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  Pharmaceutical Patents  

 

Title:  Regeneration and repair of neural tissue using postpartum-derived cells
United States Patent: 
7,524,489
Issued: 
April 28, 2009

Inventors:
 Messina; Darin J. (Somerville, NJ), Mistry; Sanjay (Bedminster, NJ), Harmon; Alexander M. (Clinton, NJ), Harris; Ian Ross (Belle Mead, NJ), Kihm; Anthony J. (Princeton, NJ), Seyda; Agnieszka (New Brunswick, NJ), Yi; Chin-Feng (Hillsborough, NJ)
Assignee:  Ethicon Incorporated (Somerville, NJ)
Appl. No.:
 10/877,269
Filed:
 June 25, 2004


 

George Washington University's Healthcare MBA


Abstract

Cells derived from postpartum umbilicus and placenta are disclosed. Pharmaceutical compositions, devices and methods for the regeneration or repair of neural tissue using the postpartum-derived cells are also disclosed.

Description of the Invention

Neurodegenerative conditions, which encompass acute, chronic and progressive disorders and diseases having widely divergent causes, have as a common feature the dysfunction or loss of a specific or vulnerable group of neural cells. This commonality enables development of similar therapeutic approaches for the repair and regeneration of vulnerable or damaged neural tissue, one of which is cell-based therapy. In its various embodiments described herein, the present invention features methods and pharmaceutical compositions for neural repair and regeneration that utilize progenitor cells and cell populations derived from postpartum tissues. The invention is applicable to any neurodegenerative condition, but is expected to be particularly suitable for a number of neural disorders for which treatment or cure heretofore has been difficult or unavailable. These include, without limitation, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, Huntington's disease, stroke, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury and peripheral nerve injury (e.g., as associated with diabetic neuropathy).

As summarized above, the invention, in one of its aspects is generally directed to isolated postpartum-derived cells (PPDCs), which are derived from placental or umbilical cord tissue that has been rendered substantially free of blood. The PPDCs are capable of self-renewal and expansion in culture and have the potential to differentiate into cells of neural phenotypes. Certain embodiments features populations comprising such cells, pharmaceutical compositions comprising the cells or components or products thereof, and methods of using the pharmaceutical compositions for treatment of patients with acute or chronic neurodegenerative conditions. The postpartum-derived cells have been characterized by their growth properties in culture, by their cell surface markers, by their gene expression, by their ability to produce certain biochemical trophic factors, and by their immunological properties.

Preparation of PPDCs

According to the methods described herein, a mammalian placenta and umbilical cord are recovered upon or shortly after termination of either a full-term or pre-term pregnancy, for example, after expulsion after birth. The postpartum tissue may be transported from the birth site to a laboratory in a sterile container such as a flask, beaker, culture dish, or bag. The container may have a solution or medium, including but not limited to a salt solution, such as, for example, Dulbecco's Modified Eagle's Medium (DMEM) or phosphate buffered saline (PBS), or any solution used for transportation of organs used for transplantation, such as University of Wisconsin solution or perfluorochemical solution. One or more antibiotic and/or antimycotic agents, such as but not limited to penicillin, streptomycin, amphotericin B, gentamicin, and nystatin, may be added to the medium or buffer. The postpartum tissue may be rinsed with an anticoagulant solution such as heparin-containing solution. It is preferable to keep the tissue at about 4-10.degree. C. prior to extraction of PPDCs. It is even more preferable that the tissue not be frozen prior to extraction of PPDCs.

Isolation of PPDCs preferably occurs in an aseptic environment. The umbilical cord may be separated from the placenta by means known in the art. Alternatively, the umbilical cord and placenta are used without separation. Blood and debris are preferably removed from the postpartum tissue prior to isolation of PPDCs. For example, the postpartum tissue may be washed with buffer solution, such as but not limited to phosphate buffered saline. The wash buffer also may comprise one or more antimycotic and/or antibiotic agents, such as but not limited to penicillin, streptomycin, amphotericin B, gentamicin, and nystatin.

Postpartum tissue comprising a whole placenta or a fragment or section thereof is disaggregated by mechanical force (mincing or shear forces). In a presently preferred embodiment, the isolation procedure also utilizes an enzymatic digestion process. Many enzymes are known in the art to be useful for the isolation of individual cells from complex tissue matrices to facilitate growth in culture. Ranging from weakly digestive (e.g. deoxyribonucleases and the neutral protease, dispase) to strongly digestive (e.g. papain and trypsin), such enzymes are available commercially. A nonexhaustive list of enzymes compatible herewith includes mucolytic enzyme activities, metalloproteases, neutral proteases, serine proteases (such as trypsin, chymotrypsin, or elastase), and deoxyribonucleases. Presently preferred are enzyme activities selected from metalloproteases, neutral proteases and mucolytic activities. For example, collagenases are known to be useful for isolating various cells from tissues. Deoxyribonucleases can digest single-stranded DNA and can minimize cell-clumping during isolation. Preferred methods involve enzymatic treatment with for example collagenase and dispase, or collagenase, dispase, and hyaluronidase, and such methods are provided wherein in certain preferred embodiments, a mixture of collagenase and the neutral protease dispase are used in the dissociating step. More preferred are those methods which employ digestion in the presence of at least one collagenase from Clostridium histolyticum, and either of the protease activities, dispase and thermolysin. Still more preferred are methods employing digestion with both collagenase and dispase enzyme activities. Also preferred are methods which include digestion with a hyaluronidase activity in addition to collagenase and dispase activities. The skilled artisan will appreciate that many such enzyme treatments are known in the art for isolating cells from various tissue sources. For example, the LIBERASE Blendzyme (Roche) series of enzyme combinations are suitable for use in the instant methods. Other sources of enzymes are known, and the skilled artisan may also obtain such enzymes directly from their natural sources. The skilled artisan is also well-equipped to assess new, or additional enzymes or enzyme combinations for their utility in isolating the cells of the invention. Preferred enzyme treatments are 0.5, 1, 1.5, or 2 hours long or longer. In other preferred embodiments, the tissue is incubated at 37.degree. C. during the enzyme treatment of the dissociation step.

In some embodiments of the invention, postpartum tissue is separated into sections comprising various aspects of the tissue, such as neonatal, neonatal/maternal, and maternal aspects of the placenta, for instance. The separated sections then are dissociated by mechanical and/or enzymatic dissociation according to the methods described herein. Cells of neonatal or maternal lineage may be identified by any means known in the art, for example, by karyotype analysis or in situ hybridization for a Y chromosome.

Isolated cells or postpartum tissue from which PPDCs grow out may be used to initiate, or seed, cell cultures. Isolated cells are transferred to sterile tissue culture vessels either uncoated or coated with extracellular matrix or ligands such as laminin, collagen (native, denatured or crosslinked), gelatin, fibronectin, and other extracellular matrix proteins. PPDCs are cultured in any culture medium capable of sustaining growth of the cells such as, but not limited to, DMEM (high or low glucose), advanced DMEM, DMEM/MCDB 201, Eagle's basal medium, Ham's F10 medium (F10), Ham's F-12 medium (F12), Iscove's modified Dulbecco's medium, Mesenchymal Stem Cell Growth Medium (MSCGM), DMEM/F12, RPMI 1640, and CELL-GRO--FREE. The culture medium may be supplemented with one or more components including, for example, fetal bovine serum (FBS), preferably about 2-15% (v/v); equine serum (ES); human serum(HS); beta-mercaptoethanol (BME or 2-ME), preferably about 0.001% (v/v); one or more growth factors, for example, platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF), epidermal growth factor (EGF), fibroblast growth factor (FGF), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), leukocyte inhibitory factor (LIF) and erythropoietin; amino acids, including L-valine; and one or more antibiotic and/or antimycotic agents to control microbial contamination, such as, for example, penicillin G, streptomycin sulfate, amphotericin B, gentamicin, and nystatin, either alone or in combination. The culture medium preferably comprises Growth Medium (DMEM-low glucose, serum, BME, and an antibiotic agent).

