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  Pharmaceutical Patents  

 

Title:  Method for delivering a biological compound using neural progenitor cells derived from whole bone marrow
United States Patent: 
7,504,100
Issued: 
March 17, 2009

Inventors:
 Yu; John S. (Los Angeles, CA), Kabos; Peter (Los Angeles, CA), Ehtesham; Moneeb (Nashville, TN)
Assignee:
  Cedars-Sinai Medical Center (Los Angeles, CA)
Appl. No.:
 11/364,394
Filed:
 February 28, 2006

 

Covidien Pharmaceuticals Outsourcing


Abstract

A method is described for generating a clinically significant volume of neural progenitor cells from whole bone marrow. A mass of bone marrow cells may be grown in a culture supplemented with fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF-2) and epidermal growth factor (EGF). Further methods of the present invention are directed to utilizing the neural progenitor cells cultured in this fashion in the treatment of various neuropathological conditions, and in targeting delivery of cells transfected with a particular gene to diseased or damaged tissue.

Description of the Invention

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

Embodiments of the present invention are directed to a method for generating a clinically substantial volume of neural progenitor cells from mammalian whole bone marrow. Further embodiments of the present invention are directed to the treatment of neurological disorders using neural progenitor cells cultured in this fashion.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Nearly every cell in an animal's body, from neural to blood to bone, owes its existence to a stem cell. A stem cell is commonly defined as a cell that (i) is capable of renewing itself; and (ii) can give rise to more than one type of cell (that is, a differentiated cell) through asymmetric cell division. F. M. Watt and B. L. M. Hogan, "Out of Eden: Stem Cells and Their Niches," Science, 284, 1427-1430 (2000). Stem cells give rise to a type of stem cell called progenitor cells; progenitor cells, in turn, proliferate into the differentiated cells that populate the body.

The prior art describes the development, from stem cell to differentiated cells, of various tissues throughout the body. U.S. Pat. No. 5,811,301, for example, the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference, describes the process of hematopoiesis, the development of the various cells that comprise blood. The process begins with what may be a pluripotent stem cell, a cell that can give rise to every cell of an organism (there is only one cell that exhibits greater developmental plasticity than a pluripotent stem cell; this is a fertilized ovum, a single, totipotent stem cell that can give rise to an entire organism when implanted into the uterus). The pluripotent stem cell gives rise to a myeloid stem cell. Certain maturation-promoting polypeptides cause the myeloid stem cell to differentiate into precursor cells, which in turn differentiate into various progenitor cells. It is the progenitor cells that proliferate into the various lymphocytes, neutrophils, macrophages, and other cells that comprise blood tissue of the body.

This description of hematopoiesis is vastly incomplete, of course: biology has yet to determine a complete lineage for all the cells of the blood (e.g., it is has yet to identify all the precursor cells between the myeloid stem cell and the progenitor cells to which it gives rise), and it has yet to determine precisely how or why the myeloid cell differentiates into progenitor cells. Even so, hematopoiesis is particularly well studied; even less is known of the development of other organ systems. With respect to the brain and its development, for example, U.S. Pat. No. 6,040,180, the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference, describes the "current lack of understanding of histogenesis during brain development." U.S. Pat. No. 5,849,553, the disclosure of which is hereby also incorporated by reference, describes the "uncertainty in the art concerning the development potential of neural crest cells."

The identification and isolation of stem cells has daunted researchers for decades. To date, no one has identified an individual neural stem cell or hematopoietic stem cell. F. H. Gage, "Mammalian Neural Stem Cells," Science, 287, 1433-1488 (2000). There are two principal difficulties. First, stem cells are rare. In bone marrow, for example, where hematopoiesis occurs, there is only one stem cell for every several billion bone marrow cells. G. Vogel, "Can Old Cells Learn New Tricks?" Science, 287, 1418-1419 (2000). Second, and more importantly, researchers have been unable to identify molecular markers which are unique to stem cells; to the typical immunoassay, most stem cells look like any other cell. Id. Compounding this problem is that primitive stem cells may be in a quiescent state. As a result, they may express few molecular markers. F. H. Gage, supra.

