Health In Focus
  • The Cell and Gene Medicine laboratory at Stanford University is considered to be the most state of the art facility.
  • New research has shown that gene-engineered skin cells could be used to treat genetic skin disorders.
  • Upcoming projects could revolutionize medicine and treatment options

The Cell and Gene Medicine laboratory at Stanford University has recently been a hub of activity as researchers have generated gene-engineered cells Identified that are capable of treating cancer, blood disease, patch your heart, improve the immune system or alter it, grow grafts of skin with many more possible line of therapies.

The laboratory is a large facility with 25,000 square feet of space and which opened last September. However, the discoveries that have since been established have successfully made Stanford the forerunner of Medicine. The current studies that focus on regenerative medicine and which seek to repair damaged or infected cells using the body's own healthy cells has been a significant stride in the pursuit of promising research trends.
Manufacturing Gene-Engineered Skin Cells at Stanford - Promise to Cure

Dr. David DiGiusto who is the Director of this laboratory said "We're curing the incurable."

The Silicon Valley in the U.S has always been talked about its innovative steps in the field of technology but critics have long been stating that there have been only technological advancements but seldom to do with medicine.

The new research that aided in the development of gene-engineered cells has brought in much needed appreciation for the automated biological manufacturing laboratory which could be the future of regenerative medicine.

Revolutionary Discovery from the Laboratory

The research team from the laboratory successfully developed genetically corrected skin as small sheets and which was grafted into patients who suffered from a disease called epidermolysis Bullosa, a blistering skin disease. This is a painful genetic condition in which a protein called type-7 is improperly synthesized, leading to a condition where the layers of the skin do not adhere properly. In order to correct this genetic condition, viruses are used to incorporate the correct variant of the gene into skin cells and then inducing the production of sheets of skin.

The University is not looking at commercializing the products just yet but will be using the products for clinical trials

Other projects that the laboratory hopes to focus on include:
  • T cells that are genetically engineered to fight cancer cells.
  • Repairing damaged tissue of the heart by inducing cardiac cells
  • Repairing problems with the eye by regenerating corneal cells
  • Treating sickle cell anemia as well as beta thalassemia by repairing mutations present in a single gene of red blood cells.
  • Preventing rejection of transplanted bone marrow by disabling immune cells
This Stanford University run laboratory could partner with a new company or partner with other leading institutions for further medical advancements. In order to ship its products across the state, the laboratory is aiming to get to get a license as a biological manufacturer.

Morrie Ruffin who is the Managing Director for the non-profit Washington D.C based company Alliance for Regenerative Medicine, said, "Manufacturing facilities like this are vital to moving this sector forward helping to speed the translation of crucial gene and cell therapies to reach patients with currently unmet medical needs."

Alliance for Regenerative Medicine advocates research and commercialization of therapies to renew and regenerate tissues and organs.

There have been other research labs like the City of Hope at Los Angeles, University of Washington's MD Anderson Cancer Center, and University of Pennsylvania which have expressed an intention to work with this laboratory to take medical research further.

The Director of the laboratory, Di-Gusto adds that the upcoming projects at the laboratory are unique and will pioneer medical research. There is no facility as large and as state of the art as this laboratory, which could be the envy of many pharma giants, according to the Director.

The lab has already become highly in demand and exciting projects have now been waitlisted as there are too many. It would be exciting to wait and find out what will be new from this lab and how it will affect the treatment of diseases.

The skin sheets that were developed in this laboratory will not only be useful in the treatment of the genetic disease condition but could also be used on burn victims who lack the necessary skin. Stanford University has always been one of the leading institutions of research in all fields which includes medicine, however, this laboratory could bring into focus medical research in an environment where developing Apps and gadgets has been the mainstay. Silicon Valley will have something new to boast about.

References :
  1. Stanford Lab Working To 'Cure The Incurable' - (
Source: Medindia

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