. When SCI caused by chronic spinal column degeneration is included, the number of persons affected is much greater. Cellular transplantation has been proven to support axonal regeneration and myelin repair after SCI in several animal models. Axonal regeneration in peripheral nerves is dependent upon Schwann cells (SC). Efficient propagation of SC cultures suitable for transplantation has proven difficult and serves as a major obstacle to realizing the full potential of this regenerative therapy. Previously employed methods are plagued by limited SC yields that are unsuitable for large-scale manufacturing and, in some instances, require SC exposure to antibodies and other reagents that complicate the production of clinical products intended for human application. Technology: Researchers in Dr. Dalton Dietrich’s Laboratory the University of Miami’s Miami Project to Cure Paralysis have developed novel methods for producing a highly viable (> 98%) and pure (>90%) population of human Schwann cells, suitable for transplantation. Peter Gutenberg 305-243-4604

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