A method to effectively isolate stem cells and culture them in clinically significant quantities would be of immense importance. Researchers are already transplanting immature neurons, presumed to contain neural stem cells, from human fetuses to adult patients with neurodegenerative disease. The procedure has reduced symptoms by up to 50% in patients with Parkinson's disease in one study. M. Barinaga, "Fetal Neuron Grafts Pave the Way for Stem Cell Therapies," Science, 287, 1421-1422 (2000). Many of the shortcomings of this procedure, including the ethical and practical difficulties of using material derived from fetuses and the inherent complications of harvesting material from adult brain tissue, could be addressed by using cultures of isolated stem cells, or stem cells obtained from adult individuals. D. W. Pincus et al., Ann. Neurol. 43:576-585 (1998); C. B. Johansson et al., Exp. Cell. Res. 253:733-736 (1999); and S. F. Pagano et al., Stem Cells 18:295-300 (2000). However, the efficient and large-scale generation of neural progenitor cells for use in the treatment of neurological disorders has been a challenge.

Recent evidence has suggested that progenitor cells outside the central nervous system and bone marrow cells in paricular may have the ability to generate either neurons or glia in vivo. J. G. Toma et al., Nat. Cell Biol. 3:778-783 (2001); E. Mezey et al., Science 290:1779-1782 (2000); T. R. Brazleton et al., Science 290:1775-1779 (2000); and M. A. Eglitis et al., Proc Natl. Acad. Sci. 94:4080-4085 (1997). Bone marrow stromal cells have also been shown to be capable of differentiating into neurons and glia in vitro after a complicated and time-consuming culture process spanning several weeks. The generation of neural progenitor cells from whole bone marrow has, however, not been reported.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention described herein provides an efficient method of generating a clinically significant quantity of neural progenitor cells. These neural progenitor cells may be generated from bone marrow or other appropriate sources, and may be used to treat a variety of conditions, particularly neuropathological conditions. Owing to the neural progenitor cells' ability to track diseased or damaged neural tissue and to further replace the lost function of such tissue, the cells of the present invention are particularly useful in the treatment of conditions wherein neural tissue itself is damaged.

Still further embodiments of the present invention describe the use of the neural progenitor cells to target the delivery of various compounds to damaged or diseased neural tissue. Neural progenitor cells may be caused to carry a gene that induces the cells themselves to secrete such compounds, or to otherwise effect the local production of such compounds by, for example, initiating or promoting a particular biochemical pathway. Since the neural progenitor cells that carry these genes may track diseased or damaged neural tissue, delivery of the particular compound may be correspondingly targeted to such tissue. A dual treatment effect is accomplished when the neural progenitor cells both replace lost or damaged neural tissue function while simultaneously effecting the targeted delivery of a therapeutic compound.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Methods of the present invention are based on adult bone marrow as a viable alternative source of neural progenitor cells that may be used in therapeutic strategies for a variety of neuropathological conditions.

Any population of cells where neural progenitor cells are suspected of being found may be used in accordance with the method of the present invention. Such populations of cells may include, by way of example, mammalian bone marrow, brain tissue, or any suitable fetal tissue. Preferably, cells are obtained from the bone marrow of a non-fetal mammal, and most preferably from a human. U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,204,053 B1 and 5,824,489, the disclosures of which are hereby incorporated by reference, identify additional sources of cells that contain or are thought to contain stem cells; any of these cells may be used in accordance with the methods of the present invention.

In one embodiment of the present invention, a mass of cells may be harvested or otherwise obtained from an appropriate source, such as, by way of example, adult human bone marrow. The mass of cells may thereafter be grown in a culture, and may be further subcultured where desirable, to generate further masses of cells. Any appropriate culture medium may be used in accordance with the methods of the present invention, such as, by way of example, serum-free Dulbecco's modified Eagle medium (DMEM)/F-12 medium.