The cells are seeded in culture vessels at a density to allow cell growth. In a preferred embodiment, the cells are cultured at about 0 to about 5 percent by volume CO.sub.2 in air. In some preferred embodiments, the cells are cultured at about 2 to about 25 percent O.sub.2 in air, preferably about 5 to about 20 percent O.sub.2 in air. The cells preferably are cultured at about 25 to about 40.degree. C. and more preferably are cultured at 37.degree. C. The cells are preferably cultured in an incubator. The medium in the culture vessel can be static or agitated, for example, using a bioreactor. PPDCs preferably are grown under low oxidative stress (e.g., with addition of glutathione, Vitamin C, Catalase, Vitamin E, N-Acetylcysteine). "Low oxidative stress", as used herein, refers to conditions of no or minimal free radical damage to the cultured cells.

Methods for the selection of the most appropriate culture medium, medium preparation, and cell culture techniques are well known in the art and are described in a variety of sources, including Doyle et al., (eds.), 1995, CELL & TISSUE CULTURE: LABORATORY PROCEDURES, John Wiley & Sons, Chichester; and Ho and Wang (eds.), 1991, ANIMAL CELL BIOREACTORS, Butterworth-Heinemann, Boston, which are incorporated herein by reference.

After culturing the isolated cells or tissue fragments for a sufficient period of time, PPDCs will have grown out, either as a result of migration from the postpartum tissue or cell division, or both. In some embodiments of the invention, PPDCs are passaged, or removed to a separate culture vessel containing fresh medium of the same or a different type as that used initially, where the population of cells can be mitotically expanded. The cells of the invention may be used at any point between passage 0 and senescence. The cells preferably are passaged between about 3 and about 25 times, more preferably are passaged about 4 to about 12 times, and preferably are passaged 10 or 11 times. Cloning and/or subcloning may be performed to confirm that a clonal population of cells has been isolated.

In some aspects of the invention, the different cell types present in postpartum tissue are fractionated into subpopulations from which the PPDCs can be isolated. This may be accomplished using standard techniques for cell separation including, but not limited to, enzymatic treatment to dissociate postpartum tissue into its component cells, followed by cloning and selection of specific cell types, for example but not limited to selection based on morphological and/or biochemical markers; selective growth of desired cells (positive selection), selective destruction of unwanted cells (negative selection); separation based upon differential cell agglutinability in the mixed population as, for example, with soybean agglutinin; freeze-thaw procedures; differential adherence properties of the cells in the mixed population; filtration; conventional and zonal centrifugation; centrifugal elutriation (counter-streaming centrifugation); unit gravity separation; countercurrent distribution; electrophoresis; and fluorescence activated cell sorting (FACS). For a review of clonal selection and cell separation techniques, see Freshney, 1994, CULTURE OF ANIMAL CELLS: A MANUAL OF BASIC TECHNIQUES, 3rd Ed., Wiley-Liss, Inc., New York, which is incorporated herein by reference.

The culture medium is changed as necessary, for example, by carefully aspirating the medium from the dish, for example, with a pipette, and replenishing with fresh medium. Incubation is continued until a sufficient number or density of cells accumulate in the dish. The original explanted tissue sections may be removed and the remaining cells trypsinized using standard techniques or using a cell scraper. After trypsinization, the cells are collected, removed to fresh medium and incubated as above. In some embodiments, the medium is changed at least once at approximately 24 hours post-trypsinization to remove any floating cells. The cells remaining in culture are considered to be PPDCs.

PPDCs may be cryopreserved. Accordingly, in a preferred embodiment described in greater detail below, PPDCs for autologous transfer (for either the mother or child) may be derived from appropriate postpartum tissues following the birth of a child, then cryopreserved so as to be available in the event they are later needed for transplantation.

Characteristics of PPDCs

PPDCs may be characterized, for example, by growth characteristics (e.g., population doubling capability, doubling time, passages to senescence), karyotype analysis (e.g., normal karyotype; maternal or neonatal lineage), flow cytometry (e.g., FACS analysis), immunohistochemistry and/or immunocytochemistry (e.g., for detection of epitopes), gene expression profiling (e.g., gene chip arrays; polymerase chain reaction (for example, reverse transcriptase PCR, real time PCR, and conventional PCR)), protein arrays, protein secretion (e.g., by plasma clotting assay or analysis of PDC-conditioned medium, for example, by Enzyme Linked ImmunoSorbent Assay (ELISA)), mixed lymphocyte reaction (e.g., as measure of stimulation of PBMCs), and/or other methods known in the art.

Examples of PPDCs derived from placental tissue were deposited with the American Type Culture Collection (ATCC, Manassas, Va.) and assigned ATCC Accession Numbers as follows: (1) strain designation PLA 071003 (P8) was deposited Jun. 15, 2004 and assigned Accession No. PTA-6074; (2) strain designation PLA 071003 (P11) was deposited Jun. 15, 2004 and assigned Accession No. PTA-6075; and (3) strain designation PLA 071003 (P16) was deposited Jun. 16, 2004 and assigned Accession No. PTA-6079. Examples of PPDCs derived from umbilicus tissue were deposited with the American Type Culture Collection on Jun. 10, 2004, and assigned ATCC Accession Numbers as follows: (1) strain designation UMB 022803 (P7) was assigned Accession No. PTA-6067; and (2) strain designation UMB 022803 (P17) was assigned Accession No. PTA-6068.

In various embodiments, the PPDCs possess one or more of the following growth features (1) they require L-valine for growth in culture; (2) they are capable of growth in atmospheres containing oxygen from about 5% to at least about 20% (3) they have the potential for at least about 40 doublings in culture before reaching senescence; and (4) they attach and expand on a coated or uncoated tissue culture vessel, wherein the coated tissue culture vessel comprises a coating of gelatin, laminin, collagen, polyornithine, vitronectin or fibronectin.

In certain embodiments the PPDCs possess a normal karyotype, which is maintained as the cells are passaged. Karyotyping is particularly useful for identifying and distinguishing neonatal from maternal cells derived from placenta. Methods for karyotyping are available and known to those of skill in the art.

In other embodiments, the PPDCs may be characterized by production of certain proteins, including (1) production of at least one of tissue factor, vimentin, and alpha-smooth muscle actin; and (2) production of at least one of CD10, CD13, CD44, CD73, CD90, PDGFr-alpha, PD-L2 and HLA-A,B,C cell surface markers, as detected by flow cytometry. In other embodiments, the PPDCs may be characterized by lack of production of at least one of CD31, CD34, CD45, CD80, CD86, CD117, CD141, CD178, B7-H2, HLA-G, and HLA-DR,DP,DQ cell surface markers, as detected by flow cytometry. Particularly preferred are cells that produce at least two of tissue factor, vimentin, and alpha-smooth muscle actin. More preferred are those cells producing all three of the proteins tissue factor, vimentin, and alpha-smooth muscle actin.

