Product News: Cellular Dynamics Announces Launch of iCell® DopaNeurons, Neural Floor Plate-Derived Midbrain Dopaminergic Neurons

13 Jun 2014


Cells Provide a More Relevant In Vitro Model for Neurological Disorders, Including Parkinson's Disease and Schizophrenia

Cellular Dynamics International, Inc. (CDI) has announced the launch of iCell® DopaNeurons, the company's neural floor plate-derived midbrain dopaminergic neurons generated from human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs).
 
Key features of iCell® DopaNeurons

• Dopaminergic neurons, specifically those located in the floor plate-derived midbrain, are implicated in neurological disorders such as Parkinson's disease and schizophrenia; thus iCell DopaNeurons provide a highly relevant in vitro model to investigate these types of pathologies.
• Midbrain dopaminergic neurons develop from an early developmental stage of the brain called the floor plate. Other commercially available iPSC-derived dopaminergic neurons do not follow this developmental path, but instead are derived from neural stem cells. Only midbrain dopaminergic neurons have been shown to be engraftable in animals (1), indicating the promise for the development of cell-based therapies.
• In addition to iCell DopaNeurons, CDI's MyCell® process can be applied to develop and manufacture cells from donors with dopaminergic neuron-based diseases.
• CDI exclusively licensed the technology, invented by Lorenz Studer, M.D., and his laboratory team at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, to create floor-plate-derived midbrain dopaminergic neurons for use in research.

Lorenz Studer, M.D., director, Center for Stem Cell Biology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, said, "We are pleased that Cellular Dynamics has licensed our technology to create dopaminergic neurons for research use that are specific to the substantia nigra, the small area of the brain implicated in Parkinson's disease. Research in our laboratory has shown that iPSC-derived dopaminergic neurons that follow the midbrain dopaminergic developmental pathway are able to engraft in animal models for Parkinson's disease. We're excited that CDI will make these cells widely available for research purposes, enabling researchers to better understand dopaminergic neuron-based diseases and work toward possible patient therapies."

Chris Parker, chief commercial officer of CDI, said, "Despite decades of effort and resources applied by pharmaceutical companies to treat diseases such as Parkinson's, there are no cures available. iCell DopaNeurons now offer a human in vitro system that we believe more closely reflects human biology than other model systems available today. CDI's manufacturing capabilities enable these specialized neurons to be developed at a high purity and quantity with rigorous quality control so that researchers studying dopaminergic diseases have a stable supply source of a relevant in vitro model."

(1) Nature. 2011 Nov 6;480(7378):547-51. doi: 10.1038/nature10648.