UAB sees perhaps the largest population of patients with sickle-cell disease in the world, more than 1,500 adults and children. Townes and his colleagues have perfected the process of turning human skin cells from sickle cell patients into iPS cells, and, in vitro, correcting defective genes. Once FDA approval is secured, the CPWS will enable his lab to actually follow through and transplant the corrected cells back into patients and cure the disease.
"Everything we now do in the lab we'll do in the CPWS," says Townes. "We could do it in a clean room, but it would not be as safe as doing it with the CPWS."
UAB also has a long-standing project focused on the use gamma delta T cells, a small component of the immune system, as treatment for various cancers. Lamb's basic research has shown these cells, when present in large numbers, will increase survival for patients with leukaemia. Another project will include work by Fred Goldman, M.D, professor of pediatrics at UAB and director of the Lowder Blood and Marrow Transplant Program at the Children's Hospital of Alabama, using iPS cells for dyskeratosis and other non-malignant blood disorders.
According to SANYO, the CPWS is considered the industry's first integrated, stand-alone solution for good manufacturing practice-compliant processing and manufacture of regenerative stem cell and cell therapies for research applications. The workstation provides the required class-100 aseptic environment in a compact footprint and at a lower cost than a traditional cleanroom. The CPWS installed at UAB is a positive pressure system.
Marchase says the CPWS will enable the university to expand its biotechnology portfolio with other institutions and with private industry.
Christine Stannard, SANYO's vice president of the Biomedical Solutions Division, says, "In order for the cell therapy market to grow, research of stem cell and cell therapies will become a criti
|Contact: Clinton Colmenares|
University of Alabama at Birmingham