Cell/Gene Therapies

Technologies on the Cutting Edge

    On the brink of bringing exciting new therapies to commercialization, cell therapy developers are taking notice of how other companies are addressing processing and technical challenges. Here, leaders from Dendreon, Advanced BioHealing, and Pluristem describe their current cell therapy programs. And two organizations —the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine (ARM) and McLaughlin–Rotman Center for Global Health —provide details on the promises of regenerative medicine.   Cellular Immunotherapy   Dendreon’s Provenge (sipuleucel-T) cell therapy induces an immune response to aid…

Cell Therapy Bioprocessing

          The past 15 years have seen approval and commercialization of the first cell-based therapeutics, including cartilage repair products; tissue-engineered skin; and the first personalized, cellular immunotherapy for cancer. Those successes are outnumbered, however, by all too common product failures. Notable failures can be attributed to commercial concerns such as high cost of goods (CoGs) and technical hurdles such as inadequate characterization, high process variability, and loss of product efficacy when manufacturing is scaled up (1).…

Meeting the Challenges in Manufacturing Autologous Cellular Therapies

Personalized medicine is a promising new approach to disease treatment. The ultimate in personalized medicine is a cellular therapy manufactured specifically for an individual patient using his or her own cells. But this autologous approach to generating immunotherapies has unique manufacturing challenges. Each patient receives an individual product batch, which needs to be manufactured, tested, and released. So thousands to tens of thousands of batches could be made for each indication every year. Given the personalized nature of these therapies,…

Industrializing Stem Cell Production

Stem cells have potential as a readily available, consistent source of many differentiated cell types. This unique property can be leveraged both for therapeutic purposes and for facilitating and improving a number of drug discovery and development processes. Large-scale, “industrialized” production of human stem cells in tightly controlled conditions will be required to deliver the quantity and quality of cells needed to support clinical trials and drug discovery development activities (Figure 1). Achieving this level of production while meeting rigorous…

Manufacturing Convergence Technologies

    Many regenerative medicine products represent a convergence of pharmaceutical, biologic, and medical device technologies. Although such products could have a great impact on medicine, they often pose significant challenges for their developers, requiring companies to incorporate competencies from several technology sectors. By addressing commercial regulatory and manufacturing challenges at an early stage in product development, these companies are more likely to succeed in reaching their commercial goals. Exact regulations governing the manufacture of a convergent technology — or…

Fluorescence-Activated Cell Sorting for CGMP Processing of Therapeutic Cells

    Cell therapy using embryonic or adult stem cells for regenerative medicine is generating high interest in the global medical community and in the general population.Physicians and patients are looking to cell therapies as potentially curative treatments for diseases such as diabetes, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson’s disease, Graft versus Host disease (GvHD), and cancer. Cell-based therapeutic products have been administered in clinics for nearly 90 years in the form of blood transfusions and for 50 years in the…

Stem Cells and Tissue Engineering

Stem cells are probably the most-discussed — and least understood — potential therapeutics biotechnology offers. Headlines in mainstream media tout their potential benefits and decry their ethical complications. Time magazine featured stem cells on its cover one week in February (1), and an ABC network drama depicted criminals selling stolen cord blood stem cells to the rich and vain as a high-end cosmetic treatment (2). It’s a safe bet that most nonscientists don’t know the difference between embryonic stem cells,…

Quality Assessment in 3D Cultures of Disc-Chondrocytes

Autologous chondrocyte transplantation is a modern experimental therapy for treatment of degenerative intervertebral disc diseases. Several studies with animal models have shown that transplantation of cultivated autologous chondrocytes can delay progression of disc degeneration. A few products based on human autologous chondrocytes are already on the market. Repair of disc damages with grafted chondrocytes appears feasible in the near future. So chances are growing for clinical applications meant for restoration of original disc function. As a result, optimization and standardization…

Manufacturing Patient-Specific Cell Therapy Products

Several cellular therapies are currently progressing through clinical development with the potential to address unmet medical needs affecting millions of patients. As cell-based therapeutics receive regulatory approval and reach the market, the primary challenge will quickly become manufacturing such products in sufficient volume to meet demand. Aastrom Biosciences has developed tissue-repair cell (TRC) technology for use in autologous, patient-specific cellular therapy (PSCT) and is conducting late-stage clinical trials both in the United States and Europe. TRCs are derived from a…

Delivery Technology Reenergizes DNA Drug Development

In vivo delivery of DNA-based biopharmaceutical agents encoding proteins of interest (“DNA drugs”) offers a means for the production of protein by target regions of tissue in a subject. This product class derives activity from an ability to induce sustained endogenous protein expression from recipients’ own cells. These unique characteristics are favorable for multiple applications, several of which are now in clinical testing. Therapeutic Proteins: DNA drugs encoding autologous therapeutic proteins could serve as an alternative to long-term therapy based…