Experts in the production and differentiation of iPSCs

Newcells Biotech is the complete supply chain partner for human iPSC derived cells and tissues

iPSCs – Accelerating drug discovery

Current cell-based screens are poor models of human biology

Current cell assays for high-throughput screening (HTS) are based on genetically modified cell lines which are crude models of human biology. Typically, these assays have used immortalised cell lines derived from CHO or HEK293 cells engineered to express a discrete molecular target, the functionality of which is assayed using cell responses that are readily detected and quantified using automated fluid dispensing and detection systems.

Although the use of immortalised cell lines has yielded success, there are a number of recognised disadvantages including many differences in the physiology between these cells and “normal” tissue. To take account of these differences companies employ a two-stage screening process using primary human cells derived from tissue banks to refine the selection of identified lead compounds produced from cell-based assays.

In addition to their use in screening drugs for initial “hits” against the disease target, cell-based assays are also used in the later screening of selected lead candidates for toxicity. These systems typically use immortalized human cell lines and animal cell lines with the same inherent disadvantages described above. Animal models can be poor predictors of human liver or cardiac toxicity and disease phenotypes in humans are diverse. Moreover, the reaction to drugs can vary in sub-populations; this cannot be modelled easily with current assays.

Unlimited supply of human cells via reprogramming technology

The discovery in 2007 that cells isolated from mature human tissues can be reprogrammed into cells that show pluripotency was a major breakthrough in stem cell science. These iPSCs under the right culture conditions will differentiate into a wide range of cell types. This technology enables the supply of unlimited quantities of tissues from healthy individuals or patients creating in-vitro models that are more representative of the in-vivo human physiology and disease mechanisms than current models.

iPSCs derived cells in disease modelling

Since 2007 research using iPSC derived cells has accelerated as groups have explored their application in drug discovery and regenerative medicine. Using non-integrating virus vectors such as Sendai, essentially genetically identical cells can be produced from healthy donors or patients.

For patients with diseases caused by known genetic mutations it has been shown that iPSCs differentiated into somatic cells exhibit the disease phenotype. This has even been achieved for some idiopathic diseases such as diabetes and some forms of Alzheimer’s.

This approach has now been used for a wide range of diseases including Parkinson’s, a range of cardiomyopathies, retinitis pigmentosa and Gaucher’s. This technique enables disease models to be used to investigate the mechanisms of disease and to screen compounds for new lead compounds.

Newcells Biotech – applying iPSC technology to discovery

The team behind Newcells Biotech has successfully demonstrated the application of Sendai virus produced iPSC lines to recreate the phenotypes of a number of diseases such as hypoplastic left heart syndrome, XLF deficiency and chronic granulomatous disease.

Newcells Biotech has the expertise and capability to collaborate with drug discovery and development teams in industry and academe to develop novel disease model platforms. Once the disease model is developed we can supply quality controlled cells for routine screening and mechanism studies.

Newcells Biotech Limited
Biomedicine West
International Centre for Life, Times Square
Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 4EP, UK

Tel: +44 (0)191 241 8695


Newcells Biotech Limited is registered in England, company number: 09389592

Newcells Biotech Limited 2015