CRM scientists have joined forces with Plasticell to secure £920,000 Biomedical Catalyst funding from Innovate UK.
The project will seek to improve the success of blood cell production by focussing on the early stages of stem cell differentiation into hematopoietic progenitors, the cells that give rise to fully functional red blood cells.
Blood cell production from pluripotent stem cells (derived from skin, for example) has been possible for some years, however this is costly and inefficient, often giving rise to immature blood cells. This project hopes to utilise an existing Plasticell screening technology - CombiCult® - to find the right factors to make blood cell production more efficient and produce more adult blood cells.
Prof Lesley Forrester said, “Blood cell production in the lab is a very complex process. We are still some way from blood transfusions using cells that are manufactured in the lab but we hope this project will simplify the process and increase the likelihood of producing better quality adult blood cells.”
Plasticell is developing cell therapies, including hematopoietic cell replacement therapies including through the expansion of umbilical cord- and bone- derived hematopoietic stem cells, and the manufacture of immune cells for oncology applications.
Innovate UK is the trading name of the UK Government Technology Strategy Board.