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Synthetic control on the tropism of cells as a means to enhance the efficacy of cell therapies

The degree of engraftment and infiltration of therapeutic cells is thought to be of high importance for the clinical efficacy of cell therapy. At the same time, low engraftment efficacy and survival of implanted cells are reported in clinical applications of cell therapy. In part the grafting can be optimized using local injections, but even then an adhesive strength is required to prevent loss via shunting or diffusion. This intervention provides synthetic control of the cell surface composition using fully reversible non-covalent surface modifications. This technique can be used to convert the cell-tropism for (diseased) cells and tissues of choice. At the same time the technology supports imaging based cell-tracking studies.

Technology Overview:
Using a pre-targeting approach, abundant membrane receptors on the therapeutic cells can be converted into binders of a multivalent cyclodextrin polymer. With that a homogeneous cell surface is generated that can be used to introduce a plurality of functionalities using host-guest chemistry. Such functionalities can entail e.g. an imaging label or a targeting vector. In case of the last, the affinity of a cell for other cells or tissues can be manipulated or enhanced.

While the use of cell-based therapies is growing, the clinical translation of transgenic cell modifying technologies is severely limited by regulations. The presented technology presents a generic chemical alterative that can be used to tailor the tropism of different existing cell types. With that market shares can be increased for available therapeutic cells. Since the technology is based on the membrane receptor expression of cells, it also provides a means to select cell populations out of heterogeneous cells samples of e.g. MsCs.

Potential Applications:
Cell therapies in humans are currently limited by the grafting affinity of cells, their viability and diagnostic methodologies that allow monitoring of these processes.
The invention provides a solution for these problems.
In the generation of 3D cell cultures it is of paramount importance that specific cell-cell interactions can be realized. The presented technology presents a means to artificially control such interactions.

Development stage

The researchers are currently looking for collaborators or licensees to further develop this invention.

Luris reference number


Patent status

A patent application has been filed.

Further information

Jofey Chadwick Knowledge Broker (LUMC Div. 1/2) +31-71-527 2689 +31-6-1474 7861