The medium of the present invention may include various medium supplements, growth factors, antibiotics, and additional compounds. Supplements may illustratively include B27 supplement and/or N2 supplement (both available from Invitrogen Corporation); growth factors may illustratively include fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF-2), epidermal growth factor (EGF), and/or leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF); and antibiotics may illustratively include penicillin and/or streptomycin. In preferred embodiments of the present invention, growth factors are included in an amount of from about 15 ng/ml to about 25 ng/ml. Additional compounds suitable for use in the present invention may include, but are in no way limited to, interleukin-3 (IL-3), stem cell factor-1 (SCF-1), sonic hedgehog (Shh), and fms-like tyrosine kinase-3 (Flt3) ligand. While not wishing to be bound by any theory, it is believed that these particular compounds may enhance the production of spheres in accordance with the methods of the present invention. Additional or substituted supplements, growth factors, antibiotics, and additional compounds suitable for use with the methods of the present invention may be readily recognized by one of skill in the art, and these are contemplated as being within the scope of the present invention. In a most preferred embodiment of the present invention, a culture medium is DMEM/F-12 medium supplemented with B27, and additionally includes 10 ng/ml of both FGF-2 and EGF, as well as penicillin and streptomycin.

After a sufficient time period (generally from about three to about six days), clusters of neural progenitor cells (e.g., spheres) may form in a culture medium in which stem cells obtained as described above are included. Individual clusters of neural progenitor cells may be removed from the medium and sub-cultured separate from one another. Such separation may be repeated any desirable number of times to generate a clinically significant volume of neural progenitor cells. These neural progenitor cells may be capable of differentiating into a variety of neural cells, such as, astrocytes, neurons, and oligodendroglia.

As used herein, a "clinically significant volume" is an amount of cells sufficient to utilize in a therapeutic treatment of a disease condition, including a neuropathological condition. Furthermore, as used herein, "treatment" includes, but is not limited to, ameliorating a disease, lessening the severity of its complications, preventing it from manifesting, preventing it from recurring, merely preventing it from worsening, mitigating an undesirable biologic response (e.g., inflammation) included therein, or a therapeutic effort to effect any of the aforementioned, even if such therapeutic effort is ultimately unsuccessful.

The neural progenitor cells of the present invention possess a host of potential clinical and therapeutic applications, as well as applications in medical research. Two possible therapeutic mechanisms include: (1%) using the cells as a delivery vehicle for gene products by taking advantage of their ability to migrate after transplantation, and (2) using the cells to replace damaged or absent neural tissue, thereby restoring or enhancing tissue function.

As discussed in the ensuing Examples, and with reference to the first therapeutic mechanism indicated above, the neural progenitor cells of the present invention are capable of "tracking" diseased or damaged tissue in vivo. The cells may therefore be used to aid in the targeted delivery of various compounds useful in the treatment of diseased or damaged tissue. Delivery of such compounds may be accomplished by transfecting the cells with a gene that induces the cell to, for example, constitutively secrete that compound itself, or promote a biochemical pathway that effects a local production of that compound.

Thus, in one embodiment of the present invention, neural progenitor cells may be transfected with or otherwise caused to carry a particular gene, as per any conventional methodology. Such methodologies may include introducing a particular gene into the neural progenitor cells as a plasmid, or, more preferably, using somatic cell gene transfer to transfect the cells utilizing viral vectors containing appropriate gene sequences. Suitable viral vectors may include, but are in no way limited to, expression vectors based on recombinant adenoviruses, adeno-associated viruses, retroviruses or lentiviruses, although non-viral vectors may alternatively be used. In a preferred embodiment of the present invention, one employs adenovirus serotype 5 ("Ad5")-based vectors (available from Quantum Biotechnology, Inc., Montreal, Quebec, Canada) to deliver and express desirable gene sequences in the neural progenitor cells of the present invention. Once caused to carry the desired gene, the neural progenitor cells may be implanted in or otherwise administered to a mammal.

