de novo Cell


Chemical production of induced pluripotent stem cells

About

DeNovoCell™ has developed a proprietary procedure for the rapid and efficient production of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from cord blood mononuclear cells. Conversion rates between 80-90% are obtained in less than a month. Since the method uses small molecule inducers and does not require feeder layer support, the iPSCs produced are free of any genetic modification.

DeNovoCell™ ltd is a spinout from the University of Malta registered in Europe. It is co-owned by the university and the primary inventors of the technology, Prof. Pierre Schembri Wismayer and Dr Ila Tewari Jasra. The company owns an exclusive license to the technology, which is protected through a patent application.

The company is in the process of licensing this technology to a strong commercial partner, who will manufacture and sell kits to allow scientists to produce iPSCs for research purposes using the DeNovoCell™ procedure. Our aim is to also license the procedure to clinical partners for the development of stem cell therapeutics.

Technology

Our patented technology offers several benefits over other currently available technologies for the production of iPSCs. One of the most critical advantages is that we avoid any intervention that can modify the DNA of the donor cells. We use chemical inducers in the form of small molecules that do not alter the cellular DNA. Furthermore, we avoid the use of a feeder layer that could introduce external DNA into the cells.

Our method induces pluripotent stem cells from the cord blood mononuclear cells with conversion rates on the order of 80-90% within 4-5 weeks. This is a remarkable improvement over the conversion rates on the order of 1% obtained using other methods presently on the market, including the methods developed through the Nobel Prize-winning work of Prof Shinya Yamanaka at Kyoto University who pioneered this field.

Novelty

The technology offers a method to rapidly induce high quality iPSCs from cord blood. Our research has demonstrated that these iPSCs can be developed into any of the three primary germ cell layers, and possibly into all the different cell types of the adult body.

Our team is continuously researching the procedure on peripheral blood and obtaining very promising results. The research will be further extended to include urinary epithelial cells. This means that high quality iPSCs specific to an individual can be produced in a matter of weeks and these can be developed further to produce any tissue types needed. This has the potential to revolutionise the field of stem cell therapy, since these cells would be the patient’s own cells, thus avoiding both rejection as well as potentially dangerous immune invisibility.

Their rapid development makes these cells viable both for widespread therapeutics as well as for scientific use, experimentation and research purposes. This brings the idea of personalised induced pluripotent stem cells into the realm of general public, for present or future regenerative medicine possibilities, which could target diseases such as Parkinsons disease, infertility, liver disease and heart failure to name a few.

Inventors


Lead Inventor

Prof. Pierre Schembri Wismayer

Prof Pierre Schembri-Wismayer qualified as a medical doctor from the University of Malta in 1991. He then pursued his PhD in Molecular and Cellular Oncology, at the Beatson Institute for Cancer Research in affiliation with Glasgow University in the UK. He is presently Associate Professor at the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery and teaches Clinical and Applied Anatomy as well as Cell Biology.

His departmental research includes developing novel methods of immunotherapy and virotherapy as well as malignant cell differentiation as cancer therapeutics. He has developed new methods of producing induced pluripotent stem cells together with Dr Ila Tewari. He has a strong interest in anatomical biomechanics, and has developed a patented novel hip joint prosthesis design in collaboration with Engineering colleagues. He is a co-inventor involved in parenting other medical devices for use in surgery, both orthopedic and general.

Dr Ila Tewari Jasra

Dr. Ila Tewari Jasra is an experienced researcher with demonstrated history of working with commercial stem cell industries. She has studied the role of small molecules in generation of pluripotent stem cells as a source. She is highly skilled and has vast experience in stem cell culture, iPSCs and ESC culture in serum free and serum-containing media as well as specialized techniques such as making embryoid bodies. She also has advanced knowledge of investigative molecular and cellular techniques including flow cytometry, RNA Analysis and RT-PCR.

She also has extensive experience in working in a GMP grade environment following all GLP and GCP protocols. Strong research professional with a Master's degree focusing on Medical Microbiology from Amity University, Noida, India. Having an insatiable passion for research she has earned her PhD from University of Malta on "Derivation of Induced Pluripotent Stem cells from Cord Blood".


Co-Inventor