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University of York
We have developed a method that, for the first time, permits large scale, in vitro differentiation of human adipose derived stem cells into lymphoid stromal precursor cells.
This process facilitates production of large quantities of mature lymphoid stromal cells, the establishment of an in vitro microenvironment that resembles the in vivo lymphoid niche and effective maintenance of immune cell function during in vitro expansion.
Current methods for in vitro growth of immunologically active cells, such as T-cells, B-cells and antigen presenting cells, result in the loss of important functional attributes. This presents an impediment to modelling immune system behaviour in a controlled and accessible environment. Of perhaps even greater importance, the lack of adequate culture methods is a major obstacle that stands in the way of improving the effectiveness of adoptive cell therapy- a promising treatment regime for cancer and other diseases.
A culture system that more closely resembles the natural microenvironment of immune tissues is likely to avoid the loss of important cellular characteristics during propagation outside of the body.
Lymphoid stromal cells form a 3-dimensional network in lymphoid tissues (lymph nodes, spleen and Peyer's patches), providing an environment that is supportive for maintenance of immune system cells and their specialised functions. Lymphoid stromal cells maintained in vitro can recapitulate the critical in vivo niche that is needed for immunologically active cells to retain normal function. However, lymphoid stromal precursors cannot themselves be readily expanded in vitro. Applications for these important cells are therefore limited by the numbers that can be harvested from volunteers or patients.
We have developed a method that, for the first time, permits large scale, in vitro differentiation of human adipose derived stem cells into lymphoid stromal precursor cells. Lymphoid stromal precursor cells produced by this method undergo maturation to resemble their naturally occurring counterparts and importantly, are able to support in vitro expansion of B-cells and T-cells without phenotypic degeneration. Because adipose derived stem cells are straightforward to expand, this process provides a convenient route around the problem of expanding lymphoid stromal cells.
Type of Business Relationship Sought
Commercial collaboration enquiries to explore and develop the potential of this technology are welcomed. Stand-alone licence deal proposals will also be considered.
Last Updated Nov 2014