ACTC.OB or ACT will utilize its transdifferentiation platform to enhance regenerative medicine.
Transdifferentiation involves reprogramming one type of adult cell, such as skin, into an altogether different type of cell, such as muscle or insulin-producing cells, without having to generate stem cells,
- Scientists successfully turned ordinary fibroblasts into beating heart cells, providing new evidence that transdifferentiation will play an important role in the field of regenerative medicine.
These proprietary processes may be particularly significant where the reprogramming factor would be delivered as an extracellular agent rather than through a recombinant expression vector, and consequently removes safety issues otherwise arising from genetically modifying cells as described in the recent transdifferentiation papers by Vierbuchen et al (Nature 463, 1035, 2010) and Leda et al (Cell, 142, 375, 2010),
- ACT‘s proprietary technology is a necessary step to a predictable and safe process for the practical reprogramming of cells in a clinical product setting.
“Our field has evolved from considering cell differentiation as an irreversible event to slowly accepting that cell fate is responsive to manipulation even late in differentiation,” said Robert Lanza, M.D., Chief Scientific Officer at ACT.
- “Although there is a rich history to transdifferentiation, this research was pushed into the background with the advent of iPS cells. Only now is the regenerative medicine industry realizing its therapeutic appeal, and that some of the same techniques used for generating iPS cells can be used to directly reprogram one cell type into another,
- Even as researchers rush to implement the latest in stem-cell and iPS technologies, there is still a desire to manipulate cell identity without the need to begin with stem cells,
- Although transdifferentiation won’t replace the need for stem cells, it offers another strategy which, like iPS cells, can be used to develop cell products for use in patients when those sources of cells may be safer or better tolerated.”