HLA Homozygous Cells
Introduction Although stem cells have great potential in regenerative medicine, they can only be used effectively in recipients that have the same histocompatibility type or the cells will be rejected and eliminated by the host immune system. The histocompatibility type of an individual is determined by many genes located in the human leukocyte antigen (HLA)
locus on chromosome 6. There are several different versions of the genes in the HLA locus, and since each individual has two copies of each gene, it is very unlikely that two individuals will have the same versions of each gene or “HLA type”. In order to ensure that transplants are not rejected, a donor with the same HLA type is required. Researchers at the University of Washington have developed a technology that overcomes the immunological barriers that prevent cultured stem cell lines from being used in transplantation. Technology description UW researchers have developed a method for creating human cells that are homozygous at the HLA locus, so that they contain two identical copies of the same HLA haplotype. These cells are compatible with any recipient containing a single copy of that HLA haplotype, regardless of the other haplotype present. Thus, only haplotype needs to be matched. A single haplotype can be present in several percent of the population, allowing a single cell line to be a histocompatible donor for a significant percentage of patients. Business opportunity This is a fundamental enabling platform technology that can be applied to a multitude of therapeutic target markets. Overall, the market for cell-based therapies is currently estimated at $36 billion and is anticipated to grow to $81 billion by 2012. The diseases that may ultimately be treated by cell therapies include cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes, spinal cord injury, AIDS, osteoporosis. This technology can be determinant in the success of the imminent clinical trials on stem cell transplants for the treatment Type 1 diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s diseases and heart failure. Intellectual property position The University has applied for patent protection to secure the rights to this technology.
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