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Program Snapshot

The goal of the Regenerative Medicine Program (RMP) is to serve as a national resource for stem cell science to accelerate the development of new medical applications and cell-based therapies. The RMP is pursuing this goal through two major initiatives; a Therapeutic Challenge Award to Dr. Kapil Bharti at the National Eye Institute (NEI) and a recently established Stem Cell Translation Laboratory (SCTL), headed by Dr. Ilyas Singec, within the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS).

Dr. Bharti’s research focuses on developing a stem-cell based therapy to treat age-related macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness in the elderly; and the methodological and regulatory challenges that must be overcome to move his research beyond the pilot stage toward the clinic is relevant to the scientific and clinical communities. The SCTL is designed to tackle top scientific and technological problems that currently impede therapeutic use of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) — adult cells reprogrammed to behave similarly to embryonic stem cells — and to rapidly deliver the resulting protocols, standards, data, tools and molecules to the broader scientific community.

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Program Highlights

Kapil Bharti’s Therapeutic Challenge Award to develop a stem-cell based therapy for macular degeneration – a two-year update
In age-related macular degeneration (AMD) patients Retinal Pigment Epithelium (RPE) cells become damaged and lose function. Replacement with stem-cell-derived RPE cells is a viable treatment. However, stem cells used in clinical applications must be manufactured under using strict guidelines called current good manufacturing practice (cGMP) to ensure quality, purity, and safety. Read a brief description of how Dr. Bharti’s Therapeutic Challenge Award is addressing this challenge.

Updates from the RMP!

RMP-generated induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) lines
Obtain the clinical-grade iPSC line generated by support from the RMP
View the catalogue of research-grade iPSC lines available to researchers
View the catalogue of Orphan and Rare disease iPSC lines available to researchers

Current good manufacturing practices induced pluripotent stem cell line now available to enable development of new therapies and accelerate early-stage clinical research
The RMP supported the development of a current good manufacturing practice (cGMP) clinical-grade iPSC line from human umbilical cord blood cells, following a healthy birth. cGMP is a set of stringent regulations enforced by the US Food and Drug Administration that ensures each batch of cells produced will meet quality and safety standards required for potential clinical use. Read a brief description on the generation of these cells and how they can help researchers develop new therapies.
Use this link to request any iPSC line generated by the RMP

New Stem Cell Translation Laboratory
The Regenerative Medicine Program (RMP) recently launched the Stem Cell Translation Laboratory (SCTL) at NCATS and hired Dr. Ilyas Singec as its new Director – read an interview with Dr. Singec in the NIH Catalyst! More information on how intramural and extramural researchers can apply to become collaborators with the SCTL will be available in the future.


Stem cell – Stem cells are distinguished from other cell types by two important characteristics: 1) They are unspecialized cells capable of continually renewing themselves through cell division and 2) they have the potential to develop into many different cell types of the body. Given their regenerative potential, stem cells offer new opportunities for treating diseases.
Adult stem cell – An unspecialized cell found among specialized cells in a tissue or organ. Adult stem cells can renew themselves and they are multipotent, meaning they have the potential to develop into a limited number of cells in the body (some or all of the specialized cell types of the tissue or organ from which they were derived).
Embryonic stem cell – An unspecialized cell type derived from early-stage embryos. Embryonic stem cells can renew themselves and they are pluripotent, meaning they have the potential to develop into any cell type of the body.
Induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) – An unspecialized, embryonic stem cell-like cell that has been derived from an adult cell through epigenetic reprogramming. (Epigenetics relates to cellular changes caused by external or environmental factors that switch genes on and off and affect how cells read genes instead of being caused by changes in the DNA sequence.) Thus, just like embryonic stem cells, iPSCs can also renew themselves and they are also pluripotent.

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