Exploring new frontiers in healthcare: stem cell research
Araz Raoof, PhD, MBA Scientific Affairs and Analysis
At Janssen we pursue promising science and advanced technologies. Stem cells hold great potential for better understanding disease and for developing next-generation therapeutics for serious illnesses.
We believe stem cells have enormous potential in health and medical research and recognize the potential of stem cells both as therapeutic and technology platforms. Application of stem cells directly derived from patients in our research & development efforts, especially combined with other emerging innovative technologies will help us to understand the biological processes that underlie many complex diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
At present new drugs are mainly tested in tumour-derived cells or animal models in a laboratory, to see if they are safe and effective before they can be tested in humans. While these tools have many advantages, they also have clear limitations, not replicating human conditions. Stem cell-derived models can close that gap.
“A promising way to discover new drugs would be to use cells from patients who are affected by specific diseases”, says Araz Raoof, PhD, MBA.“We envision a substantial change in the future approach of how we develop therapeutics.”
Being able to study these kinds of cells will help to understand the disease better, improve diagnosis and develop other possible treatments.
PhD, MBA Scientific Affairs and Analysis
Araz recently published a paper in Drug Discovery Today which suggests how the new landscape might look utilizing emerging biomedical and technological advances including pluripotent stem cells.
Despite the fact that stem cell research has been advancing fast, there are many challenges ahead to allow the use of stem cells for drug discovery or regenerative medicine. These challenges can be addressed through partnerships and collaborations with other researchers in this field. Janssen participates in the IMI (Innovative Medicines Initiative) Stembancc, a large-scale, 5 year academic-industry partnership in the area of stem cell research. It brings a consortium of 35 partners (pharmaceutical companies, research institutions and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) together who share their experience and collaborate. “The aim is to generate and characterize stem cells to study a range of chronic diseases and test for drug efficacy and safety.”
Researchers at Janssen Beerse will share their insights in this exiting field at the meeting of Stem Cell In Vitro which is part of the Cell and Gene Therapy World Conference in Washington DC, USA.