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Cell-Based Therapeutics: The Next Pillar of Medicine

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Science Translational Medicine  03 Apr 2013:
Vol. 5, Issue 179, pp. 179ps7
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3005568

Figures

  • Fig. 1 Killer apps.

    Although small molecules and biologics will always have important therapeutic niches, there are numerous applications for which cells are better equipped. Four killer applications for cell-based therapeutics are shown: immune cells engineered to recognize and kill tumor cells, transplanted microbiota that detect and treat intestinal inflammation (e.g., Crohn’s disease) by producing an anti-inflammatory small molecule or biologic, a combination bacterial/mammalian cell therapeutic in which the bacterial cell converts dietary sugars into a nonabsorbed fermentation product and activates the production of a satiety-inducing hormone by the companion human cell therapeutic, and patient-specific stem cells for regenerative medicine [not discussed herein, but see (13)]. iPSCs, induced pluripotent stem cells.

    CREDIT: C. BICKEL/SCIENCE TRANSLATIONAL MEDICINE
  • Fig. 2 Evolution and (beyond) tinkering.

    The sustainable growth of a cell-based−therapeutic industry requires the evolution of a foundational science of cellular engineering. Fundamental knowledge and capabilities developed by cellular engineering scientists will allow us to move beyond tinkering toward systematic mechanisms for predictable modulation of cell proliferation, migration, communication, and the production of small molecules and biologics.

    CREDIT: C. BICKEL/SCIENCE TRANSLATIONAL MEDICINE

Tables

  • Table 1 Therapy’s cast of characters.

    Cell-based therapeutics are compared to small molecules and biologics.

    ComparisonsSmall molecules and BiologicsCells
    SelectivityMolecular recognitionComplex sensing and response
    systems
    DistributionDiffusion and transport
    Controlled PK/PD
    Directed cell migration
    DoseControlled at time of administrationCell decision-making:
    • Proliferation/activation/death
    • Closed-loop autoregulation
    Therapeutic nicheConditions for which distribution and duration of action do not need fine
    control
    Conditions that require precise dynamic control over distribution, level, and duration of action

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