New funding will support development of personalized cell therapies for compromised patient populations

Written by Freya Leask

A Biomedical Catalyst Primer Award will fund research into low transfection efficient in patients with already highly compromised cell populations.

Locate Therapeutics (UK) has received a Biomedical Catalyst Primer Award to fund CellFuse, a project that could lead to a breakthrough in the development of personalized cell therapies. The project will initially focus on spinal fusions in patients with diabetes, a group with historically poor clinical outcomes and more frequent complications are autograft or bone graft substitute fusions.

A number of factors contribute to failed transfections, foremost of which is low availability of mesenchymal stem cells required to generate new tissue and their subsequent compromised function due to injury at administration sites. With the award’s funding, Locate Therapeutics will aim to demonstrate the ability of its combined IntraStem synthetic peptide-based intracellular delivery system and targeted, orchestrated signaling (TAOS®) polymer-based matrix to improve low transfection efficiency in patients with already highly compromised cell populations.

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In CellFuse, immortalization RNAs will be delivered into patient cells to amplify their numbers and overcome shortfalls. In TAOS, the cells will have a robust delivery matrix that maintains their viability, promoting differentiation and localization.

“IntraStem…has been shown to increase intracellular delivery of protein by two orders of magnitude and is especially effective at delivering these payloads to pluripotent stem cells that have proved resistant to conventional cell penetrating peptide strategies. TAOS then creates an ideal environment for the cells to differentiate,” says Dr Robin Quirk, CEO, Locate Therapeutics.

“We are therefore delighted to receive this grant which will enable us to further demonstrate the potential of our approach by taking a truly personalized cell therapy into clinic. Going forward we will also be looking to promote IntraStem’s potentially unrivalled efficiency for delivering antibodies, magnetic nanoparticles and nucleic acids (plasmid (p)DNA, mRNA and siRNA) into cells at much higher levels than the current alternatives for reprogramming, as well as improving gene editing, using for example, the CRISPR-cas9 approach.”

Source: Locate Therapeutics press release