In other embodiments, the PPDCs may be characterized by gene expression, which relative to a human cell that is a fibroblast, a mesenchymal stem cell, or an iliac crest bone marrow cell, is increased for a gene encoding at least one of interleukin 8; reticulon 1; chemokine (C-X-C motif) ligand 1 (melonoma growth stimulating activity, alpha); chemokine (C-X-C motif) ligand 6 (granulocyte chemotactic protein 2); chemokine (C-X-C motif) ligand 3; tumor necrosis factor, alpha-induced protein 3; C-type lectin superfamily member 2; Wilms tumor 1; aldehyde dehydrogenase 1 family member A2; renin; oxidized low density lipoprotein receptor 1; Homo sapiens clone IMAGE:4179671; protein kinase C zeta; hypothetical protein DKFZp564F013; downregulated in ovarian cancer 1; and Homo sapiens gene from clone DKFZp547k1113.

In yet other embodiments, the PPDCs may be characterized by gene expression, which relative to a human cell that is a fibroblast, a mesenchymal stem cell, or an iliac crest bone marrow cell, is reduced for a gene encoding at least one of: short stature homeobox 2; heat shock 27 kDa protein 2; chemokine (C-X-C motif) ligand 12 (stromal cell-derived factor 1); elastin (supravalvular aortic stenosis, Williams-Beuren syndrome); Homo sapiens mRNA; cDNA DKFZp586M2022 (from clone DKFZp586M2022); mesenchyme homeo box 2 (growth arrest-specific homeo box); sine oculis homeobox homolog 1 (Drosophila); crystallin, alpha B; disheveled associated activator of morphogenesis 2; DKFZP586B2420 protein; similar to neuralin 1; tetranectin (plasminogen binding protein); src homology three (SH3) and cysteine rich domain; cholesterol 25-hydroxylase; runt-related transcription factor 3; interleukin 11 receptor, alpha; procollagen C-endopeptidase enhancer; frizzled homolog 7 (Drosophila); hypothetical gene BC008967; collagen, type VIII, alpha 1; tenascin C (hexabrachion); iroquois homeobox protein 5; hephaestin; integrin, beta 8; synaptic vesicle glycoprotein 2; neuroblastoma, suppression of tumorigenicity 1; insulin-like growth factor binding protein 2, 36 kDa; Homo sapiens cDNA FLJ12280 fis, clone MAMMA1001744; cytokine receptor-like factor 1; potassium intermediate/small conductance calcium-activated channel, subfamily N, member 4; integrin, beta 7; transcriptional co-activator with PDZ-binding motif (TAZ); sine oculis homeobox homolog 2 (Drosophila); KIAA1034 protein; vesicle-associated membrane protein 5 (myobrevin); EGF-containing fibulin-like extracellular matrix protein 1; early growth response 3; distal-less homeo box 5; hypothetical protein FLJ20373; aldo-keto reductase family 1, member C3 (3-alpha hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase, type II); biglycan; transcriptional co-activator with PDZ-binding motif (TAZ); fibronectin 1; proenkephalin; integrin, beta-like 1 (with EGF-like repeat domains); Homo sapiens mRNA full length insert cDNA clone EUROIMAGE 1968422; EphA3; KIAA0367 protein; natriuretic peptide receptor C/guanylate cyclase C (atrionatriuretic peptide receptor C); hypothetical protein FLJ14054; Homo sapiens mRNA; cDNA DKFZp564B222 (from clone DKFZp564B222); BCL2/adenovirus E1B 19 kDa interacting protein 3-like; AE binding protein 1; and cytochrome c oxidase subunit VIla polypeptide 1 (muscle).

In other embodiments, the PPDCs may be characterized by secretion of at least one of MCP-1, IL-6, IL-8, GCP-2, HGF, KGF, FGF, HB-EGF, BDNF, TPO, MIP1a, RANTES, and TIMP1. In alternative embodiments, the PPDCs may be characterized by lack of secretion of at least one of TGF-beta2, ANG2, PDGFbb, MIP1b, I309, MDC, and VEGF, as detected by ELISA.

In preferred embodiments, the cell comprises two or more of the above-listed growth, protein/surface marker production, gene expression or substance-secretion characteristics. More preferred are those cells comprising, three, four, or five or more of the characteristics. Still more preferred are PPDCs comprising six, seven, or eight or more of the characteristics. Still more preferred presently are those cells comprising all of above characteristics.

Among cells that are presently preferred for use with the invention in several of its aspects are postpartum cells having the characteristics described above and more particularly those wherein the cells have normal karyotypes and maintain normal karyotypes with passaging, and further wherein the cells express each of the markers CD10, CD13, CD44, CD73, CD90, PDGFr-alpha, and HLA-A,B,C, wherein the cells produce the immunologically-detectable proteins which correspond to the listed markers. Still more preferred are those cells which in addition to the foregoing do not produce proteins corresponding to any of the markers CD31, CD34, CD45, CD117, CD141, or HLA-DR,DP,DQ, as detected by flow cytometry.

Certain cells having the potential to differentiate along lines leading to various phenotypes are unstable and thus can spontaneously differentiate. Presently preferred for use with the invention are cells that do not spontaneously differentiate, for example along neural lines. Preferred cells, when grown in Growth Medium, are substantially stable with respect to the cell markers produced on their surface, and with respect to the expression pattern of various genes, for example as determined using an Affymetrix GENECHIP. The cells remain substantially constant, for example in their surface marker characterisitics over passaging, through multiple population doublings.

However, one feature of PPDCs is that they may be deliberately induced to differentiate into neural lineage phenotypes by subjecting them to differentiation-inducing cell culture conditions. This may be accomplished by one or more methods known in the art. For instance, as exemplified herein, PPDCs may be plated on flasks coated with laminin in Neurobasal-A medium (Invitrogen, Carlsbad, Calif.) containing B27 (B27 supplement, Invitrogen), L-glutamine and Penicillin/Streptomycin, the combination of which is referred to herein as Neural Progenitor Expansion (NPE) medium. NPE media may be further supplemented with bFGF and/or EGF. Alternatively, PPDCs may be induced to differentiate in vitro by (1) co-culturing the PPDCs with neural progenitor cells, or (2) growing the PPDCs in neural progenitor cell-conditioned medium.

Differentiation of the PPDCs may be demonstrated by a bipolar cell morphology with extended processes. The induced cell populations may stain positive for the presence of nestin. Differentiated PPDCs may be assessed by detection of nestin, TuJ1 (BIII tubulin), GFAP, tyrosine hydroxylase, GABA, O4 and/or MBP. In some embodiments, PPDCs have exhibited the ability to form three-dimensional bodies characteristic of neuronal stem cell formation of neurospheres.

PPDC Populations, Modifications, Components and Products

Another aspect of the invention features populations of the PPDCs described above. In some embodiments, the cell population is heterogeneous. A heterogeneous cell population of the invention may comprise at least about 5%, 10%, 20%, 30%, 40%, 50%, 60%, 70%, 80%, 90%, or 95% PPDCs of the invention. The heterogeneous cell populations of the invention may further comprise stem cells or other progenitor cells, such as neural progenitor cells, or it may further comprise fully differentiated neural cells. In some embodiments, the population is substantially homogeneous, i.e., comprises substantially only PPDCs (preferably at least about 96%, 97%, 98%, 99% or more PPDCs). The homogeneous cell population of the invention may comprise umbilicus- or placenta-derived cells. Homogeneous populations of umbilicus-derived cells are preferably free of cells of maternal lineage. Homogeneous populations of placenta-derived cells may be of neonatal or maternal lineage. Homogeneity of a cell population may be achieved by any method known in the art, for example, by cell sorting (e.g., flow cytometry) or by clonal expansion in accordance with known methods. Thus, preferred homogeneous PPDC populations may comprise a clonal cell line of postpartum-derived cells. Such populations are particularly useful when a cell clone with highly desirable functionality has been isolated.

