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Emerging Startup

Fast and Efficient Platform for Cell Therapy Generation

GC Therapeutics at President's Challenge event

A startup from George Church's lab intends to develop cell-therapy products ready for implantation, using a platform that programs human, induced pluripotent stem cells into potentially any differentiated cell type. The team was a runner-up in the Harvard President's Challenge. (Image courtesy of Parastoo Khoshakhlagh.)

Cell therapy, while in its early days, has the potential to regenerate damaged organs and tissues, revolutionizing how we treat a variety of conditions. Currently, stem cell differentiation is inefficient and time intensive. To solve this roadblock, George Church's lab has leveraged the entire human transcription factor library to identify specific combinations that drive differentiation into specific mature cell types. This synthetic biology technology platform, developed with support from the Blavatnik Biomedical Accelerator, programs human, induced pluripotent stem cells into potentially any differentiated cell type, with high efficiency and speed (up to 100% in 4 days). It is able to produce functional neurons, oligodendrocytes, astrocytes, vascular endothelial cells, stromal cells and many other cell types. GC Therapeutics, a startup emerging from the lab, intends to produce cell-therapy products ready for implantation, including oligodendrocyte progenitors for the treatment of multiple sclerosis and other myelin disorders.

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