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

Dr. Nagy is a Shawn Kimel 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, Investigator at the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine and Professor at the Australian Regenerative Medicine Institute in Monash University, Melbourne. He holds a Tier I Canada Research Chair in Stem Cells and Regeneration. He also has a Fellowship of the Royal Society of Canada in the Life Sciences Division of the Academy of Science and recently became a Foreign Member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Dr. Nagy has made significant breakthroughs in the development of mouse and human pluripotent stem cells (both embryonic and induced) that could accelerate research in regenerative medicine and lead to future therapies for currently incurable diseases, such as blindness, diabetes, arthritis, spinal cord injury and many others. His team created the first two Canadian human embryonic stem cell lines and developed a novel method for generating non-viral induced pluripotent stem cells. His research focuses on understanding the process of reprogramming to stem cells at the molecular level and using sophisticated genome editing methodology to pave the way leading to safe and effective cell-based therapies of diseases.
 

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.