Also provided herein are populations of cells incubated in the presence of one or more factors, or under conditions, that stimulate stem cell differentiation along a neurogenic pathway. Such factors are known in the art and the skilled artisan will appreciate that determination of suitable conditions for differentiation can be accomplished with routine experimentation. Optimization of such conditions can be accomplished by statistical experimental design and analysis, for example response surface methodology allows simultaneous optimization of multiple variables, for example in a biological culture. Presently preferred factors include, but are not limited to factors, such as growth or trophic factors, demethylating agents, co-culture with neural lineage cells or culture in neural lineage cell-conditioned medium, as well other conditions known in the art to stimulate stem cell differentiation along a neurogenic pathway or lineage (see, e.g., Lang, K. J. D. et al., 2004, J. Neurosci. Res. 76: 184-192; Johe, K. K. et al., 1996, Genes Devel. 10: 3129-3140; Gottleib, D., 2002, Ann. Rev. Neurosci. 25: 381-407).

PPDCs may also be genetically modified to produce neurotherapeutically useful gene products, or to produce antineoplastic agents for treatment of tumors, for example. Genetic modification may be accomplished using any of a variety of vectors including, but not limited to, integrating viral vectors, e.g., retrovirus vector or adeno-associated viral vectors; non-integrating replicating vectors, e.g., papilloma virus vectors, SV40 vectors, adenoviral vectors; or replication-defective viral vectors. Other methods of introducing DNA into cells include the use of liposomes, electroporation, a particle gun, or by direct DNA injection.

Hosts cells are preferably transformed or transfected with DNA controlled by or in operative association with, one or more appropriate expression control elements such as promoter or enhancer sequences, transcription terminators, polyadenylation sites, among others, and a selectable marker. Any promoter may be used to drive the expression of the inserted gene. For example, viral promoters include, but are not limited to, the CMV promoter/enhancer, SV 40, papillomavirus, Epstein-Barr virus or elastin gene promoter. In some embodiments, the control elements used to control expression of the gene of interest can allow for the regulated expression of the gene so that the product is synthesized only when needed in vivo. If transient expression is desired, constitutive promoters are preferably used in a non-integrating and/or replication-defective vector. Alternatively, inducible promoters could be used to drive the expression of the inserted gene when necessary. Inducible promoters include, but are not limited to, those associated with metallothionein and heat shock proteins.

Following the introduction of the foreign DNA, engineered cells may be allowed to grow in enriched media and then switched to selective media. The selectable marker in the foreign DNA confers resistance to the selection and allows cells to stably integrate the foreign DNA as, for example, on a plasmid, into their chromosomes and grow to form foci which, in turn, can be cloned and expanded into cell lines. This method can be advantageously used to engineer cell lines that express the gene product.

The cells of the invention may be genetically engineered to "knock out" or "knock down" expression of factors that promote inflammation or rejection at the implant site. Negative modulatory techniques for the reduction of target gene expression levels or target gene product activity levels are discussed below. "Negative modulation," as used herein, refers to a reduction in the level and/or activity of target gene product relative to the level and/or activity of the target gene product in the absence of the modulatory treatment. The expression of a gene native to a neuron or glial cell can be reduced or knocked out using a number of techniques including, for example, inhibition of expression by inactivating the gene using the homologous recombination technique. Typically, an exon encoding an important region of the protein (or an exon 5' to that region) is interrupted by a positive selectable marker, e.g., neo, preventing the production of normal mRNA from the target gene and resulting in inactivation of the gene. A gene may also be inactivated by creating a deletion in part of a gene, or by deleting the entire gene. By using a construct with two regions of homology to the target gene that are far apart in the genome, the sequences intervening the two regions can be deleted (Mombaerts et al., 1991, Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 88:3084). Antisense, DNAzymes, ribozymes, small interfering RNA (siRNA) and other such molecules that inhibit expression of the target gene can also be used to reduce the level of target gene activity. For example, antisense RNA molecules that inhibit the expression of major histocompatibility gene complexes (HLA) have been shown to be most versatile with respect to immune responses. Still further, triple helix molecules can be utilized in reducing the level of target gene activity. These techniques are described in detail by L. G. Davis et al. (eds), 1994, BASIC METHODS IN MOLECULAR BIOLOGY, 2nd ed., Appleton & Lange, Norwalk, Conn.

In other aspects, the invention provides cell lysates and cell soluble fractions prepared from PPDCs, or heterogeneous or homogeneous cell populations comprising PPDCs, as well as PPDCs or populations thereof that have been genetically modified or that have been stimulated to differentiate along a neurogenic pathway. Such lysates and fractions thereof have many utilities. Use of the PPDC lysate soluble fraction (i.e., substantially free of membranes) in vivo, for example, allows the beneficial intracellular milieu to be used allogeneically in a patient without introducing an appreciable amount of the cell surface proteins most likely to trigger rejection, or other adverse immunological responses. Methods of lysing cells are well-known in the art and include various means of mechanical disruption, enzymatic disruption, or chemical disruption, or combinations thereof. Such cell lysates may be prepared from cells directly in their Growth Medium and thus containing secreted growth factors and the like, or may be prepared from cells washed free of medium in, for example, PBS or other solution. Washed cells may be resuspended at concentrations greater than the original population density if preferred.

In one embodiment, whole cell lysates are prepared, e.g., by disrupting cells without subsequent separation of cell fractions. In another embodiment, a cell membrane fraction is separated from a soluble fraction of the cells by routine methods known in the art, e.g., centrifugation, filtration, or similar methods.

Cell lysates or cell soluble fractions prepared from populations of postpartum-derived cells may be used as is, further concentrated, by for example, ultrafiltration or lyophilization, or even dried, partially purified, combined with pharmaceutically-acceptable carriers or diluents as are known in the art, or combined with other compounds such as biologicals, for example pharmaceutically useful protein compositions. Cell lysates or fractions thereof may be used in vitro or in vivo, alone or for example, with autologous or syngeneic live cells. The lysates, if introduced in vivo, may be introduced locally at a site of treatment, or remotely to provide, for example needed cellular growth factors to a patient.

In a further embodiment, PPDCs can be cultured in vitro to produce biological products in high yield. For example, such cells, which either naturally produce a particular biological product of interest (e.g., a trophic factor), or have been genetically engineered to produce a biological product, can be clonally expanded using the culture techniques described herein. Alternatively, cells may be expanded in a medium that induces differentiation to a neural lineage. In either case, biological products produced by the cell and secreted into the medium can be readily isolated from the conditioned medium using standard separation techniques, e.g., such as differential protein precipitation, ion-exchange chromatography, gel filtration chromatography, electrophoresis, and HPLC, to name a few. A "bioreactor" may be used to take advantage of the flow method for feeding, for example, a three-dimensional culture in vitro. Essentially, as fresh media is passed through the three-dimensional culture, the biological product is washed out of the culture and may then be isolated from the outflow, as above.

Alternatively, a biological product of interest may remain within the cell and, thus, its collection may require that the cells be lysed, as described above. The biological product may then be purified using any one or more of the above-listed techniques.

In other embodiments, the invention provides conditioned medium from cultured PPDCs for use in vitro and in vivo as described below. Use of the PPDC conditioned medium allows the beneficial trophic factors secreted by the PPDCs to be used allogeneically in a patient without introducing intact cells that could trigger rejection, or other adverse immunological responses. Conditioned medium is prepared by culturing cells in a culture medium, then removing the cells from the medium.

