Stem Cells and Pluripotency
Primary mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) can be isolated from a range of tissues throughout development but undergo replicative senescence during their expansion in the laboratory. Luckily, pluripotent progenitors, such as embryonic stem cells (ESC) or induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) can be used as alternative source of MSC (iMSC). We are engineering human iMSC to express and deliver high levels of therapeutic molecules for applications in regenerative medicine. We are also using iMSC to develop human organ-on-chip platforms, which enable to test the regenerative potency and toxicity of new therapeutics.
Exosomes are small extracellular vesicles (EVs) released by cells that have the potential of modulating the behaviour of target cells. We are developing exosome therapy to replace the use of live mesenchymal stem cells and avoid the need of multiple donors. We engineer the cargo of the exosomes to increase their regenerative efficacy.
Osteogenesis Imperfecta (Brittle Bone Disease)
Stem Cells and PluripoteOsteogenesis imperfecta (OI) is a rare genetic disease with prenatal onset affecting bones and connective tissue and characterised by fragile bones that break easily. OI is caused by genetic defects that result in insufficient production or abnormal type I collagen, which is the main component of bones. Grants from the MRC, Rosetrees Trust and Stoneygate Trust are currently funding a project to combine iPSC and gene editing technology to develop personalised cell-based and cell-free therapeutics for the treatment of OI.
Neonatal Brain Damage
Acute ischemic stroke is caused by a sudden reduction in the blood supply to the brain and affects men and women of all ages, including neonates and children. Stroke produces neurological impairment, including cognitive, functional and mental health disabilities requiring long-term support. We are developing in vitro organ-on-chip platforms, which will enable to evaluate the therapeutic efficacy of innovative neuro-regenerative treatments.