Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) technology is transforming biological research. IPSCs behave like embryonic stem cells and have the potential to become any cell type of the human body. IPSCs can be used as a tool to study human diseases, for drug discovery, and to develop cell therapies. However, there are limitations that hinder application of iPSCs in research and in the clinic including the lack of well-defined methods required to generate quality, mature cell types derived from iPSCs.
The goal of the NIH Common Fund Regenerative Medicine Program’s (RMP) Stem Cell Translation Laboratory (SCTL) at The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) is to harness the potential of iPSCs by creating technology to move closer to clinical application for drug discovery and regenerative medicine. Through a multidisciplinary, collaborative approach, NCATS’ SCTL scientists will do the following to overcome the technical hurdles in iPSC technology:
• Establish detailed quality control (QC) standards to define pluripotency and differentiated cell types;
• Use multi-omics methods to assess molecular and cellular variations/signatures in cellular phenotypes derived from iPSCs;
• Develop standardized methods for producing mature cells from iPSCs that meet QC and reproducibility standards; and
• Discover, validate, and disseminate small molecule reagents to replace expensive recombinant proteins, xenogenic material, and undefined media components in cell differentiation protocols.
SCTL is collaborating with investigators to address technological hurdles impeding the transition of iPSC research from bench to bedside. The collaborations aim to develop efficient and standardized protocols to produce specific cell types from iPSCs. To aid in developing these protocols, SCTL staff will use their state-of-the art equipment such as:
• Quantitative, high-throughput, small molecule screening
• Robotic automation of cell culture workflows
• Multiscale assay development
• 3-D bioprinting
• Integrated platforms to profile gene and protein expression, and measure functional endpoints in standard cultures, as well as on the single cell level
All data and resources produced from collaborations will be accessible through a joint scientific publication and the SCTL website. A list of current collaborators is below. To learn more about SCTL take a virtual tour.