One of the key resources needed to harness the full power of stem cells for basic research, or drug discovery or clinical application is the availability of a bulk supply of well characterized cells with consistent growth properties, cell surface markers and responses. The current proposal explores the use of a novel, cost-effective bioreactor to achieve this goal. From the basic research point of view availability of consistently behaving stem cells will, at a minimum help generate comparable data across laboratories. From the drug discovery angle the impact of the proposed research are many. Considering chemically induced stem cell differentiation (CISD) is an emerging field with huge potential in regenerative medicine, the value of HTS in identifying small molecules that potentially can induce differentiation and those which help maintain and prolong stem cell survival cannot be over stated. An inexpensive source and an almost endless supply of consistently behaving stem cells will make high throughput screening (HTS) of millions of compounds possible and more importantly make it financially feasible. The data obtained using these cells will be robust, reproducible and transferable from laboratory to laboratory and institution to institution. Availability of stem cell derived human cardiomyocytes, neuronal cells and hepatocytes (and other cell) “banks” are excellent tools for predicting clinical outcomes of potential drug candidates early in drug discovery. In addition, the method developed would set the stage for generating large quantity of cells in an automated and reproducible manner with minimum labor which could be used for clinical research and for much promising cell therapies.
This project proposes to develop efficient methods for culturing and expansion of large quantities of stem cells. As described in the proposal, availability of bulk supply of well characterized stem cells with consistent growth properties, cell surface markers and responses is key to advancing basic, preclinical as well as clinical research in regenerative medicine. In this regard, the proposed project is a powerful enabling technology, which is bound to have a broad impact on many areas of stem cell research. Thus, the proposed work is not only in line with the mandate proposed by the citizen’s of CA, but also the data from the proposed research are expected to open up additional research and business opportunities. These research and business opportunities have the potential to create substantial number of jobs within the state of CA and infuse significant amounts of capital (and revenue) in the form of grants, investments, intrastate and interstate commerce into the state. In addition, all work will be done in the state of CA and reagents and supplies from CA vendors will be used in the research.