Stem Cell Therapy

Swansea University's Centre for NanoHealth (CNH) has been working with Progenteq Ltd, a biotechnology company based in Cardiff to provide the first clinically validated stem cell therapy for people suffering from osteoarthritis, with the aim to refining isolation and expansion techniques and development of quality assurance measures for stem cells such that they can enter clinical use.

CNH based PhD students have been conducting fundamental research in order to discover biomarkers that are specific to articular cartilage-derived stem cells. Their work has narrowed the targets to a handful of genes whose protein products will act as anchors for isolating solely the stem cell population from a mixed population of cells and also provide information regarding their potency.

Progenteq Ltd through this collaboration has access to a highly motivated and focussed research staff. In addition, spinout technologies from the work of researchers will strengthen the patent portfolio for the company’s products. Access to a network of academics interested in collaborating with the company is much easier through working with CNH.

“Getting cell-based products to clinical trials, nevermind to market, is an extremely challenging prospect for large pharmaceutical giants, so the fact that we are undertaking this process with significantly lower budgets would be impossible without our collaboration with the CNH at Swansea University. We now have access to world-class research facilities and also world-class researchers. The scientists working on this project have exceeded their original targets and are currently moving forward with developing techniques to isolate stem cells with high efficiency from target tissues. They have also working actively with materials and biomaterial scientists based at CNH to devise scaffolds through which these cells can be implanted in patients requiring corrective surgery. An unintended consequence of this collaboration has been the involvement of reconstructive plastic surgeons who are keen to use our technology and who have provided a great impetus to our translational research.”