news and events
CAMBRIDGE, UK, August 22, 2013
EXOSOME RESEARCH SET TO CLEAN UP WITH NEW TECHNOLOGY
Cell biologists are excited by the medical potential of exosomes. A novel exosome purification technology, released today by Cell Guidance Systems, is set to transform the field.
Once thought to be just part of the cells waste disposal system, it is now clear that exosomes also act as microscopic delivery bags, protecting RNA and protein contents that can then be transported in the blood, influencing the activity of distant cells.
Exosomes may be useful in cancer diagnostics and for drug delivery, transporting therapeutic RNA and DNA, manufactured in cells in-vitro, to specific diseased cells. In some cases, exosomes mediate the benefits of stem cell therapy.
One of the major technical hurdles facing the exosome field is the efficient purification of intact exosomes. The gold standard for their purification is currently ultra-centrifugation, which is time-consuming and inefficient. Commercially available exosome precipitants, used in a small number of labs, yield exosome preparations of relatively low purity, in which the precipitant remains as a contaminant.
Exo-spin™ kits for exosome purification, launched today by Cell Guidance Systems, overcome all of these shortcomings. Exo-spin™ is based on technology licensed from A*STAR in Singapore. Exo-spin™ kits are suitable for the preparation of pure, functional exosomes from a variety of biological fluids including blood plasma/sera, cell culture media, urine, saliva.
Dr Michael Jones, CEO of Cell Guidance Systems, commented “Talking to exosome researchers, it is clear that the current options for exosome purification have significant shortcomings. Exo-spin™ is a breakthrough in reliable purification of exosomes that will enable the entire field to move forward more rapidly.” Exo-spin™ provides a gentle purification process in which no organic phases are used, no ultracentrifugation is employed and the exosomes are purified free of precipitants in as little as one hour.
Cell Guidance Systems Ltd, Cambridge, UK. January 30th 2013.
Scientists Find Way to Knockup Genes
Italian scientists use molecular RNA Chaperones to increase protein production from individual genes. The technique is being hailed as a breakthrough in biotechnology that will transform cell science, accelerating the development of new medicines.
CAMBRIDGE, England, Jan. 31, 2013 / One of the most innovative biotechnologies of the last decade has recently been developed. SINEUP allows scientists, for the first time, to target individual genes in cells to knockup, or increase, the amount of protein they make. The technique will improve Protein manufacture, analyse the function of genes and engineer improved cell function.
This novel technology is based on pioneering research in the lab of Dr Stefano Gustincich at SISSA in Trieste. The mechanism relies on the discovery of an entirely new function for RNA. Although most well known as a messenger RNA molecule made by genes for protein synthesis, most RNA is not actually made by genes. Once thought to be junk, important functions for non-coding RNA are increasingly being found.
Working with collaborators from RIKEN in Yokohama, Dr Gustincich's lab identified a non-coding RNA which specifically binds to messenger RNA (mRNA) from the target gene. It then acts as a chaperone, efficiently escorting the target mRNA to ribosomes, where proteins are made. The new technology has now been tested on a variety of different cells and across a range of genes. Large increases in protein levels, up to 10-fold, have been seen.
The technology is being marketed by TransSINE Technologies and Cell Guidance Systems. Piero Carninci, CEO of TransSINE Technologies commented, "In many ways, the technique is the opposite of RNAi, a widely used technique that knocks down genes by targeting them for degradation before being translated into proteins. Both SINEUP and RNAi techniques have a myriad of research and biotechnology uses, not to mention potential for novel drugs." Michael Jones, CEO of Cell Guidance Systems commented, "We have had a great initial response from the researchers and biomanufacturing companies. This technology will have a huge impact on cell research and the wider medical field. We are very excited to be involved with this evolving story."
Cell Guidance Systems Ltd, Cambridge, UK. September 6th 2011.
Growth Factor Technology to Accelerate Development of Stem Cell Therapies
Growth factors are protein messenger molecules that bind to specific cell surface receptors initiating a cascade of events that control the development of a cell. Recombinant growth factors, which are manufactured in-vitro, are basic tools of stem cell science. However, these recombinant growth factors can be extremely expensive and, perhaps more importantly, lack sufficient biological activity. These shortcomings have significantly hampered progress towards the development of effective cellular therapies.
Cell Guidance Systems Ltd has now commercialized a breakthrough technology that is set to transform the stem cell field. The Company’s STARTM (Serial Tethered ARray) growth factor technology works by tethering multiple growth factors to a liquid phase, flexible backbone to form a cluster array, like beads on a string. When this growth factor array comes into contact with a cell, multiple growth factor-receptors interactions are made at the same time. This results in much stronger binding and increased biological activity.
