Shanghai Cell Therapy Group Launches Collaboration with USC researcher to Improve the ex vivo Expansion of Hematopoietic Stem Cells for Clinical Applications

The work will focus on sustaining the long-term expansion of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells while retaining their multi-lineage differentiation potential for therapeutic applications.

SHANGHAI, May 28, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Shanghai Cell Therapy Group (SHCell) recently entered into a six-year research collaborative project with Professor Qi-Long Ying from the University of Southern California (USC). Through the project, sponsored by $3.6 million from the Baize Plan Fund, the Ying laboratory aims to develop conditions for the long-term ex vivo expansion of mouse and human hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells.

"Hematopoietic stem cells, or HSCs, are found in the bone marrow of adults," said Professor Qijun Qian, CEO of Shanghai Cell Therapy Group. "HSCs have the ability for long-term self-renewal and differentiation into various types of mature blood cells, and for rebuilding normal hematopoiesis and immune function in patients. They also have enormous potential to treat diseases, including tumors, autoimmune diseases, severe infectious disease, and inherited blood diseases, and to combat the effects of aging."

This research project will be conducted and supervised by Professor Qi-Long Ying, a Professor of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. Professor Ying's pioneering stem cell research has won international acclaim, including the 2016 McEwen Award for Innovation, the highest honor in the field. 

"We'll develop and optimize culture conditions for the long-term ex vivo expansion of HSCs," said Professor Ying. "We'll also test combinations of basal media, small molecules, cytokines and growth factors, and characterize ex vivo expanded hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells. These cells will then be genetically modified and tested for their potential to treat different diseases, including blood disorders and cancers."

Professor Andrew P. McMahon, Director of Eli and Edythe Broad Center for Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research of USC, added: "Stem cell biology represents an exciting area in medicine with great therapeutic potential. I am delighted SHCell is supporting Professor Ying. A breakthrough in the ability to propagate and manipulate HSCs will have lasting clinical significance."

The project also plans to build animal models of different blood diseases and cancers and test the safety and effectiveness of genetically modified hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells before clinical translation. SHCell will actively explore clinical applications of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells in the treatment of cancers or blood diseases.

As SHCell's first overseas collaboration, this project aims to advance the goals of the Baize Plan: to provide first-class cell treatments and cell therapies at an affordable price to cure cancer and increase life expectancy. SHCell hopes that this project will also accelerate original scientific breakthroughs in the stem cell field.

Shanghai Cell Therapy Group

Founded in 2013, Shanghai Cell Therapeutics Group Co., Ltd is located at the Shanghai Municipal Engineering and Technology Research Center, which was established by the Shanghai Science and Technology Commission. With a mission of "changing the length and abundance of life with cell therapy", SHCell has created a closed-loop industrial chain and an integrated platform for cell treatment and cell therapy. It comprises cell storage, cell drug research and cell clinical transformation with cell therapy as its core business.

The Baize Plan was proposed in 2016 by Wu Mengchao, an Academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and initiated by Professor Qian, aiming to provide first-class cell treatments and cell therapies at an affordable price with the goal of curing cancers and increasing life expectancy. The Baize Plan Fund was created by the Shanghai Cell Therapy Group to realize the vision of the Baize Plan.

University of Southern California (USC)

Founded in 1880, the University of Southern California is one of the world's leading educational and research institutions, and also the oldest private research university in California. Located in the heart of Los Angeles, the University of Southern California comprises 23 schools and units, and students are encouraged to explore different fields of study. The University of Southern California ranked #22 in National Universities in the 2020 edition of Best Colleges, published by U.S. News & World Report.

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