The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued a patent for human embryonic stem cells derived mesenchymal stem cells, called hES-T-MSC or T-MSC, and for their method of production. This newly patented technology was developed by ImStem Biotechnology in collaboration with the University of Connecticut (UConn) to advance new therapies for multiple sclerosis (MS) and other autoimmune diseases.
The hES-T-MSCs have the potential to treat autoimmune disorders caused in part by increased reactivity of immune T-cells. These stem cells — discovered by Dr. Ren He Xu, former director of UConn Stem Cell Core, and Dr. Xiaofang Wang — are of particular interest for MS.
“Current therapies temporarily treat MS symptoms, but come with severe side effects and high costs – $60K per year,” Wang, ImStem’s chief technology officer, said in a UConn news release. “ImStem’s technology can offer strong immunosuppression and tissue regeneration with no side effects. It is more robust than other adult stem cell therapies.”
In previous studies, this research team demonstrated that using a specific protocol made it possible to produce hES-T-MSC that could successfully treat animal models with MS-like disease.
These cells have a specific characteristic that makes them superior to other stem cell models: the fact they can produce low levels of a pro-inflammatory molecule called interleukin-6 (IL-6). This minimizes potential disease-promoting effects, reducing inflammatory-related adverse events.
In addition, these cells can be modulated to originate mature cells that express specific proteins of interest. Since these cells can cross the blood-brain barrier and the blood-spinal cord barrier, they may also carry therapeutic agents directly to diseased sites.
ImStem is a spinoff of the UConn Stem Cell Core Lab and operates with private capital. It is based at the UConn Technology Incubation Program (TIP) in Farmington, Connecticut. The company works with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to obtain all the necessary clearances to initiate clinical trials with its hES-T-MSC next year.
“None of this would have been possible without the vision and support of the state of Connecticut and UConn,” said Michael Men, CEO of ImStem. “As a physician and business person, I am naturally pleased to be part of the ImStem team, but without visionary partners like CT Innovations, UConn and Connecticut’s elected officials, the work of our company would not have progressed.”
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