The Adult Stem Cell Technology Center, LLC Announces Patent for Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells Produced with a Single Non-Genetic Agent

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Today, in his keynote address at the Cell Science-2014 4th World Congress on Cell Science and Stem Cell Research in Valencia, Spain, Dr. James L. Sherley, Director of ASCTC, LLC, announced the June 24 issue of the company's newly approved patent for a method to produce iPSCs with a single non-genetic agent. The new technology – based on an underlying biological connection between adult tissue stem cells and iPSCs – has potential to provide a convenient and general method for increasing the efficiency of production of iPSCs for use in disease research.

Xanthine is a single non-genetic agent that can induces adult stem cells (ASCs) to become iPSCs. (1,

...wider evaluation of the new technology will help to establish its range as an advantageous new reagent for producing higher quality iPSCs more efficiently.

Today at Cell Science-2014 in Valencia, Spain, Dr. James L. Sherley, Director of Boston’s Adult Stem Cell Technology Center, LLC, announced the issue of another significant patent to the company’s growing portfolio of adult tissue stem cell intellectual property. The new patent issued today (U.S. Patent and Trademark Office No. 8,759,098) protects a method for producing induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) with a single non-genetic agent.

Director Sherley made the announcement at the conclusion of his keynote address at the 4th Annual World Congress on Cell Science and Stem Cell Research. After discussing unique aspects of adult stem cells that are often overlooked, he highlighted a proposed connection between adult stem cells and iPSCs that was the basis for the newly patented biotechnology.

iPSCs are currently the subject of intense biological and biomedical research. These artificially produced stem cells provide the research capabilities of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). But since their production does not involve human embryos, iPSCs do not pose ethical concerns. However, because of their genetic defects and propensity for forming tumors, also like hESCs, it is unlikely that iPSCs will ever be of sufficient quality and safety for use in regenerative medicine therapies.

Despite the problems preventing direct application of iPSCs for medical therapies, their use to develop biological surrogate cells for difficult-to-obtain cells for diseased human tissues for research is unparalleled (e.g., living brain cells from children with autism). For this reason, new technologies, like those represented by the ASCTC’s new patent, are important for leading the way to more efficient production of higher quality iPSCs.

Unlike the recently discredited reports of acidic conditions as a single non-genetic agent for producing iPSCs, the ASCTC’s technology has a well-established historical record and biological rationale. The method was originally proposed in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director’s Pioneer Award research of ASCTC Director Sherley, when he was a research professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The active agent, xanthine, is a naturally occurring normal compound found in the body’s blood and tissues. In earlier ASCTC studies, xanthine was shown active for expanding adult tissue stem cells. Xanthine is a member of a class of compounds called purines that regulate the action of a well-known cancer-protective gene called p53. The p53 gene has also been shown by several laboratories to be an important factor in the efficiency of iPSC cell production.

For the ASCTC technology, xanthine-expanded adult tissue stem cells are placed in commonly used iPSC culture medium supplemented with xanthine as the only additive. The usual introduction of specific genes or their experimental manipulation is not required. The new single-agent technology yields iPSCs at efficiencies similar to methods that require direct genetic manipulation.

The ASCTC’s iPSC production technology was described in an earlier issue of the Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology (Paré, J.-F., and Sherley, J. L. 2011. Culture Environment-Induced Pluripotency of SACK-Expanded Tissue Stem Cells, J. Biomed. Biotechnol. vol. 2011, Article ID 312457, 12 pp., 2011. doi:10.1155/2011/312457). Thus far, the method has only been applied to purine-expanded mouse pancreatic tissue stem cells. It also has not been evaluated for combined effects with other iPSC production methods. Director Sherley notes that, “wider evaluation of the new technology will help to establish its range as an advantageous new reagent for producing higher quality iPSCs more efficiently.”

The Adult Stem Cell Technology Center, LLC (ASCTC) is a Massachusetts life sciences company established in September 2013. ASCTC director and founder, James L. Sherley, M.D., Ph.D. is the foremost authority on the unique properties of adult stem cells. The company’s patent portfolio contains biotechnologies that solve the two main technical problems – production and quantification – that have stood in the way of successful commercialization of human adult tissue stem cells for cell medicine and drug development. Currently, ASCTC is employing its technological advantage to pursue commercialization of mass-produced therapeutic human liver cells and facile assays for screening-out drug candidates that are toxic to adult tissue stem cells.

Contact Information:

The Adult Stem Cell Technology Center, LLC
P.O. Box 301179
Boston, MA 02130
Phone: 617-990-6819

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James L. Sherley, M.D., Ph.D.
since: 05/2014
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