Stage of Program: Candidate Discovery (DISC2, some 1.0 projects)

A tool for rapid development of clinical-grade protocols for dopaminergic neuronal differentiation of Parkinson’s Disease patient-derived iPSCs

Research Objective Develop a tool that facilitates rapid, cost effective development of optimized GMP-grade hPSC differentiation into functional DA neurons and apply this device to a cohort of PD patient-derived iPSCs. Impact Creating GMP-grade, functionally consistent phenotypes for DA neurons from each patient will significantly increase the likelihood of stem cell-derived DA neuron-based therapy for […]

Lgr5-mediated self-renewal in B cell selection and leukemia-initiation

Research Objective LGR5-antibody drug conjugate to target LIC in B cell tumors that undergo self-renewal Impact LIC were only defined in myeloid leukemia, while LIC populations in B cell tumors remain elusive. LICs give rise to drug-resistance and relapse and remain unsolved clinical problems in B cell tumors. Major Proposed Activities Proof of concept studies- […]

A treatment for Zika virus infection and neuroprotection efficacy

Research Objective We propose to determine the impact of the Zika virus during human neurodevelopment and to test a FDA-approved therapeutic candidate to treat Zika infection. Impact A drug to treat/cure Zika infection and for neuroprotection. Major Proposed Activities To determine the molecular and cellular alterations caused by the Zika virus in the human developing […]

Genome Editing to Correct Cystic Fibrosis Mutations in Airway Stem Cells

Research Objective Gene corrected autologous airway epithelial stem cells from patients with cystic fibrosis to be used as cell and gene based therapy for chronic sinus disease Impact The proposed studies would provide an innovative, readily applied primary stem cell based approach with gene correction to treat chronic sinusitis in CF, a debilitating airway disease. […]

Designing a cellular niche for transplantation of human embryonic stem cell-derived beta cells

Research Objective The expected outcome of these studies is a cellular therapeutic for Type I Diabetes: engineered human islets for transplant into patients, surpassing the function of beta cells or progenitors alone. Impact The proposed studies would address key bottlenecks in cell replacement therapy for Type I Diabetes — issues with cellular engraftment, survival, and […]

Protein tyrosine phosphatase – sigma inhibitors for hematopoietic regeneration

Research Objective We propose to develop a lead small molecule inhibitor of PTPσ, a receptor expressed by human blood stem cells, for the purpose of promoting human hematopoietic regeneration. Impact Systemic administration of a PTPσ inhibitor can accelerate hematologic recovery in thousands of patients who have received myelosuppressive chemo- or radiotherapy. Major Proposed Activities Generate […]

Targeted off-the-shelf immunotherapy to treat refractory cancers

Research Objective This project will use human pluripotent stem cells to produce a standardized, off-the-shelf immunotherapy using novel immune cells that are specifically targeted to cure otherwise lethal cancers. Impact Unlike current immunotherapies produced on a patient-specific basis, iPSC-derived immune cells are targeted to tumors with high specificity, no off-target effects and without need for […]

CRISPR/dCas9 mutant targeting SNCA promoter for downregulation of alpha-synuclein expression as a novel therapeutic approach for Parkinson’s disease

Research Objective Discovery of a novel therapeutic candidate for Parkinson’s disease which modifies gene expression using human stem cell-derived neurons to halt the neurodegenerative disease process. Impact Stopping the neurodegenerative process of Parkinson’s disease is a critical unmet medical need. Our approach is based on novel gene engineering technology that modifies expression of key target […]

Direct Cardiac Reprogramming for Regenerative Medicine

Research Objective To develop a gene therapy product to deliver cardiac reprogramming factors into the heart for regeneration of new heart muscle. Impact The proposed candidate would regenerate heart muscle for the 23 million adult and pediatric patients with heart failure, for whom there are currently no disease-modifying therapeutic approaches. Major Proposed Activities Successful conversion […]

hNSC-mediated delivery of ApiCCT1 as a candidate therapeutic for Huntington’s disease

Research Objective The therapeutic candidate is a human Neural Stem Cell that secretes a protein, ApiCCT1, that aids in the prevention of disease phenotypes, for application in treatment of Huntington's disease (HD). Impact No treatment currently exists that can slow or prevent the unrelenting progression of Huntington’s disease, a devastating brain disease, therefore a completely […]