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European Biopharmaceutical Review

The Potential of Pluripotent Stem Cells for ‘Off-the-Shelf’ Cell Therapy

Somatic cells acquire their characteristics by gradually losing the potency to differentiate into other cell types. The traditional developmental dogma follows the differentiation process from totipotent stem cells, to pluripotent stem cells (PSCs), to multipotent stem cells, and, finally, to terminally differentiated cells. During this developmental journey, the capacity for self-renewal and differentiation are reduced. Totipotent stem cells have the capacity to differentiate into embryonic and extra-embryonic (placental tissues and foetal membranes) cell types, and to generate a complete and viable organism. PSCs retain the capacity to differentiate into any of the three germ layers (ectoderm, mesoderm, and endoderm), but not into extra-embryonic tissues. Multipotent stem cells also retain the ability to develop into multiple specialised cell types, but are limited to a specific tissue or organ.

Pluripotent embryonic stem cells (ESCs) can be isolated from the inner cell mass of the human blastocyst that develops at approximately five to six days after fertilisation and prior to uterine implantation. Several ethical questions, not discussed here, surrounding the use of ESCs in research have been raised due to their origin. ESCs can be expanded indefinitely in vitro by co-culturing them with feeder cells (e.g., human embryonic fibroblasts) or under feeder- and serum-free culture conditions in the presence of growth factors.

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Dr Alessandra De Riva is the Director of Process Development at Mogrify. Since gaining her PhD in molecular immunology at UCL in 2006, Alessandra has held a variety of positions in both the public and private sectors. She is currently Director of Process Development at Mogrify and focused on the development of scalable next-generation cell therapies.

alessandra.deriva@mogrify.co.uk

Dr Eirini Koutsouraki is a Senior Scientist at Mogrify. Eirini completed her PhD in stem cell biology at the University of Edinburgh, UK. During her PhD, Eirini worked to define epigenetic and environmental determinants of undifferentiated human ESC renewal. Eirini has also held various scientific roles at biotech companies and has developed broad expertise in PSCs and stem cell differentiations.

eirini.koutsouraki@mogrify.co.uk
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Dr Alessandra De Riva
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Dr Eirini Koutsouraki
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