Cell delivery is a critical step in the process of repairing damaged tissues. However, the main issue with putting new cells in the body is that the environment they encounter once they reach the bloodstream is extremely hostile.
Any new structures inserted into the body are immediately attacked and disintegrated by the immune system. This leads to significant inflammation, a condition that poses its own set of problems. If the therapeutic cells are not destroyed by this response, they are at least scattered in all directions.
This means that the impact they were supposed to have on a particular area will be severely diminished. In most cases, the cell injections end up having no effect, but producing multiple side-effects. The new startup, called SpherIngenics, was created as a method of preventing this from happening.
In order to do this, the company is using technology developed in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech, and at the Emory University. Their method is safe, reliable, yields no significant side-effects, and is entirely repeatable.
In addition to protecting the newly introduced cells from an untimely death, they also prevent them from migrating to other locations in the body, increasing the efficiency of cell delivery therapies by a wide margin. SpherIngenics hopes to capitalize on this approach by creating new protective capsules.
Its efforts are being supported by a two-year, $730,000 Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the DOD. The company was funded by Coulter Department professors Franklin Bost (also the company's CEO), Barbara Boyan and Zvi Schwartz.
“When damaged tissue is being repaired by a cell-based therapy, our microbead technology ensures that cells travel to and remain in the targeted area while maintaining continued viability,” Bost explains.
“This technology has the potential to reduce the cost of treatment by eliminating the need for multiple therapeutic procedures,” the expert goes on to say. SphereIngenics was founded back in 2007.
“For the Phase II SBIR grant, we’re going to examine whether delivering microbeads full of stem cells can enhance cartilage repair and regeneration of craniofacial defects in an animal model,” Boyan adds.