The University of Minho has developed a new treatment option for SCI that can promote the repair and regeneration of damaged spinal cord tissue, based on the collection of various biomolecules that are secreted by adipose tissue derived stem cells (ASCs )– secretome.
We have developed a cell-free therapy that utilizes the secretome of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) to promote the repair and regeneration of damaged spinal cord tissue. The secretome solution is obtained by isolating and processing MSCs from adipose tissue, and the biomolecules secreted by these cells, such as growth factors and extracellular vesicles, are concentrated and purified to create a therapy solution that can be delivered non-invasively through a peripheral injection.
Innovative Aspects and Main advantages
Despite extensive research in the last decades, SCI continues to be a global health priority. Only palliative care is currently available, posing an urgent need to find other therapeutic strategies. Current treatments for SCI aim at stabilizing the patient’s condition but not at the re-establishment of function. Stem cells have a profound potential and are being tested by companies and universities worldwide with regard to their clinical significance as a form of therapy for numerous diseases, including SCI. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) appear as a promising cell population to treat SCI due to its neuroregenerative role. Our technology offers a novel approach to treating SCI that has several advantages over currently available therapies. Unlike cell-based therapies, our cell-free therapy does not involve the use of live stem cells, which can pose some limitations. Instead, our therapy utilizes the secreted biomolecules produced by these cells, which allows for a non-invasive delivery of a wide range of biomolecules to target cells, strongly decreasing acute inflammatory reactions, enabling the onset of regenerative processes, and reducing costs.
Our therapy has potential applications in the field of regenerative medicine for treating SCI.
Stage of Development
In vivo studies were conducted in two SCI models – Xenopus laevis and mice. Injured Xenopus laevis showed enhanced neuronal growth with significant motor function improvement after secretome injection. The results on mice also revealed significant motor and sensory recovery of SCI animals after continuous treatment with adipose tissue-derived stem cells (ASCs) secretome.
Intellectual Property Rights
This technology has been patented and has entered the national/regional phases in Europe and the US.
We are looking for biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies that could be interested in licensing the patent or collaborating with the inventors to bring the therapy to market.