Pre-Clinical Development of Stem Cell-Based Replacement Therapies for Stroke

Funding Type: 
Disease Team Research I
Grant Number: 
DR1-01454
ICOC Funds Committed: 
$0
Disease Focus: 
Skin Disease
Pediatrics
Stem Cell Use: 
iPS Cell
Cell Line Generation: 
iPS Cell
Public Abstract: 
The goal of this project is to produce a stem cell-based therapy for stroke (also known as an ischemic cerebral infarct) that moves into human clinical trials within four years. Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the USA, and a leading cause of disability among adults. Currently, there are no effective treatments once a stroke has occurred (termed completed stroke). In this proposal we aim to develop human stem cells for therapeutic transplantation to treat stroke within the four-year period of the grant. Potential benefits will outweigh risks because only patients with severe strokes that have compromised activities of daily living to an extreme degree will initially be treated. Currently, there are no effective treatments once a stroke has occurred. In this proposal we will develop human stem cells for therapeutic transplantation to treat stroke. Using a novel approach, we will generate stem cells that do not form tumors, but instead only make new nerve cells. We will give drugs to avoid rejection of the transplanted cells. Thus, the treatment should be safe. We will first test the cells in stroke models in rodents (mice) in preparation for a human clinical trial. We will collect a great deal of data on the mice to determine if the stem cells indeed become new nerve to replace the damaged tissue and to assess if the behavior of the mice has improved. We will perform safety and toxicology testing of the cells in two animal species, including mice and a large animal model, as required by the FDA. A comprehensive, interdisciplinary team, comprised of stem cell biologists, neuropathologists, neurobehaviorists, neurologists and neurosurgeons with clinical trial experience, FDA regulatory experts, statisticians, and immunologists has been assembled from academia and the biotech community of different regions of California to fulfill the aims of this proposal. With this Disease Team participating in frequent meetings with the FDA, we intend to file an NID for a stem cell-based therapeutic for stroke within four years time.
Statement of Benefit to California: 
Stroke (cerebral ischemia) is the third leading cause of death in California and in all states in the USA, and a leading cause of disability among adults. Currently, there are no effective treatments once a stroke has occurred (termed completed stroke). Hence, many Californians are affected by stroke and because of this can no longer work, socialize with their family or friends, or enjoy life. The profound effect on family members of a stroke victim is also not to be minimized, since they must change their own life in order to care for their loved one who has suffered a stroke. Moreover, even Californians in families who have not suffered from a stroke are affected because they are directly or indirectly paying for the care of stroke victims who end up on welfare. Hence, both the human and economic burden of stroke is tremendous. In this proposal we aim to develop human stem cells for therapeutic transplantation to treat stroke patients within the four-year period of the grant. With such therapy we feel that we can improve the plight of stroke victims. We also believe that an effective, straightforward, and broadly understandable way to describe the benefits of this proposal to the citizens of the State of California is to couch the work in the business concept of “Return on Investment.” The novel therapy for stroke that will be developed as a result of our research program will provide direct benefits to the health of California citizens. In addition, this program and its many complementary programs will generate potentially very large, tangible monetary benefits to the citizens of California. These financial benefits will derive from two sources. The first source will be the sale and licensing of the intellectual property rights that will accrue to the state and its citizens from this research program if financed by CIRM. The second source will be the many different kinds of tax revenues that will be generated from the increased bioscience and biomanufacturing businesses that will be active in California because of the success of this CIRM proposal.
Progress Report: 
  • Genetic skin diseases constitute a diverse group of several hundred diseases that affect up to 2% of the population and include common disease such as psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, and wound healing. Patients with one genetic disease, dystrophic Epidermolysis bullosa (EB), lack a normal collagen VII (COL7A1) gene and suffer from debilitating blistering which leads to chronic wounds and scarring that can be lethal by young adulthood. The disease is devastating and despite all efforts, current therapy for DEB is limited to wound care. For recessive dystrophic EB (RDEB) where there is no COL7A1 protein, our EB Disease team has shown that retroviral delivery of the COL7A1 using gene transfer provides a powerful disease modifying activity as autologous, cell-based therapy. In this process, the patient' own cells can be induced to make normal collagen VII. The patients can then receive their own corrected cells back onto their skin. While successful, our initial approach cannot treat many dominantly inherited diseases such as dominant dystrophic EB (DDEB) where a poison subunit inhibits the function of the normal protein. Recent development of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells that are generated from the somatic cells of individual patients could provide an ideal source of therapy. Because of recent advances by our team and others in stem cell technology, our hypothesis is that we can create genetically corrected iPS cells for dominant skin diseases such as DDEB as well as recessive diseases such as RDEB. The goal of the EB Disease team is to develop iPS cells of patients with DEB and genetically correct the patient's own collagen VII defect. We then plan to convert the iPS cell back into skin cells that can be grafted onto the patient's wounds. We plan to develop the processes necessary for iPS cell generation, genetic correction and development of a product that can be grafted back onto the patient's own skin. We will be working within the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in order to create this process while meeting the requirement for successful drug development. Among the FDA requirements are Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) documenting the purity of the created drug.
  • We have made significant scientific progress during the first year of this grant. Using GMP methods we have developed the initial tools required for successful iPS cell development which will meet the FDA requirements for drug development. We have generated iPS cell lines from subjects with documented DEB and began the processes necessary for genetic correction and future skin grafting of the corrected cells back onto the patient. We are doing extensive testing of the iPS-derived skin cells using human skin tissue models to ensure the safety and efficacy of these cells. Soon we will work together with the FDA and our collaborators to generate patient-specific skin grafts. The ability to therapeutically reprogram and replace diseased skin would allow this procedure to develop therapeutic reprogramming approaches for a variety of both common and life-threatening skin diseases. Moreover, genetically-corrected pluripotent iPS cells could form the basis of future systemic therapies to other organs besides the skin to treat common genetic disorders.
