Scientific breakthroughs have allowed human neural stem cells to be created from a patient’s own somatic cells. Although these artificially created neural cells hold great promise for the treatment of spinal cord injury and neurological disorders, they are created by genetic manipulation of cells using viral vectors. These genetic manipulations have raised concerns that the neural cells may be unsafe for human transplantation, due to the risk of unknown genetic mutation and their potential to develop into cancer cells.
In order to avoid these risks, inventors at UT Health have developed a novel method for creating neural cells from a patient’s own skin cells without the need for genetic manipulation. These cells are able to quickly and successfully differentiate into multiple neural cell lines that may be useful for neural therapies in the clinic.
Researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston have created multiple neural cell lines directly from fibroblasts without the use of viral vectors. Neural stem cells created with this method have been successfully transplanted into mice and are able to assimilate into the nervous system in vivo, showing promise for neural therapies.
•A patients own fibroblasts can be transformed into neural cells for treatment of spinal cord injury or neurological disorders
•Cells are transformed using protein treatments, without the need for viral vectors or genetic manipulation
•These neural stem cells can survive, integrate, and differentiate within the nervous system of healthy mice or mice with spinal cord injury
The global market for stem cells and stem cell products was $3.8 billion in 2011 and expected to reach $6.6 billion by 2016. The global market for treatments of spinal cord injury is estimated to be $10 billion.
IP Status: US provisional patent application filed
License Available: World-wide; exclusive or non-exclusive
Researchers: Dr. Dong Kim, Dr. Qi Lin Cao