Certain cell-based therapies use cells that secrete a bioactive molecule that needs to be hidden from host tissues.
The βAir is an enabling technology that provides such cell-based therapies a fully isolated extracorporeal environment and a fully controlled milieu for the secretory cells to thrive. Also of significance, βAir creates a sound immune barrier between the foreign cells and the host immune system.
Stem and Engineered Cells
The use of stem cell-derived endocrine cells and cells engineered to secrete specific bioactive molecules is poised to increase exponentially over the next decades. And, βAir is able to help facilitate this growth.
Stem cell-derived secretory cells and genetically engineered cells represent a growing niche in the cell therapy industry. Whether allogeneic or xenogeneic, these cells require protection against the host’s immune system, to be clustered for easy implantation and to be supplied with adequate oxygenation.
The βAir bio-artificial pancreas is a particularly favorable platform for this type of cell therapy because it ensures a safe and healthy environment both for the cells and for the patient.
Stem Cell Development
The βAir device is a versatile device with a design that can be customized for different sizes.
The βAir device exists in various sizes. This allows researchers to test stem cell-based therapies in different animal models at any development stage and under various oxygen levels.
The βAir platform is particularly well suited for xenotransplantation (i.e., cross-species transplantation) because it allows transplantation without the need for immunosuppressive drugs.
The adoption of xenotransplantation has been hampered by inherent fears of immune responses and transfer of animal pathogens to humans. Novel solutions are required to isolate the transplanted cells from the patient in order to enable continued advancement of this field. βAir is an ideal solution.
βAir is presently being tested in pre-clinical studies for xenotransplantation without immunosuppressive drugs.
On February 19, 2015, the company announced (click here to view press release) the same system being used to treat type 1 diabetes patients in the clinical trial in Sweden (click here to see press release), also appears to work well for other types of functional cells, such as adrenal cells. The results of a series of pre-clinical studies demonstrated that using ßAir, pig adrenal cells can be transplanted into a living being other than a pig and still remain healthy and function properly. This means that the company’s ßAir Bio-artificial Adrenal device could offer a treatment for adrenocortical insufficiency and other stress-related disorders. The results of the preclinical studies are published in PNAS.