On February 3, 2015, Australian stem cell and regenerative medicine company Cynata Therapeutics Ltd announced delivery testing of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) as a lung fibrosis treatment, addressing a market believed to be worth a potential $1 billion in the US and EU.
Lung fibrosis is characterized by the destruction of the lung tissue with deposition of proteins in the interstitia, leading to loss of respiratory function. The disease can be caused by chronic inflammation, infections, environmental agents such as asbestos and silica, and radiation exposure during chest tumors therapy. Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), on the other hand, is of unknown causes. With an average survival of 3-5 years after diagnosis, IPF is in serious need of more efficient therapeutic approaches.
Although the lung has the capacity of self-repair through replication and differentiation of resident stem cells, it is a slow process. Cynata is exploring the therapeutic potential of speeding up the process through the delivery of exogenous MSCs, known to have a great potential in the treatment of lung diseases including lung fibrosis.
Following the development of Cymerus™, a technology to produce MSCs for therapeutic use independently of donor limitations, Cynata now intends to examine the potential of Cymerus™ derived MSCs to prevent and reverse lung fibrosis in an animal model. The study, lead by Dr Cecilia Prêle, an expert in tissue fibrosis, animal models, and signal transduction pathways, will be performed in collaboration with the University of Western Australia’s Centre for Cell Therapy and Regenerative Medicine (CCTRM). “It is important to achieve economic manufacture of relevant quantities of very pure and well-characterised MSCs at a commercial scale to use in medicine and this is why we are partnering with Cynata on this project. Our long-term goal is to develop effective treatments for patients suffering with fibrotic lung disorders such as IPF, ” says Professor Geoff Laurent, an expert in lung fibrosis and regenerative medicine from UWA.
“This partnership with UWA builds on Cynata’s existing relationship, announced earlier this year, with Grey Innovation in the development of a unique nebuliser technology to conveniently and efficiently deliver viable stem cells to the lung,” said Cynata CEO, Dr Ross Macdonald to irasia.com.