TiGenix has developed its platform using expanded stem cells extracted from adipose tissue (eASCs), which are sourced from and applied to consenting patients. Therefore, and in contrast to cells of embryonic origin, there are no complex ethical issues associated with the use of eASCs. By using eASCs, TiGenix is also able to capitalize on the benefits associated with this type of cell compared to other cell types (i.e. bone marrow- derived stem cells). These advantages can be summarized as follows.
1. Advantages in cell obtention
Ease and amount of supply: Fat is a readily available tissue source collected through a simple liposuction that does not affect the patient’s health.
Rich supply of progenitor cells: Progenitor cells represent 2% of the total cells of the Stromal Vascular Fraction (“SVF”) of the fat tissue whereas the equivalent cell type derived from bone marrow only represents 0.002% of total cells. This translates into a yield of 500 to 1,000 times more stem cells derived from adipose tissue than bone marrow, thus implying a more abundant cell supply from a lower volume of tissue.
Robust phenotype: ASCs do not require overly elaborate growth conditions and can be grown continuously without loss of their primary characteristics.
Enhanced safety through well understood mechanism of action: The mechanism of action is based on the anti-inflammatory effect of the eASCs. It does not depend on cell differentiation, thereby reducing the risk of unforeseen cell type formation.
2. Advantages in cell expansion
eASCs have a markedly higher proliferation rate and faster attachment than BM-MSC in in-vitro cell culture.
Higher stability: are less prone to senescence and differentiation.
Differentiation capacity diminishes with expansion time without losing immunomodulatory properties
3. Superiority as therapeutic agent
Superior inflammation targeting capacities than BM-MSC
Higher safety: eASCs do not express ligands for NK receptors and thus are unlikely to elicit an immune rejection.
TiGenix aims to exploit the immuno-modulatory capacity of eASCs pursuing the delivery of the cells via the most appropriate route of administration according to the indication targeted. Accordingly, clinical stage programs are currently in place using both local and systemic administration. Further programs are in pre-clinical development using additional routes of administration within these two categories.