CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Semma Therapeutics, Inc., a biotechnology company pioneering the curative use of stem cells in regenerative medicine, today announced the journal Nature published data demonstrating improvements in the production of beta cells (cells that produce insulin) from stem cells. Led by Harvard University researchers in collaboration with scientists from Semma, the study characterized the types of cells produced by the applicable cell differentiation methods, and demonstrated biological and physical separation methods to increase the purity of beta cells in a sample of converted stem cells from 30 to 80 percent.
“The implications of these findings could be tremendously important in developing effective therapies for the more than 1.25 million people living with Type 1 diabetes in the U.S.,” said Bastiano Sanna, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Semma Therapeutics. “We are immensely grateful to our collaborators at Harvard University, including Prof. Doug Melton, whose lab showed for the first time in 2014 that stem cells could be converted to functional beta cells, and who led the research presented in this important manuscript. These findings provide a solid foundation to continue to advance Semma’s mission to develop and provide best-in-class islet cell therapies for patients.”
Published results summarize the single-cell sequencing and molecular biology used to identify genes expressed by each cell and the classification of those cells based on expression patterns. The paper also details the discovery of a protein expressed uniquely by beta cells, which was used to “fish” beta cells from the mixture, as well as a physical enrichment method developed by Semma scientists, which together were able to improve the purity of beta cells by more than two-fold.
The manuscript, titled “Charting cellular identity during human in vitro β-cell differentiation,” may be found here. A press release issued by Harvard University describes the scientific findings in brief.
Elliot Fox, W2O Group