Conditioned medium prepared from populations of postpartum-derived cells may be used as is, further concentrated, by for example, ultrafiltration or lyophilization, or even dried, partially purified, combined with pharmaceutically-acceptable carriers or diluents as are known in the art, or combined with other compounds such as biologicals, for example pharmaceutically useful protein compositions. Conditioned medium may be used in vitro or in vivo, alone or for example, with autologous or syngeneic live cells. The conditioned medium, if introduced in vivo, may be introduced locally at a site of treatment, or remotely to provide, for example needed cellular growth or trophic factors to a patient.

In another embodiment, an extracellular matrix (ECM) produced by culturing PPDCs on liquid, solid or semi-solid substrates is prepared, collected and utilized as an alternative to implanting live cells into a subject in need of tissue repair or replacement. PPDCs are cultured in vitro, on a three dimensional framework as described elsewhere herein, under conditions such that a desired amount of ECM is secreted onto the framework. The comprising the new tissue are removed, and the ECM processed for further use, for example, as an injectable preparation. To accomplish this, cells on the framework are killed and any cellular debris removed from the framework. This process may be carried out in a number of different ways. For example, the living tissue can be flash-frozen in liquid nitrogen without a cryopreservative, or the tissue can be immersed in sterile distilled water so that the cells burst in response to osmotic pressure.

Once the cells have been killed, the cellular membranes may be disrupted and cellular debris removed by treatment with a mild detergent rinse, such as EDTA, CHAPS or a zwitterionic detergent. Alternatively, the tissue can be enzymatically digested and/or extracted with reagents that break down cellular membranes and allow removal of cell contents. Example of such enzymes include, but are not limited to, hyaluronidase, dispase, proteases, and nucleases. Examples of detergents include non-ionic detergents such as, for example, alkylaryl polyether alcohol (TRITON X-100), octylphenoxy polyethoxy-ethanol (Rohm and Haas Philadelphia, Pa.), BRIJ-35, a polyethoxyethanol lauryl ether (Atlas Chemical Co., San Diego, Calif.), polysorbate 20 (TWEEN 20), a polyethoxyethanol sorbitan monolaureate (Rohm and Haas), polyethylene lauryl ether (Rohm and Haas); and ionic detergents such as, for example, sodium dodecyl sulphate, sulfated higher aliphatic alcohols, sulfonated alkanes and sulfonated alkylarenes containing 7 to 22 carbon atoms in a branched or unbranched chain.

The collection of the ECM can be accomplished in a variety of ways, depending, for example, on whether the new tissue has been formed on a three-dimensional framework that is biodegradable or non-biodegradable. For example, if the framework is non-biodegradable, the ECM can be removed by subjecting the framework to sonication, high pressure water jets, mechanical scraping, or mild treatment with detergents or enzymes, or any combination of the above.

If the framework is biodegradable, the ECM can be collected, for example, by allowing the framework to degrade or dissolve in solution. Alternatively, if the biodegradable framework is composed of a material that can itself be injected along with the ECM, the framework and the ECM can be processed in toto for subsequent injection. Alternatively, the ECM can be removed from the biodegradable framework by any of the methods described above for collection of ECM from a non-biodegradable framework. All collection processes are preferably designed so as not to denature the ECM.

After it has been collected, the ECM may be processed further. For example, the ECM can be homogenized to fine particles using techniques well known in the art such as by sonication, so that it can pass through a surgical needle. The components of the ECM can be crosslinked, if desired, by gamma irradiation. Preferably, the ECM can be irradiated between 0.25 to 2 mega rads to sterilize and crosslink the ECM. Chemical crosslinking using agents that are toxic, such as glutaraldehyde, is possible but not generally preferred.

The amounts and/or ratios of proteins, such as the various types of collagen present in the ECM, may be adjusted by mixing the ECM produced by the cells of the invention with ECM of one or more other cell types. In addition, biologically active substances such as proteins, growth factors and/or drugs, can be incorporated into the ECM. Exemplary biologically active substances include tissue growth factors, such as TGF-beta, and the like, which promote healing and tissue repair at the site of the injection. Such additional agents may be utilized in any of the embodiments described herein above, e.g., with whole cell lysates, soluble cell fractions, or further purified components and products produced by the PPDCs.

Pharmaceutical Compositions Comprising PPDCs, PPDC Components or Products

In another aspect, the invention provides pharmaceutical compositions that utilize the PPDCs, PPDC populations, components and products of PPDCs in various methods for treatment of neurodegenerative conditions. Certain embodiments encompass pharmaceutical compositions comprising live cells (PPDCs alone or admixed with other cell types). Other embodiments encompass pharmaceutical compositions comprising PPDC cellular components (e.g., cell lysates, soluble cell fractions, conditioned medium, ECM, or components of any of the foregoing) or products (e.g., trophic and other biological factors produced naturally by PPDCs or through genetic modification, conditioned medium from PPDC culture). In either case, the pharmaceutical composition may further comprise other active agents, such as anti-inflammatory agents, anti-apoptotic agents, antioxidants, growth factors, neurotrophic factors or neuroregenerative or neuroprotective drugs as known in the art.

Examples of other components that may be added to PPDC pharmaceutical compositions include, but are not limited to: (1) other neuroprotective or neurobeneficial drugs; (2) selected extracellular matrix components, such as one or more types of collagen known in the art, and/or growth factors, platelet-rich plasma, and drugs (alternatively, PPDCs may be genetically engineered to express and produce growth factors); (3) anti-apoptotic agents (e.g., erythropoietin (EPO), EPO mimetibody, thrombopoietin, insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I, IGF-II, hepatocyte growth factor, caspase inhibitors); (4) anti-inflammatory compounds (e.g., p38 MAP kinase inhibitors, TGF-beta inhibitors, statins, IL-6 and IL-1 inhibitors, PEMIROLAST, TRANILAST, REMICADE, SIROLIMUS, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) (such as TEPOXALIN, TOLMETIN, and SUPROFEN); (5) immunosuppressive or immunomodulatory agents, such as calcineurin inhibitors, mTOR inhibitors, antiproliferatives, corticosteroids and various antibodies; (6) antioxidants such as probucol, vitamins C and E, conenzyme Q-10, glutathione, L-cysteine and N-acetylcysteine; and (7) local anesthetics, to name a few.

Pharmaceutical compositions of the invention comprise PPDCs, or components or products thereof, formulated with a pharmaceutically acceptable carrier or medium. Suitable pharmaceutically acceptable carriers include water, salt solution (such as Ringer's solution), alcohols, oils, gelatins, and carbohydrates, such as lactose, amylose, or starch, fatty acid esters, hydroxymethylcellulose, and polyvinyl pyrolidine. Such preparations can be sterilized, and if desired, mixed with auxiliary agents such as lubricants, preservatives, stabilizers, wetting agents, emulsifiers, salts for influencing osmotic pressure, buffers, and coloring. Pharmaceutical carriers suitable for use in the present invention are known in the art and are described, for example, in Pharmaceutical Sciences (17.sup.th Ed., Mack Pub. Co., Easton, Pa.) and WO 96/05309.

