Cynata Therapeutics Ltd., an Australian regenerative medicine company developing a therapeutic stem cell platform technology called Cymerus™, has announced the launch of a study to evaluate the platform’s efficacy in treating an animal model of pulmonary fibrosis (PF) — a condition that frequently results in pulmonary hypertension, as lung structures and blood vessels progressively deteriorate. Positive findings from this early animal study could help advance Cynata’s experimental stem cell-based therapy toward becoming a viable future therapy for the disease. The study will be conducted at The University of Western Australia’s Centre for Cell Therapy and Regenerative Medicine (CCTRM) in the School of Medicine and Pharmacology, and aims to provide further proof-of-concept on Cymerus’ efficacy.
Fibrotic activity in the lungs has been linked to exposure to irritants, such as asbestos or radiation, but can also develop spontaneously in a condition known as IPF or idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. At present, there is still no known cure for PF. Stem cell research still lacks knowledge about harnessing the reparative properties of lung resident stem cells, but scientists are looking at exogenous cells, namely mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), to address lung diseases.
“While adult tissues represent a useful source of MSCs, there are also significant limitations with this approach,” said Professor Geoff Laurent, a leading researcher in extracellular matrix regulation and lung fibrosis who will lead the study. “In particular, it is known that as a stem cell matures, it gradually loses its versatility. The range of tissues into which it can differentiate becomes restricted and its expansion capability is diminished.” With this in mind, Cynata will use this study to examine the potential of MSCs derived using Cymerus™ technology, to prevent and reverse fibrosis in an animal model of lung fibrosis.
Laurent went on to conclude that, “it is important to achieve economic manufacture of relevant quantities of very pure and well-characterized MSCs at a commercial scale to use in medicine and this is why we are partnering with Cynata on this project. Our long-term goal is to develop effective treatments for patients suffering with fibrotic lung disorders such as IPF.”
“This partnership with UWA builds on Cynata’s existing relationship, announced earlier this year, with Grey Innovation in the development of a unique nebulizer technology to conveniently and efficiently deliver viable stem cells to the lung,” said Cynata CEO, Dr Ross MacDonald. “Reliable delivery of stem cells into the lung will be an essential element of a commercially relevant treatment for lung fibrosis as well as for a range of other lung diseases. We look forward to working with Professor Laurent and Dr Prãle in this exciting new program.”