Evercyte developing ‘B-different’ human B-cells from iPSCs
Press Release | Evercyte GmbH
NOVEMBER 27, 2014
Vienna, Austria: – Innovative manufacturer of cell-based products Evercyte is heading towards the development of human B-cells from urine-derived induced pluripotent stem cells.
Evercyte is undertaking development in co-operation with the Children’s Cancer Research Institute / St. Anna Kinderkrebsforschunge.V. in Vienna as a great step forward in generating B-cells for basic research. This project is funded by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG).
Deficiencies of B-cells as a type of lymphocyte in the humoral immunity of the adaptive immune system can cause severe illnesses like agammaglobulinemia or aplastic anemia. Further, genetic alterations can cause B-cell leukemia. Therefore it is highly important to develop B-cells for in vitro test systems, along with proteins produced from B-cells.
Reprogramming iPSC technology
In 2006, Shinya Yamanaka pioneered the induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology at the Universityof Kyoto, Japan, showing that introducing specific transcription factors could convert adult cells into pluripotent stem cells.Since then, it has become feasible to reprogram adult somatic cells to form iPSCs that can, under appropriate conditions, develop or differentiate to all cell types ofthe adult human organism.
Hitherto, it has been problematic to differentiate iPS cells into all lineages with the same efficiency. This has meant, for example, that differentiation towards B-cells has not worked efficiently, with derived cells often not fully functional.
Evercyte has now developed a procedure for the reprogramming of urinary-derived cells to iPSCs in collaboration with partners from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Guangzhou.
Novel in vitro tests
Dr. Johannes Grillari, Evercyte’s co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer, said: “This groundbreaking discovery possesses great potential in basic and pharmaceutical research, for example to study embryonic development, differentiation processes and to develop novel in vitro test systems.”
“Moreover, iPS cells hold great promise in the development of novel autologous, patient-specific cell-based therapies,” said Dr. Grillari.
Regina Grillari, Chief Technology Officer of Evercyte, commented: “With of use of autologous, non-invasively isolated cells as a starting material for reprogramming, we have further improved the generation of patient-specific iPS cell lines. Using urine as cell source obviates any ethical concerns, is harmless to the donors and allows the generation of iPS cell lines from any consenting individual, healthy or diseased.”
Evercyte’s ‘B-different’ program in co-operation with Dr. Klaus Fortschegger (project coordinator) from the Children’s Cancer Research Institute / St. Anna Kinderkrebsforschunge.V. aims to develop a strategy for the reproducible, highly efficient generation of B-cells from human, urinary derived iPS cells.
Dr. Fortschegger explained: “We will systematically adapt cultivation conditions and gene expression properties of iPS cells to direct their differentiation tendency toward the B-lineage. Thus ‘B-different’ can form a highly interesting approach to basic research, either to study B-cell development and malignancy in vitro, or to get hold of genetically altered B-cells or their products.“
As the industry partner, Evercyte will be able to offer generation of donor specificB-cells generated from urine samples provided by the costumer or defined off-the-shelf B-cells.
There is also the potential to develop products derived from B-cells. These could comprise, for instance, proteins produced naturally by B-cells or recombinant proteins produced by B-cells generated from genetically engineered iPSC cells.
Evercyte GmbH is a spin-off company of the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU-VIBT). It was founded to offer immortalized cells that retain their primary-like human cell characteristics for pharmaceutical R&D. Evercyte’s mission is to accelerate drug discovery and development by developing immortalized cells and cell lines that retain their parental characteristics.
The Vienna-based laboratory manufactures a range of cell-based products, including primary-like hTERT immortalized or life span extended cells, with cells differentiated from immortalized or normal stem cells. It has developed highly relevant human cell models such as RPTEC/TERT1 for kidney studies, along with colon, bronchial and kidney epithelial cells. The company also markets tailored keratinocytes, melanocytes or endothelial cells as well as podocytes for drug screening strategies.
Recently Evercyte entered the market for induced pluripotent stem cells by establishing human urine as a fully non-invasive method to generate relevant cellular model systems. Systematically establishing and commercializing relevant cell model systems from donors of different genetic backgrounds, Evercyte’s Pharmacocellomics™ is also improving the predictability of substance efficiencies and side effects in the general population.
The company’s services include customer-tailored immortalized cell strain development as well as cell based assay development.
Birgit Marckhgott, Evercyte GmbH
St. Anna Kinderkrebsforschung e.V.
CCRI – CHILDREN’S CANCER RESEARCH INSTITUTE
Zimmermannplatz 10, 1090 Vienna, Austria
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