REDDSTAR Dissemination Officer Danielle Nicholson interviewed Steve for a story which recently appeared on the EuroStemCell website.
What do you think is the most misunderstood concept or idea surrounding stem cell research?
The broadest, most misunderstood concept is that all stem cell research falls under the umbrella of embryonic stem cell research. This is a very specific, fascinating and promising area, focussed on cell replacement therapy. So the idea is that you take an embryonic stem cell and turn it into a tissue to replace the damaged or missing tissue with new embryonic stem cell-derived tissue. Cell replacement is very fascinating but challenging. To date there are few clinical trials funded and approved to use embryonic stem cell-derived tissues.
We at Orbsen Therapeutics are focussed on adult, mesenchymal stromal cell therapy research – an immunomodulatory stromal cell therapy. Our cells are obtained from the bone marrow and once transplanted are not replacing anything. The aim is that they move to a site of tissue damage and release a plethora of protective substances that may dampen down an immune response.
What is the main focus of your current work?
The main focus of our work right now is a protein called syndecan 2, CD362 which is a protein that has been identified on the surface of stromal cells by us. We are very interested in the ability of this protein to mark stromal cells in vivo. So we use this to isolate stromal cells by a technique called flow cytometry and capture those cells specifically. This allows us to identify this defined, pure population of stromal cells so that we can go on to multiply just those particular cells for therapeutic use.
You can read the entire interview and view short video clips on the EuroStemCell website: http://www.eurostemcell.org/story/stem-cells-commercial-world-interview-stephen-elliman