Articular cartilage is of vital importance for the smooth articulation and mobility of joints. However, this tissue has a low intrinsic capacity for repair and it is susceptible to damage in degenerative conditions, such as osteoarthritis. Joint degeneration with cartilage loss is of high and increasing prevalence and presents a major social and healthcare burden. Whilst joint replacement has shown success in the elderly, the lifetime of replacements is too short for younger patients and tissue engineering solutions are being developed to influence a biological repair.
We have developed a methodology for a chemically defined and efficient protocol which targets human embryonic stem cells towards a chondroprogenitor phenotype. The protocol, termed directed differentiation protocol (DDP), segments culture regimes into stages, enriching for intermediate cell populations and hence reflects the differentiation processes that occur during embryo development.
No use of animal-derived components such as Matrigel™ or serum
The protocol can be used to efficiently differentiate stem cells for the in vivo or ex vivo repair and replacement of damaged cartilage, for example to treat osteoarthritis.
A patent has been filed to cover the methodology used to direct stem cell differentiation towards a specific phenotype.
Of interest to biomedical and biotechnology companies and agencies with a view to licence.
Commercialisation Executive - Medical & Human Sciences
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