ST. LOUIS, May 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Research showing that cartilage cells can suppress immune responses won an award for best abstract at the 2005 annual meeting for the International Society for Cellular Therapy held May 4 through 7 in Vancouver, Canada. The research was conducted at ISTO Technologies, Inc., a St. Louis based orthobiologic company and at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU).
ISTO is developing a laboratory grown cartilage intended to repair damaged articular cartilage in joints. Articular cartilage is the firm, smooth tissue that lines the ends of bones and provides a frictionless surface for joint movement. Cartilage injuries can occur through wear and tear and during sports-related activities. Unfortunately, articular cartilage has a limited ability to repair itself. Repair and regeneration of damaged cartilage remains a significant clinical challenge.
The Company's engineered cartilage is grown from donor cartilage cells called chondrocytes. Because the engineered cartilage is being developed for transplantation to help mend damaged joints, Company scientists need to prove that the cartilage graft will not provoke the patient's immune system. Indeed, ISTO's scientific team and their university collaborators recently discovered that chondrocytes possess a unique immune-privileged trait.
The research presented in Vancouver used in vitro experiments to test whether chondrocytes stimulate an immune response. In the first set of experiments, researchers mixed chondrocytes with lymphocytes. T cells, which make up part of the lymphocyte family, mediate tissue rejection. Chondrocytes failed to stimulate the T cells. Because the chondrocytes and the lymphocytes came from different donors, the results showed that chondrocytes did not stimulate immune cells from different individuals.
In the next experiments, a special population of T cells called CD4 cells was treated with a stimulant to make them divide; they were then mixed with chondrocytes. In these experiments, the chondrocytes suppressed cell division in the stimulated CD4 cultures.
"The data we presented at the International Society for Cellular Therapy meeting support the concept that chondrocytes do not effectively stimulate cells of the immune system. We also found that chondrocytes are able to actively suppress immune responses. The implication of these observations is that if chondrocytes are transplanted into unrelated recipients, they may not trigger an immune response that would lead to their rejection, a problem frequently encountered with other cells and tissues," comments Philip Streeter, PhD, who directed the immunology studies in his laboratory at OHSU.
In addition to the laboratory results, ISTO notes that their engineered cartilage has been transplanted into animals without showing any signs of rejection after more than six months.
"These observations will help the Company provide off-the-shelf tissue engineered products for joint repair," says Mitchell Seyedin, PhD, President and CEO of ISTO Technologies, Inc. "The implication of this finding reaches beyond articular cartilage repair in joints because we can now expand our cell-based therapy research to other areas, such as spinal disc repair."
ISTO Technologies, Inc., is an orthobiologic company that seeks to identify, discover, and develop advanced, proprietary technologies that empower the body to regenerate and restore full function to injured or diseased cartilage. For additional information: Visit ISTO Technologies' website at http://www.istotech.com/ ; or contact the Company by phone at (314) 995-6049; or by email at email@example.com.
Dr. Streeter has a financial interest in ISTO Technologies, Inc., a company that may have a commercial interest in the results of this research and technology. This potential conflict of interest has been reviewed and managed by the OHSU Conflict of Interest in Research Committee.
ISTO Technologies, Inc.