By employing this therapeutic mechanism, the neural progenitor cells of the present invention may be used to treat a variety of pathological conditions; potentially any condition where mammalian neural tissue is diseased or damaged to the point that neural progenitor cells will track the same. In the area of neuropathological disorders, this therapeutic modality may be used in the treatment of numerous conditions, some examples of which may include: brain tumors (e.g., by targeting the delivery of cytokines or other agents that enhance the immune response, or by targeting the delivery of compounds that are otherwise toxic to tumor cells); brain ischemia (e.g., by targeting the delivery of neuroprotective substances such as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), nerve growth factor (NGF), and neurotrophin-3, -4, and -5 (NT-3, NT-4, NT-5)); spinal cord injury (e.g., again, by targeting the delivery of neuroprotective substances, or by targeting the delivery of substances inducing neurite growth such as basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), and glial-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF)); and neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's Disease (e.g., again, by targeting the delivery of neuroprotective substances or growth factors, or by targeting the delivery of other neuroprotective factors such as amyloid precursor proteins or protease nexin-1).

As discussed in the ensuing Examples, and with reference to the second therapeutic mechanism indicated above, the neural progenitor cells of the present invention are also able to replace neurons and glia in vivo. The cells may therefore be used to replace diseased or damaged neural tissue, and, owing to the cells' additional capacity to track diseased or damaged tissue in vivo, once administered, the cells may configure themselves to an appropriate physiological site to effect this therapeutic mechanism.

Given the ability of the neural progenitor cells of the present invention to replace lost or damaged neural tissue function, these cells may be useful in the treatment of numerous neuropathological conditions, many of which are similar to those enumerated above. By way of example, even in a state where the cells have not been transfected or otherwise caused to carry a particular gene, the cells may be used in the treatment of brain tumors, brain ischemia, spinal cord injury, and various neurodegenerative disorders.

Neural progenitor cells that are, in fact, transfected or otherwise caused to carry a desirable gene may also provide the additional neural cell function replacement capacity discussed in this mechanism; thereby imparting a dual treatment effect to the recipient. The dual treatment effect may include the replacement of lost or damaged cell function (e.g., as per the second therapeutic mechanism) in conjunction with the targeted delivery of a beneficial compound to that same region (e.g., as per the first therapeutic mechanism). Therefore, in the illustrative instance of brain tumor treatment, the neural progenitor cells may be transfected with a gene that induces the secretion of cytokines (e.g., tumor necrosis factor (TNF) or interleukin-1 (IL-1)), and implanted or otherwise administered to the brain of a recipient. Once administered, the cells may track the tissue damaged by the tumor, replacing at least a portion of the lost brain function, while simultaneously secreting cytokines that may induce an immune response against the tumor cells. This dual treatment effect is further described in the ensuing Examples.

Neural progenitor cells developed through culture as described above may be implanted in or otherwise administered to a mammal to effect the therapeutic mechanisms previously discussed. Once implanted or otherwise administered, these cells may relocate to an area of diseased tissue, such as, but not limited to, brain tumors, tissue damaged by stroke or other neurodegenerative disease, and the like. Moreover, the neural progenitor cells may multiply in vivo, and may further follow diseased tissue as it spreads (e.g., as a tumor spreads). Implantation may be performed by any suitable method as will be readily ascertained without undue experimentation by one of ordinary skill in the art, such as injection, inoculation, infusion, direct surgical delivery, or any combination thereof.

 

Claim 1 of 22 Claims

1. A method to deliver a biological compound, the method comprising: culturing whole bone marrow from a mammal in a medium comprising fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF-2) and epidermal growth factor (EGF) to produce a neural progenitor cell; causing the neural progenitor cell to carry a gene that effects local production of the biological compound; and administering the neural progenitor cell to a mammal to deliver the biological compound to a tumor or diseased neural tissue, wherein the biological compound is a gene product.

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If you want to learn more about this patent, please go directly to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Web site to access the full patent.

 

 

     
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