FGF2, the first STARTM growth factor to be launched, is one of the most widely used growth factors. Dr Michael Jones, CEO of Cell Guidance Systems, explains “The potency of STAR FGF2 far exceeded our expectations. For maintenance of some types of stem cells, we were achieving better results than standard growth factors at concentrations one thousand-fold lower. We now have experimental data with four separate growth factors each of which deliver stunning levels of performance. This is a technology that will accelerate scientific development and commercial feasibility of a wide range of stem cell therapeutics”.
Cell Guidance Systems is currently focussing on growth factors for blood cells where the huge costs of growth factors are inhibiting progress, and making the process commercially unfeasible. In addition, the development of growth factors to make cells for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease is a priority. Ongoing, Cell Guidance Systems has a developmental program which will deliver a comprehensive range of STAR growth factors to the market over the coming months and years.
Notes to Editors
Cell Guidance Systems is a research reagents business, developing a range of synergistic technologies to accelerate and enable stem cell science. Our core research capabilities are based around culture of human pluripotent stem cells and growth factors. The Company has licensed and developed technologies that address essential elements of stem cell scientists work flow. The company has offices in the UK and US.
Cell Guidance Systems, Cambridge, UK August 9th 2011.
Cell Guidance Systems awarded £100k for the development of next generation growth factors
Technological development is punctuated by advances that allow entire fields to move forward. Cell Guidance Systems, (www.cellgs.com) a stem cell tools company based in Cambridge, is developing a proprietary STAR growth factor technology which is set to have a wide impact on stem cell sciences and accelerate the development of many new cellular therapies. The company has just been awarded £100,000 grant funding by the government-backed Technology Strategy Board to support further development of the technology.
Growth factors are naturally occurring protein messengers which are used to control the development and maintenance of cells. Recombinant growth factors are widely used in research, biomanufacturing and medicine and are vitally important for the development of emerging field of cell-based therapies. However, growth factors are hugely expensive and poor quality. Unless this changes, many stem cell therapies will struggle to be cost effective.
The Company’s STAR (Serial Tethered ARray) growth factor technology works by tethering multiple growth factors to a liquid phase, flexible backbone such that the growth factors form a cluster array, like beads on a string. When this array comes into contact with a cell, multiple growth factor receptors can be bound at the same time. This results in much stronger binding and increased biological activity.
Dr Michael Jones, CEO of Cell Guidance Systems explains “Many processes in stem cell science are currently expensive and inefficient because recombinant growth factors have much poorer potency than their natural counterparts. STAR growth factors mimic a natural mechanism to make sure cells can develop in the same way that occurs in living tissues. The first STAR growth factor is due for commercial launch in August. The funding from TSB will be invaluable to help us develop a wider range of STAR growth factors with a particular focus on their use in development of blood cells”.
There are many cellular therapies which may benefit from this effect. To begin with, Cell Guidance Systems is focussing on the use of the technology to aid development of blood cells for transfusion and the use of cord blood alternatives to bone marrow transplant. As with other cellular therapies, the huge costs of growth factors are inhibiting progress, making the generation of blood cells commercially unfeasible.
Notes to Editors
Cell Guidance Systems is a research reagents business, developing a range of synergistic technologies to accelerate and enable stem cell science. Our core research capabilities are based around culture of hPSCs and growth factors. The Company has licensed and developed technologies that address essential elements of stem cell scientists work flow. The company has offices in the UK and US.
The Technology Strategy Board is a business-led government body which works to create economic growth by ensuring that the UK is a global leader in innovation. Sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the Technology Strategy Board brings together business, research and the public sector, supporting and accelerating the development of innovative products and services to meet market needs, tackle major societal challenges and help build the future economy. The funding was awarded through the Grant for Research and Development scheme, which offers funding to small and medium-sized enterprises to engage in R&D projects in the strategically important areas of science, engineering and technology, from which successful new products, processes and services could emerge. For more information please visit www.innovateuk.org.
Cell Guidance Systems Ltd CAMBRIDGE, UK, July 25th 2011.
Cell Guidance Systems Ltd today announces the launch of a new way of maintaining and expanding culture of human pluripotent cells (hPSCs).
Cell Guidance Systems is a research reagents company that focuses on the development of stem cell research tools. Pluripro® medium and Pluripro® MATRIX, which together provide a robust system for confluent culture of human pluripotent cells, were today laucnhed at the ISSCR meeting in Toronto. This ground-breaking fully defined confluent hPSC culture system allows much greater efficiency for human pluripotent cell maintenance and expansion, and is highly amenable to automation.
Michael Jones, CEO of Cell Guidance Systems, commented “This is a major step forward for human stem cell culture. Current culture systems are plagued with problems of inefficiency, variability, high cost and are colony based. We have brought into focus a much tighter control of pluripotency pathways which allows hPSCs to grow in a confluent layer. Importantly, cells taken out of this media retain the ability to differentiate readily”
About Cell Guidance Systems (www.cellgs.com)
Cell Guidance Systems Ltd is a privately held UK company focusing on the development of cutting-edge tools for stem cell research. In addition to its Cambridge UK offices and labs, the company has established a sales office in San Diego, California.