Imagine a general purpose drug, available to everyone everywhere, which may be bought “off the shelf”, yet which has the natural ability to custom-tailor its efficacy according to the specific needs of each individual patient. Such is the objective of the Indian stem cell company Stempeutics.
Associated with Manipal University and Manipal Hospital outside of Bangalore, but with laboratories in Bangalore and Malaysia, Stempeutics is developing adult stem cell therapies for a vast range of diseases, as most stem cell companies throughout the world are doing today. What sets Stempeutics apart from most others, however, is its design of a stem cell therapy which is not disease-specific, but which is available “off the shelf” and may be used by patients with dissimilar diseases. According to B.N. Manohar, President of Stempeutics, “If a drug that can be stocked and delivered can be made of stem cells, it will bring down the cost of therapy dramatically.”
Throughout the world, specific stem cell therapies are usually administered to patients with specific diseases, yet scientists have already demonstrated certain universal properties of some stem cells which potentially allow for the therapeutic applicability of the cells in a generic sense. It is known, for example, that the differentiation of stem cells into various types of tissue may be regulated by a number of mechanisms which include internal controls such as genetic directions, and external controls such as damaged tissue to which the stem cells automatically migrate. Directed by these various regulating cellular and genetic control mechanisms, therefore, the same collection of stem cells could administered to different patients for different purposes in the treatment of different diseases.
Stempeutics is focused exclusively on the use of adult stem cells, specifically, mesenchymal stem cells, which are “immune privileged” and do not require matching between the donor and recipient. The new therapies have already been tested on several patients with diverse diseases, all of whom are showing improvement.