Stemgenics: Personalized Stem Cell Development for Tissue Regeneration
Dr. Andranik Andrew Aprikyan, Founder, CSO and VP
In industry changing research in 2006, mature cells were reprogrammed into pluripotent stem cells by Shinya Yamanaka, who won the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physiology/ Medicine for his groundbreaking work. Yamanaka’s research demonstrated that human mature cells can be reprogrammed into pluripotent stem cells using DNA carrying viruses. However, while this approach was a huge breakthrough in the scientific field, the use of DNA containing viruses to reprogram stem cells can result in detrimental oncogenic events that are unacceptable for clinical use. “What medical industry requires is an approach that preserves the integrity of the cell genome and this is where the Stemgenics innovative cell reprogramming in absence of any genetic manipulation has its advantage,” mentions Dr. Andranik Andrew Aprikyan, founder, CSO, and VP of Stemgenics.
Washington-based Stemgenics specializes in converting mature cells into personalized stem cells for regenerative medicine by exposing individuals’ cells to its patented functionalized nanoparticles that do not contain DNA or viruses. Personalized pluripotent stem cells may be differentiated into any cell type of the human body. In addition, Stemgenics has developed a technology that directly re-programs mature cells from a skin patch or a blood draw into liver or heart cells using its functionalized nanoparticles, that are DNA and virus-free. This approach saves time and money. “Our functionally active nanoparticle reprogramming technology has tremendous potential, which is not limited to clinical regenerative medicine but maybe broadly used, including the treatment of rare genetic diseases,” says Dr. Frederick S. Hagen, CEO of Stemgenics.
Dr. Frederick Stamner Hagen, CEO
However, for now, the company is focused on patients suffering from liver and heart failure, to save the lives and improve their quality of life. Stemgenics begins the organ regeneration procedure by taking a small patch of the patient’s skin or blood sample and places the cells in cell culture. With Stemgenics’ current focus, functionalized nanoparticles added to the cells reprograms them into liver or heart cells. In the case of liver regeneration, the patient’s own cells are infused back into the patient’s body through the portal vein or direct injection, which then repopulate the liver with new cells. In the case of heart regeneration, the heart muscle cells are delivered intramyocardially or with a catheter into the heart where the cells are injected into the damaged area of the heart where they would integrate and begin beating synchronously with surrounding cells. “The great benefit of this reprogramming approach is that the patient receives back their own cells (autologous cells) so rejection is not an issue and the patient does not have to be on lifelong immune suppressive drugs,” says Aprikyan.
The current treatment for liver and heart failure is organ transplantation, but with the limited number of livers and hearts available, most of these patients remain untreated. With Stemgenics’ groundbreaking solution for tissue regeneration, Stemgenics realizes that this approach will save many lives and increase the quality of life for the large number of people suffering from liver or heart failure, who are unable to be treated due to lack of organs for transplant. Stemgenics is currently in a round of equity financing to fund clinical trials for liver and heart regeneration.
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