Typically, but not exclusively, pharmaceutical compositions comprising PPDC components or products, but not live cells, are formulated as liquids (or as solid tablets, capsules and the like, when oral delivery is appropriate). These may be formulated for administration by any acceptable route known in the art to achieve delivery of drugs and biological molecules to the target neural tissue, including, but not limited to, oral, nasal, ophthalmic and parenteral, including intravenous. Particular routes of parenteral administration include, but are not limited to, intramuscular, subcutaneous, intraperitoneal, intracerebral, intraventricular, intracerebroventricular, intrathecal, intracisternal, intraspinal and/or peri-spinal routes of administration by delivery via intracranial or intravertebral needles and/or catheters with or without pump devices.

Pharmaceutical compositions comprising PPDC live cells are typically formulated as liquids, semisolids (e.g., gels) or solids (e.g., matrices, scaffolds and the like, as appropriate for neural tissue engineering). Liquid compositions are formulated for administration by any acceptable route known in the art to achieve delivery of live cells to the target neural tissues. Typically, these include injection or infusion into the CNS or PNS, either in a diffuse fashion or targeted to the site of neurological disease or distress, by a route of administration including, but not limited to, intraocular, intracerebral, intraventricular, intracerebroventricular, intrathecal, intracisternal, intraspinal and/or peri-spinal routes of administration by delivery via intracranial or intravertebral needles and/or catheters with or without pump devices.

Pharmaceutical compositions comprising live cells in a semi-solid or solid carrier are typically formulated for surgical implantation at the site of neurological damage or distress. It will be appreciated that liquid compositions also may be administered by surgical procedures. In particular embodiments, semi-solid or solid pharmaceutical compositions may comprise semi-permeable gels, lattices, cellular scaffolds and the like, which may be non-biodegradable or biodegradable. For example, in certain embodiments, it may be desirable or appropriate to sequester the exogenous cells from their surroundings, yet enable the cells to secrete and deliver biological molecules (e.g. neurotrophic factors) to surrounding neural cells. In these embodiments, cells may be formulated as autonomous implants comprising living PPDCs or cell population comprising PPDCs surrounded by a non-degradable, selectively permeable barrier that physically separates the transplanted cells from host tissue. Such implants are sometimes referred to as "immunoprotective," as they have the capacity to prevent immune cells and macromolecules from killing the transplanted cells in the absence of pharmacologically induced immunosuppression (for a review of such devices and methods, see, e.g., P. A. Tresco et al., 2000, Adv. Drug Delivery Rev. 42: 3-27).

In other embodiments, different varieties of degradable gels and networks are utilized for the pharmaceutical compositions of the invention. For example, degradable materials particularly suitable for sustained release formulations include biocompatible polymers, such as poly(lactic acid), poly (lactic-co-glycolic acid), methylcellulose, hyaluronic acid, collagen, and the like. The structure, selection and use of degradable polymers in drug delivery vehicles have been reviewed in several publications, including, A. Domb et al., 1992, Polymers for Advanced Technologies 3:279.

In other embodiments, e.g., for repair of large neural lesions, such as a damaged or severed spinal cord or a neural cord of a severed limb, it may be desirable or appropriate to deliver the cells on or in a biodegradable, preferably bioresorbable or bioabsorbable, scaffold or matrix. These typically three-dimensional biomaterials contain the living cells attached to the scaffold, dispersed within the scaffold, or incorporated in an extracellular matrix entrapped in the scaffold. Once implanted into the target region of the body, these implants become integrated with the host tissue, wherein the transplanted cells gradually become established (see, e.g., P. A. Tresco et al., 2000, supra; see also D. W. Hutmacher, 2001, J. Biomater. Sci. Polymer Edn. 12: 107-174).

Examples of scaffold or matrix (sometimes referred to collectively as "framework") material that may be used in the present invention include nonwoven mats, porous foams, or self assembling peptides. Nonwoven mats may, for example, be formed using fibers comprised of a synthetic absorbable copolymer of glycolic and lactic acids (PGA/PLA), sold under the tradename VICRYL (Ethicon, Inc., Somerville, N.J.), Foams, composed of, for example, poly(epsilon-caprolactone)/poly(glycolic acid) (PCL/PGA) copolymer, formed by processes such as freeze-drying, or lyophilized, as discussed in U.S. Pat. No. 6,355,699, also may be utilized. Hydrogels such as self-assembling peptides (e.g., RAD16) may also be used. In situ-forming degradable networks are also suitable for use in the invention (see, e.g., Anseth, K. S. et al., 2002, J. Controlled Release 78: 199-209; Wang, D. et al., 2003, Biomaterials 24: 3969-3980; U.S. Patent Publication 2002/0022676 to He et al.). These materials are formulated as fluids suitable for injection, then may be induced by a variety of means (e.g., change in temperature, pH, exposure to light) to form degradable hydrogel networks in situ or in vivo.

In another embodiment, the framework is a felt, which can be composed of a multifilament yarn made from a bioabsorbable material, e.g., PGA, PLA, PCL copolymers or blends, or hyaluronic acid. The yarn is made into a felt using standard textile processing techniques consisting of crimping, cutting, carding and needling. In another embodiment, cells are seeded onto foam scaffolds that may be composite structures.

In many of the abovementioned embodiments, the framework may be molded into a useful shape, such as that of the spinal cord with segregated columns for nerve tract repair, for example (Friedman J A et al., 2002, Neurosurgery 51: 742-51). Furthermore, it will be appreciated that PPDCs may be cultured on pre-formed, non-degradable surgical or implantable devices, e.g., in a manner corresponding to that used for preparing fibroblast-containing GDC endovascular coils, for instance (Marx, W. F. et al., 2001, Am. J. Neuroradiol. 22: 323-333).

The matrix, scaffold or device may be treated prior to inoculation of cells in order to enhance cell attachment. For example, prior to inoculation, nylon matrices can be treated with 0.1 molar acetic acid and incubated in polylysine, PBS, and/or collagen to coat the nylon. Polystyrene can be similarly treated using sulfuric acid. The external surfaces of a framework may also be modified to improve the attachment or growth of cells and differentiation of tissue, such as by plasma coating the framework or addition of one or more proteins (e.g., collagens, elastic fibers, reticular fibers), glycoproteins, glycosaminoglycans (e.g., heparin sulfate, chondroitin-4-sulfate, chondroitin-6-sulfate, dermatan sulfate, keratin sulfate), a cellular matrix, and/or other materials such as, but not limited to, gelatin, alginates, agar, agarose, and plant gums, among others.

PPDC-containing frameworks are prepared according to methods known in the art. For example, cells can be grown freely in a culture vessel to sub-confluency or confluency, lifted from the culture and inoculated onto the framework. Growth factors may be added to the culture medium prior to, during, or subsequent to inoculation of the cells to trigger differentiation and tissue formation, if desired. Alternatively, the frameworks themselves may be modified so that the growth of cells thereon is enhanced, or so that the risk of rejection of the implant is reduced. Thus, one or more biologically active compounds, including, but not limited to, anti-inflammatories, immunosuppressants or growth factors, may be added to the framework for local release.

Methods of using PPDCs, PPDC Components or Products

PPDCs, or cell populations comprising PPDCs, or components of or products produced by PPDCs, may be used in a variety of ways to support and facilitate repair and regeneration of neural cells and tissues. Such utilities encompass in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo methods.

