Plasticell, a developer of innovative stem cell technologies and cell therapies, today announced it will collaborate with Anthony Nolan, a leading research organisation dedicated to saving the lives of people with blood cancers, to progress clinical development of Plasticell’s ex vivo expanded cord-blood derived hematopoietic stem cell product.
Allogeneic haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is a curative therapy for patients with life-threating haematological disorders and the most successful cell replacement therapy developed to date with over 40,000 transplantations performed per year worldwide. Cord blood (CB) is an ideal starting point for allogeneic HSCT as it can be collected and banked without compromising the donor and is more easily matched to recipients relative to bone marrow–derived material. However, the limited number of stem cells available in a single cord unit limit their use to paediatric patients and can cause delayed engraftment.
“Despite our success in connecting donors and recipients of HSCT through the Anthony Nolan stem cell register, we currently fail to find a suitable match for some of the patients waiting for a stem cell transplant. We see Plasticell’s expanded cord blood product as an exciting opportunity to save the lives of these patients and to improve the treatment outcome for many more blood cancer patients, ” commented Dr Diana Hernandez, Head of Immunotherapy at Anthony Nolan.
“The partnership with Anthony Nolan and its network of transplant centres and surgeons will accelerate clinical translation of this therapy by providing world-class clinical expertise, access to cord blood banking and experience in cord blood manipulation, and importantly will greatly facilitate patient recruitment which can be a bottleneck in clinical development of expanded cord blood products,” added Dr Yen Choo, founder and Executive Chairman of Plasticell.
Plasticell has developed a small-molecule driven, GMP-compliant method of expanding hematopoietic stem cells from cord blood, bone marrow and peripheral blood. The therapy has been part-funded by multiple programme grants from Innovate UK and developed in collaboration with NHS Blood and Transplant, the University of Oxford and the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult.
The project is part of Plasticell’s hematopoietic cell therapy portfolio, which includes the expansion of hematopoietic stem cells and the manufacture of various blood cell types from pluripotent cell sources. In the past year Plasticell has announced two separate academic collaborations in the haematology space with the University of Edinburgh and Kings College London, as well as a larger commercial collaboration with GSK.