Dr. Andras Nagy
Senior Scientist at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, Sinai Health System
Professor in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology and Institute of Medical Science at the University of Toronto
Perspectives on One-Health Regenerative Medicine
Sunday, September 8, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
For the past 25 years, I have been running a stem cell laboratory at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, Sinai Health System. The first 20 years focused on basic stem cell biology, led by a curiosity-driven knowledge generation. After that, the lab went through a transition towards the translation of basic medical research and its clinical application.
During this transition, we looked at veterinary medicine only as a model system that would help to launch us in the field of human medical therapies. Besides this great offer of veterinary medicine, surprisingly to our biased minds, we found that treating and curing animals is a critically important branch of medicine, one that justifies the “One-Medicine” concept.
This recognition was a revelation to me for two reasons: first, I recognised that human life-trends are more and more dependent on animals, and therefore it is our increasing responsibility to care about their needs. Secondly, this brings up the very important question of how far can we humans use animals, without exploiting and without affecting negatively our environment.
Can we, stem cell translational biologists, do something about these two crucial issues?
Engineering a Universal Cell for Cell and Tissue Replacement
Monday, September 9, 9:00 AM – 9:30 AM
The advent of Embryonic and induced Pluripotent Stem cells has accelerated the development of new avenues for targeting degenerative, metabolic and genetic deficiency-based diseases with cell therapies. Many of these therapies are currently on their way to treat devastating conditions, both in human and in animals. However, concerns about the cell-safety hold back the full utilization of these promising new treatments. We have introduced a new concept and its solution that addresses this issue and have developed a fail-safe cell technology.
Building on the fail-safe technology, we address the next hurdle faced by cell therapies: the allograft tolerance. The expression of eight local-acting, immune-modulatory transgenes introduced into pluripotent stem cells is sufficient to protect cell derivatives against rejection in allogeneic, immune-competent recipients. Allografts survive long-term, in different MHC-mismatched recipients, and without the use of immunosuppressive drugs.
The combination of the fail-safe and immune tolerance genome editing technologies allows the advent of fully tolerated, stable allogeneic therapeutic cells, which can become immediately available for therapies.