Automation of human pluripotent stem cell differentiation toward retinal pigment epithelial cells for large-scale productions


Dysfunction or death of retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells is involved in some forms of Retinitis Pigmentosa and in age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Since there is no cure for most patients affected by these diseases, the transplantation of RPE cells derived from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) represents an attractive therapeutic alternative. First attempts to transplant hPSC-RPE cells in AMD and Stargardt patients demonstrated the safety and suggested the potential efficacy of this strategy. However, it also highlighted the need to upscale the production of the cells to be grafted in order to treat the millions of potential patients. Automated cell culture systems are necessary to change the scale of cell production. In the present study, we developed a protocol amenable for automation that combines in a sequential manner Nicotinamide, Activin A and CHIR99021 to direct the differentiation of hPSCs into RPE cells. This novel differentiation protocol associated with the use of cell culture robots open new possibilities for the production of large batches of hPSC-RPE cells while maintaining a high cell purity and functionality. Such methodology of cell culture automation could therefore be applied to various differentiation processes in order to generate the material suitable for cell therapy.

Authors Regent F, Morizur L, Lesueur L, Habeler W, Plancheron A, Ben M'Barek K, Monville C
Journal Scientific reports
Publication Date 2019 Jul 23;9(1):10646
PubMed 31337830
PubMed Central PMC6650487
DOI 10.1038/s41598-019-47123-6

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