  • Genetic skin diseases constitute a diverse group of several hundred diseases that affect up to 2% of the population and include common disease such as psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, and wound healing. Patients with one genetic disease, dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (DEB), lack a normal collagen VII (COL7A1) gene and suffer from debilitating blistering which leads to chronic wounds and scarring that can be lethal by young adulthood. The disease is devastating and despite all efforts, current therapy for DEB is limited to wound care. For recessive dystrophic EB (RDEB) where there is no COL7A1 protein, our EB Disease team has shown that retroviral delivery of the COL7A1 using gene transfer provides a powerful disease modifying activity as autologous, cell-based therapy. In this process, the patient's own cells can be induced to make normal collagen VII. The patients can then receive their own corrected cells back onto their skin. While successful, our initial approach cannot treat many dominantly inherited diseases such as dominant dystrophic EB (DDEB) where a poison subunit inhibits the function of the normal protein. Recent development of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells that are generated from the somatic cells of individual patients could provide an ideal source of therapy. Because of recent advances by our team and others in stem cell technology, our hypothesis is that we can create genetically corrected iPS cells for dominant skin diseases such as DDEB as well as recessive diseases such as RDEB. The goal of the EB Disease team is to develop iPS cells of patients with DEB and genetically correct the patient's own collagen VII defect. We then plan to convert the iPS cell back into skin cells that can be grafted onto the patient's wounds. We plan to develop the processes necessary for iPS cell generation, genetic correction and development of a product that can be grafted back onto the patient's own skin. We will be working with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in order to create this process while meeting the requirement for successful drug development. Among the FDA requirements are Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), documenting the purity of the created drug. We have made significant scientific progress during the first two years of this grant. We have developed the initial tools required for successful iPS cell development which will meet the FDA requirements for drug development. We have generated iPS cell lines from subjects with documented DEB, identified the genetic mutations, and commenced work on the correction of several mutations in the iPS Cells. We are developing the process necessary for future skin grafting of the corrected cells back onto the patient, and have already successfully generated the initial GMP manufacturing protocols leading to clinical grade, corrected patient skin cells. We are currently doing extensive testing of the iPS-derived skin cells using human skin tissue models to ensure the safety and efficacy of these cells. Soon we will work together with the FDA and our collaborators to generate patient-specific skin grafts. The ability to therapeutically reprogram and replace diseased skin would allow this procedure to develop therapeutic reprogramming approaches for a variety of both common and life-threatening skin diseases. Moreover, genetically-corrected pluripotent iPS cells could form the basis of future systemic therapies to other organs besides the skin to treat common genetic disorders.
  • Genetic skin diseases constitute a diverse group of several hundred diseases that affect up to 2% of the population and include common disease such as psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, and wound healing. Patients with one genetic disease, dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (DEB), lack a normal collagen VII (COL7A1) gene and suffer from debilitating blistering which leads to chronic wounds and scarring that can be lethal by young adulthood. The disease is devastating and despite all efforts, current therapy for DEB is limited to wound care. For recessive dystrophic EB (RDEB) where there is no effective COL7A1 protein, our EB Disease team has shown that retroviral delivery of the COL7A1 using gene transfer provides a powerful disease modifying activity as autologous, cell-based therapy. In this process, the patient' own cells can be induced to make normal collagen VII. The patients can then receive their own corrected cells back onto their skin. While successful, our initial approach cannot treat many dominantly inherited diseases such as dominant dystrophic EB (DDEB) where a genetically abnormal poison subunit inhibits the function of the normal protein. Recent development of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells that are generated from the somatic cells of individual patients could provide an ideal source of therapy. Because of recent advances by our team and others in stem cell technology, our hypothesis is that we can create genetically corrected iPS cells for dominant skin diseases such as DDEB as well as recessive diseases such as RDEB. The goal of the EB Disease team is to develop iPS cells of patients with DEB and genetically correct the patient's own collagen VII defect. We then plan to convert the iPS cells back into skin cells that can be grafted onto the patient's wounds. We plan to develop the processes necessary for iPS cell generation, genetic correction and development of a product that can be grafted back onto the patient's own skin. We are working within the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in order to create this process while meeting the requirement for successful drug development. Among the FDA requirements are Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) documenting the purity of the created drug. We have made significant scientific progress during the first three years of this grant. We have developed the initial tools required for successful iPS cell development which will meet the FDA requirements for drug development. We have generated iPS cell lines from subjects with documented DEB. In addition, we have identified the genetic mutations in the iPS cells and corrected several mutations. We are developing the process necessary for future skin grafting of the corrected cells back onto the patient and have already successfully generated the initial GMP manufacturing protocols leading to clinical grade, corrected patient skin cells. We are currently doing extensive testing of the iPS-derived skin cells using human skin tissue models to ensure the safety and efficacy of these cells. The ability to therapeutically reprogram and replace diseased skin would allow this procedure to develop therapeutic reprogramming approaches for a variety of both common and life-threatening skin diseases. Moreover, genetically-corrected pluripotent iPS cells could form the basis of future systemic therapies to other organs besides the skin to treat common genetic disorders.

© 2013 California Institute for Regenerative Medicine