Webinar Review: Mesenchymal stromal or stem cell (MSC) workflow for efficient clinical translation

Over the course of the semester, our trainees are reviewing webinars in their given fields and preparing abstracts to help colleagues outside their discipline make an informed choice about watching them. As our program bridges diverse disciplines, these abstracts are beneficial for our own group in helping one another gain key knowledge in each other’s fields. We are happy to share these here for anyone else who may find them helpful.

Mesenchymal stromal or stem cell (MSC) workflow for efficient clinical translation

Kathrin Godhardt, R&D Department

July 10, 2020

Hosting Organization: Miltenyi Biotec

William BakerBackground and Analysis by William Baker::

Cell therapy has emerged as a novel treatment modality for a myriad of illnesses, including neurodegenerative afflictions. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have attracted considerable attention in this context, as these cells exhibit potent immunomodulatory, angiogenic, neurogenic, and anti-apoptotic properties. In fact, well over 1,000 clinical trials have examined the effectiveness of MSCs in various pathologies. However, MSCs are present in exceedingly low amounts in tissue; thus ex vivo expansion is required to generate sufficient cell numbers for clinical applications. In this webinar, Kathrin Godhardt broaches multiple considerations relevant to MSC culture, namely improved serum-free culturing solutions, MSC phenotyping, and improved cell sorting. The work outlined in this webinar can be used for the efficient, effective expansion of MSCs for neurogenerative illness treatment.

After introducing the company Miltenyi Biotec, speaker Godhardt begins by discussing serum- and xeno-free cultivation of MSCs, as the presence of these components poses an immunogenicity risk to MSC recipients. More specifically, the presence of chemical compounds from non-human species (xeno) is known to generate an immune response in patients.  However, xeno-containing products are frequently used to provide crucial nutrients for MSC growth. To resolve this issue, Miltenyi has developed media expansion kits that are xeno-free yet enriched with human-specific growth factors necessary for cell expansion. Importantly, these kits are in compliance with stringent regulatory requirements for clinical cell therapy.

Godhardt goes on to discuss MSC phenotyping, as this is needed to discern and isolate MSCs from other cell types following cell extraction. Typically, this requires the complexation of cells with marker-specific antibodies and subsequent isolation by flow-activated cell sorting (FACS). This process can be onerous and expensive, as a multitude of antibodies are needed to sort MSCs. Moreover, typical FACS instruments exhibit multiple drawbacks, such as excessive pressures and shear stresses, the necessity of time-consuming decontamination steps, and cell decompression. To address these concerns, Miltenyi has formulated a cost-efficient MSC phenotyping kit that contains a pre-made, ready-to-use cocktail for the simultaneous analysis of various MSC-specific and MSC-negative markers. Not only that, Miltenyi has developed an FACS instrument, MACSQuant Tyto, that mitigates flow cytometry-specific limitations by demonstrating low pressure, no decompression, and the absence of a need for time-consuming cleaning steps.