Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Greatest Challenges in Cell Therapy Today

Joining us in this Cell Therapy Bioprocessing & Commercialization Podcast is Jeff Karp - Associate Professor of Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School. Jeff talks about the challenges facing the cell therapy space, how to improve cell homing following transplantation, and control cells among other things.

What are some of the greatest challenges in cell therapy today? 

I think that we’re getting to a point in time where we can obtain almost any cell type in unlimited quantities with a few exceptions. This is using reprogramming, programming, different differentiation, protocols that have recently been worked out. So, I really think we are getting to that point where we can obtain nearly any cell type that can then be delivered to patients for treatment. 

While I think we’re there, I think one of the greatest challenges that remains is that once we transplant cells, we lose control over the cells. So, when we’re working with cells in a Petri dish, for example, we can pattern the media, we can put cells on all different types of textured substrates, we can control the media and the environment exquisitely. But, when we transplant cells, they are entirely at the mercy of the biological. So, if they end up in different tissues in the body, they are going to behave completely differently. So, we lose control of those cells following transplantation.

So, I think one of the greatest challenges is how can we now take the cells that we worked so hard to derive in vitro and then transplant those cells into patients and exhibit control so that the cells get to the right location and can perform their function when they get there.

[The above was an excerpt from the podcast]

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