Asterias Biotherapeutics, USA
Scientific Tracks Abstracts: J Stem Cell Res Ther
Human Embryonic Stem Cells (hESCs) can proliferate indefinitely yet, upon appropriate cues, differentiate into all somatic cell lineages. These two properties of hESCs enable the development of hESC-derived therapeutic cell populations which can be batch manufactured in central manufacturing facilities, cryopreserved and distributed for “on demand” use at healthcare providers. Protocols have been developed to differentiate hESCs into neural, cardiomyocyte, hepatocyte, islet, osteoblast, chondrocyte and hematopoietic cell populations which have been shown to be functional in either in vitro or in vivo animal models of human disease. Our group has established protocols to produce oligodendrocyte progenitors that upon transplantation into animals with spinal cord injuries can remyelinate denuded axons induce axonal sprouting and improve locomotor activity. Extensive preclinical studies have been completed to examine the activity, bio-distribution, dosing, delivery and potential toxicity and tumorigenicity of the oligodendrocyte progenitors. The safety of these cells is now being tested in the clinic in subjects with complete spinal cord injuries. In addition our team has developed methods to produce dendritic cells from hESCs that have the antigen processing and presentation functionality to stimulate immune responses. In collaboration with Cancer Research UK, Asterias is preparing for a clinical trial using these hESC derived dendritic cells as a cancer immunotherapy in non-small cell lung carcinoma in the neoadjuvant setting.
Jane Lebkowski has been actively involved in the development of cell and gene therapies since 1986 and is currently a Chief Scientific Officer and President of R&D at Asterias Biotherapeutics Inc, where she is responsible for all preclinical and product development of Asterias’ products. From 1998 to 2012, she was a Senior Vice President of Regenerative Medicine and Chief Scientific Officer at Geron Corporation. Before joining to Geron, she was a Vice President of R&D at Applied Immune Sciences. Following acquisition of Applied Immune Sciences by Rhone Poulenc Rorer (currently Sanofi), she also served as a Vice President of Discovery Research. She has received her PhD in Biochemistry from Princeton University in 1982 and completed her Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Department of Genetics, Stanford University in 1986. She has published over 70 peer reviewed papers and has 13 issued US patents. She is on the Board of Directors of the American Society for Gene and Cell Therapy and also served as an Industry Representative to FDA’s Office of Cell, Tissue and Gene Therapy Advisory Board.
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