New reprogramming and gene correction techniques are expected to drive iPSCs to new clinical therapies in the coming year at a pace that may significantly outweigh the achievements in the field over the last few years. 2015 is poised to be a significant year for iPSCs, with efforts to speed up their clinical feasibility picking up steam.
One step toward clinical use of iPSCs came last week, when the UK Cell Therapy Catapult signed a licencing agreement with iPS Academia Japan. Under the agreement, the Cell Therapy Catapult will licence, manufacture and commercialise GMP-grade iPS cell lines for use in early-stage research and clinical trials. The Cell Bank was first established in 2013. The establishment of such a GMP cell bank is expected to be pivotal to the translation of iPSC therapies from the bench to the clinic, in the UK and beyond.
The current state of iPSC research was described in an interesting overview on iPSC assays published this week in Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News, available here.
The industry has also been responsive to the growing need for iPSCs for clinical use. Pre-clinical successes that companies such as ViaCyte have been reporting are sending positive waves through the industry. Cellular Dynamics International, who has been developing large-scale reprogramming technologies for iPSCs, last week announced it had entered into an agreement with Cord Blood Registry to reprogram umbilical cord blood cells into iPSCs, which is hoped will translate into new therapies.