In Vitro and Ex Vivo Methods:

In one embodiment, PPDCs may be used in vitro to screen a wide variety of compounds for effectiveness and cytotoxicity of pharmaceutical agents, growth factors, regulatory factors, and the like. For example, such screening may be performed on substantially homogeneous populations of PPDCs to assess the efficacy or toxicity of candidate compounds to be formulated with, or co-administered with, the PPDCs, for treatment of a neurodegenerative condition. Alternatively, such screening may be performed on PPDCs that have been stimulated to differentiate into a neural cell or neural progenitor cell, for the purpose of evaluating the efficacy of new pharmaceutical drug candidates. In this embodiment, the PPDCs are maintained in vitro and exposed to the compound to be tested. The activity of a potentially cytotoxic compound can be measured by its ability to damage or kill cells in culture. This may readily be assessed by vital staining techniques. The effect of growth or regulatory factors may be assessed by analyzing the number or robustness of the cultured cells, as compared with cells not exposed to the factors. This may be accomplished using standard cytological and/or histological techniques, including the use of immunocytochemical techniques employing antibodies that define type-specific cellular antigens.

In a further embodiment, as discussed above, PPDCs can be cultured in vitro to produce biological products that are either naturally produced by the cells, or produced by the cells when induced to differentiate into neural lineages, or produced by the cells via genetic modification. For instance, TIMP1, TPO, KGF, HGF, FGF, HBEGF, BDNF, MIP1b, MCP1, RANTES, I309, TARC, MDC, and IL-8 were found to be secreted from umbilicus-derived cells grown in Growth Medium. TIMP1, TPO, KGF, HGF, HBEGF, BDNF, MIP1a, MCP-1, RANTES, TARC, Eotaxin, and IL-8 were found to be secreted from placenta-derived PPDCs cultured in Growth Medium (see Examples). Some of these trophic factors, such as BDNF and IL-6, have important roles in neural regeneration. Other trophic factors, as yet undetected or unexamined, of use in neural repair and regeneration, are likely to be produced by PPDCs and possibly secreted into the medium.

In this regard, another embodiment of the invention features use of PPDCs for production of conditioned medium, either from undifferentiated PPDCs or from PPDCs incubated under conditions that stimulate differentiation into a neural lineage. Such conditioned media are contemplated for use in in vitro or ex vivo culture of neurogeneic precursor cells, or in vivo to support transplanted cells comprising homogeneous populations of PPDCs or heterogeneous populations comprising PPDCs and neural progenitors, for example.

Yet another embodiment comprises the use of PPCD cell lysates, soluble cell fractions or components thereof, or ECM or components thereof, for a variety of purposes. As mentioned above, some of these components may be used in pharmaceutical compositions. In other embodiments, a cell lysate or ECM is used to coat or otherwise treat substances or devices to be used surgically, or for implantation, or for ex vivo purposes, to promote healing or survival of cells or tissues contacted in the course of such treatments.

As described in Examples 13 and 15, PPDCs have demonstrated the ability to support survival, growth and differentiation of adult neural progenitor cells when grown in co-culture with those cells. Accordingly, in another embodiment, PPDCs are used advantageously in co-cultures in vitro to provide trophic support to other cells, in particular neural cells and neural progenitors. For co-culture, it may be desirable for the PPDCs and the desired other cells to be co-cultured under conditions in which the two cell types are in contact. This can be achieved, for example, by seeding the cells as a heterogeneous population of cells in culture medium or onto a suitable culture substrate. Alternatively, the PPDCs can first be grown to confluence, and then will serve as a substrate for the second desired cell type in culture. In this latter embodiment, the cells may further be physically separated, e.g., by a membrane or similar device, such that the other cell type may be removed and used separately, following the co-culture period. Use of PPDCs in co-culture to promote expansion and differentiation of neural cell types may find applicability in research and in clinical/therapeutic areas. For instance, PPDC co-culture may be utilized to facilitate growth and differentiation of neural cells in culture, for basic research purposes or for use in drug screening assays, for example. PPDC co-culture may also be utilized for ex vivo expansion of neural progenitors for later administration for therapeutic purposes. For example, neural progenitor cells may be harvested from an individual, expanded ex vivo in co-culture with PPDCs, then returned to that individual (autologous transfer) or another individual (syngeneic or allogeneic transfer). In these embodiments, it will be appreciated that, following ex vivo expansion, the mixed population of cells comprising the PPDCs and neural progenitors could be administered to a patient in need of treatment. Alternatively, in situations where autologous transfer is appropriate or desirable, the co-cultured cell populations may be physically separated in culture, enabling removal of the autologous neural progenitors for administration to the patient.

In Vivo Methods:

As set forth in Examples 16 and 17, PPDCs have been shown to be effectively transplanted into the body, and to supply lost neural function in an animal model accepted for its predictability of efficacy in humans. These results support a preferred embodiment of the invention, wherein PPDCs are used in cell therapy for treating a neurodegenerative condition. Once transplanted into a target neural location in the body, PPDCs may themselves differentiate into one or more neural phenotypes, or they may provide trophic support for neural progenitors and neural cells in situ, or they may exert a beneficial effect in both of those fashions, among others.

PPDCs may be administered alone (e.g., as substantially homogeneous populations) or as admixtures with other cells. As described above, PPDCs may be administered as formulated in a pharmaceutical preparation with a matrix or scaffold, or with conventional pharmaceutically acceptable carriers. Where PPDCs are administered with other cells, they may be administered simultaneously or sequentially with the other cells (either before or after the other cells). Cells that may be administered in conjunction with PPDCs include, but are not limited to, neurons, astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, neural progenitor cells, neural stem cells and/or other multipotent or pluripotent stem cells. The cells of different types may be admixed with the PPDCs immediately or shortly prior to administration, or they may be co-cultured together for a period of time prior to administration.

The PPDCs may be administered with other neuro-beneficial drugs or biological molecules, or other active agents, such as anti-inflammatory agents, anti-apoptotic agents, antioxidants, growth factors, neurotrophic factors or neuroregenerative or neuroprotective drugs as known in the art. When PPDCs are administered with other agents, they may be administered together in a single pharmaceutical composition, or in separate pharmaceutical compositions, simultaneously or sequentially with the other agents (either before or after administration of the other agents).

Examples of other components that may be administered with PPDCs include, but are not limited to: (1) other neuroprotective or neurobeneficial drugs; (2) selected extracellular matrix components, such as one or more types of collagen known in the art, and/or growth factors, platelet-rich plasma, and drugs (alternatively, PPDCs may be genetically engineered to express and produce growth factors); (3) anti-apoptotic agents (e.g., erythropoietin (EPO), EPO mimetibody, thrombopoietin, insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I, IGF-II, hepatocyte growth factor, caspase inhibitors); (4) anti-inflammatory compounds (e.g., p38 MAP kinase inhibitors, TGF-beta inhibitors, statins, IL-6 and IL-1 inhibitors, PEMIROLAST, TRANILAST, REMICADE, SIROLIMUS, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) (such as TEPOXALIN, TOLMETIN, and SUPROFEN); (5) immunosuppressive or immunomodulatory agents, such as calcineurin inhibitors, mTOR inhibitors, antiproliferatives, corticosteroids and various antibodies; (6) antioxidants such as probucol, vitamins C and E, conenzyme Q-10, glutathione, L-cysteine and N-acetylcysteine; and (7) local anesthetics, to name a few.

In one embodiment, PPDCs are administered as undifferentiated cells, i.e., as cultured in Growth Medium. Alternatively, PPDCs may be administered following exposure in culture to conditions that stimulate differentiation toward a desired neural phenotype, e.g., astrocyte, oligodendrocyte or neuron, and more specifically, serotoninergic, dopaminergic, cholinergic, GABA-ergic or glutamatergic neurons (see, e.g., Isacson, O., 2003. The Lancet (Neurology) 2: 417-424).

