Cellular Dynamics International, Inc. (CDI), the world's largest commercial producer of human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell lines and tissue cells, today announced the launch of its MyCell™ Services. These services include novel iPS cell line reprogramming, genetic engineering and differentiation of iPS cells into commercially available iCell® terminal tissue cells (for example, heart or nerve cells).
"CDI's mission is to be the top developer and manufacturer of standardized human cells in high quantity, quality and purity and to make these cells widely available to the research community. Our MyCell Services provide researchers with unprecedented access to the full diversity of human cellular biology," said Bob Palay, CDI Chief Executive Officer. "The launch of MyCell Services furthers CDI founder and stem cell pioneer Jamie Thomson's vision to enable scientists worldwide to easily access the power of iPSC technology, thus driving breakthroughs in human health."
Over the past 2 years, CDI has launched iCell Cardiomyocytes, iCell Neurons and iCell Endothelial Cells for human biology and drug discovery research. MyCell Services leverage CDI's prior investment in building an industrial manufacturing platform that can handle the parallel production of multiple iPSC lines and tissue cells, manufacturing billions of cells daily.
Chris Parker, CDI Chief Commercial Officer, commented, "Not all studies requiring human cells can be accomplished by using cells from a limited set of normal, healthy donors. Researchers may need iPS cells or tissue cells derived from specific ethnic or disease populations, and MyCell Services enable them to take advantage of our deep stem cell expertise and robust industrial manufacturing pipeline to do so. Previously, scientists had to create and differentiate iPS cells themselves. Such activities consume significant laboratory time and resources, both of which could be better applied to conducting experiments that help us better understand human biology. CDI's MyCell Services enable scientists to re-direct those resources back to their experiments."
CDI pioneered the technique to create iPS cells from small amounts of peripheral blood, although iPS cells can be created from other tissue types as well. Additionally, CDI's episomal reprogramming method is "footprint-free," meaning no foreign DNA is integrated into the genome of the reprogrammed cells, alleviating safety concerns over the possible use of iPS cells in therapeutic settings. These techniques have been optimized for manufacture of over 2 billion human iPS cells a day, and differentiated cells at commercial scale with high quality and purity to match the research needs.
Modeling Genetic Diversity
CDI has several projects already underway using MyCell Services to model genetic diversity of human biology. The Medical College of Wisconsin and CDI received a $6.3M research grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), announced July 2011, for which CDI's MyCell Services will reprogram an unprecedented 250 iPS cell lines from blood samples collected from Caucasian and African-American families in the Hypertension Genetic Epidemiology Network (HyperGEN) study. In addition, MyCell Services will differentiate these iPS cells into heart cells to investigate the genetic mechanisms underlying Left Ventricular Hypertrophy, an increase of the size and weight of the heart that is a major risk factor for heart disease and heart failure.