The cells of the invention may be surgically implanted, injected, delivered (e.g., by way of a catheter or syringe), or otherwise administered directly or indirectly to the site of neurological damage or distress. Routes of administration of the cells of the invention or compositions thereof include, but are not limited to, intravenous, intramuscular, subcutaneous, intranasal, intracerebral, intraventricular, intracerebroventricular, intrathecal, intracisternal, intraspinal and/or peri-spinal routes of administration by delivery via intracranial or intravertebral needles and/or catheters with or without pump devices.

When cells are administered in semi-solid or solid devices, surgical implantation into a precise location in the body is typically a suitable means of administration. Liquid or fluid pharmaceutical compositions, however, may be administered to a more general location in the CNS or PNS (e.g., throughout a diffusely affected area, such as would be the case in Parkinson's disease or diffuse ischemic injury, for example), inasmuch as neural progenitor cells have been shown to be capable of extensive migration from a point of entry to the nervous system to a particular location, e.g., by following radial glia or by responding to chemical signals.

Indeed, this migratory ability of neural stem cells has opened a new avenue for treatment of malignant brain tumors, i.e., use of progenitor cells for delivery of therapeutic genes/gene products for the treatment of these migratory tumors. For example, it has been reported that neural stem cells, when implanted into intracranial gliomas in vivo in adult rodents, distribute themselves quickly and extensively through the tumor bed and migrate in juxtaposition to expanding and advancing tumor cells, while continuing to stably express a foreign gene (Aboody, K. et al., 2000, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 97:12846-12851). PPDCs are also expected to be suitable for this type of use, i.e., PPDCs genetically modified to produce an apoptotic or other antineoplastic agent, e.g., IL-12 (Ehtesham, M. et al., 2002, Cancer Research 62: 5657-5663) or tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (Ehtesham, M. et al., 2002, Cancer Research 62: 7170-7174) may be injected or otherwise administered to a general site of a malignant tumor (e.g., glioblastoma), whereafter the PPDCs can migrate to the tumor cells for local delivery of the therapeutic agent.

Other embodiments encompass methods of treating neurodegenerative conditions by administering pharmaceutical compositions comprising PPDC cellular components (e.g., cell lysates or components thereof) or products (e.g., trophic and other biological factors produced naturally by PPDCs or through genetic modification, conditioned medium from PPDC culture). Again, these methods may further comprise administering other active agents, such as growth factors, neurotrophic factors or neuroregenerative or neuroprotective drugs as known in the art.

Dosage forms and regimes for administering PPDCs or any of the other pharmaceutical compositions described herein are developed in accordance with good medical practice, taking into account the condition of the individual patient, e.g., nature and extent of the neurodegenerative condition, age, sex, body weight and general medical condition, and other factors known to medical practitioners. Thus, the effective amount of a pharmaceutical composition to be administered to a patient is determined by these considerations as known in the art.

Because the CNS is a somewhat immunoprivileged tissue, it may not be necessary or desirable to immunosuppress a patient prior to initiation of cell therapy with PPDCs. In addition, as set forth in Example 11, PPDCs have been shown not to stimulate allogeneic PBMCs in a mixed lymphocyte reaction. Accordingly, transplantation with allogeneic, or even xenogeneic, PPDCs may be tolerated in some instances.

However, in other instances it may be desirable or appropriate to pharmacologically immunosuppress a patient prior to initiating cell therapy. This may be accomplished through the use of systemic or local immunosuppressive agents, or it may be accomplished by delivering the cells in an encapsulated device, as described above. These and other means for reducing or eliminating an immune response to the transplanted cells are known in the art. As an alternative, PPDCs may be genetically modified to reduce their immunogenicity, as mentioned above.

Survival of transplanted PPDCs in a living patient can be determined through the use of a variety of scanning techniques, e.g., computerized axial tomography (CAT or CT) scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or positron emission tomography (PET) scans. Determination of transplant survival can also be done post mortem by removing the neural tissue, and examining it visually or through a microscope. Alternatively, cells can be treated with stains that are specific for neural cells or products thereof, e.g., neurotransmitters. Transplanted cells can also be identified by prior incorporation of tracer dyes such as rhodamine- or fluorescein-labeled microspheres, fast blue, ferric microparticles, bisbenzamide or genetically introduced reporter gene products, such as beta-galactosidase or beta-glucuronidase.

Functional integration of transplanted PPDCs into neural tissue of a subject can be assessed by examining restoration of the neural function that was damaged or diseased. Such functions include, but are not limited to motor, cognitive, sensory and endocrine functions, in accordance with procedures well known to neurobiologists and physicians.

Kits and Banks Comprising PPDCs, PPDC Components or Products

In another aspect, the invention provides kits that utilize the PPDCs, PPDC populations, components and products of PPDCs in various methods for neural regeneration and repair as described above. Where used for treatment of neurodegenerative conditions, or other scheduled treatment, the kits may include one or more cell populations, including at least PPDCs and a pharmaceutically acceptable carrier (liquid, semi-solid or solid). The kits also optionally may include a means of administering the cells, for example by injection. The kits further may include instructions for use of the cells. Kits prepared for field hospital use, such as for military use may include full-procedure supplies including tissue scaffolds, surgical sutures, and the like, where the cells are to be used in conjunction with repair of acute injuries. Kits for assays and in vitro methods as described herein may contain one or more of (1) PPDCs or components or products of PPDCs, (2) reagents for practicing the in vitro method, (3) other cells or cell populations, as appropriate, and (4) instructions for conducting the in vitro method.

In yet another aspect, the invention also provides for banking of tissues, cells, cellular components and cell populations of the invention. As discussed above, the cells are readily cryopreserved. The invention therefore provides methods of cryopreserving the cells in a bank, wherein the cells are stored frozen and associated with a complete characterization of the cells based on immunological, biochemical and genetic properties of the cells. The frozen cells can be thawed and expanded or used directly for autologous, syngeneic, or allogeneic therapy, depending on the requirements of the procedure and the needs of the patient. Preferably, the information on each cryopreserved sample is stored in a computer, which is searchable based on the requirements of the surgeon, procedure and patient with suitable matches being made based on the characterization of the cells or populations. Preferably, the cells of the invention are grown and expanded to the desired quantity of cells and therapeutic cell compositions are prepared either separately or as co-cultures, in the presence or absence of a matrix or support. While for some applications it may be preferable to use cells freshly prepared, the remainder can be cryopreserved and banked by freezing the cells and entering the information in the computer to associate the computer entry with the samples. Even where it is not necessary to match a source or donor with a recipient of such cells, for immunological purposes, the bank system makes it easy to match, for example, desirable biochemical or genetic properties of the banked cells to the therapeutic needs. Upon matching of the desired properties with a banked sample, the sample is retrieved and prepared for therapeutic use. Cell lysates, ECM or cellular components prepared as described herein may also be cryopreserved or otherwise preserved (e.g., by lyophilization) and banked in accordance with the present invention.
 

Claim 1 of 17 Claims

1. A method of treating a patient having nerve pathology caused by traumatic nerve injury, said method comprising administering to the patient one or more cells, wherein said one or more cells are isolated from human postpartum umbilical cord substantially free of blood or are expanded in culture from a cell isolated from human postpartum umbilical cord substantially free of blood, in an amount effective to treat the nerve pathology, wherein said one or more cells self-renew and expand in culture and have the potential to differentiate into cells of at least a neural phenotype; require L-valine for growth; can grow in at least about 5% oxygen; do not produce CD117; and exhibit increased expression, relative to a human fibroblast or mesenchymal stem cell, of an endogenous gene encoding oxidized low density lipoprotein receptor 1, interleukin 8, or reticulon 1.

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