Advancements in Stem Cell Therapy

by Ryan Mateja, PhD

Cellular therapies, and most importantly the emerging field of stem cell (SC) therapy, is one of the most promising areas of biomedical research. SC therapy is so exciting and lucrative that in addition to getting attention in mainstream media, biomedical research companies are taking note of the revolutionary regenerative possibilities that SC therapy offers.

120 $ billion

Estimate of Global Stem Cell Market in 2018

30 %

Cell biology contribution in therapeutic revenues

As of 2011, the highest revenue contributor to the life-science tools industry is estimated to be the cell-biology sector, contributing 30% of total sales.1 The SC therapy tool market is growing in line with the cellular therapy market and was projected to reach over 2 billion in 2016.1 The global SC market as a whole (including all SC and related activities such as blood banking) is estimated to approach $120 billion in 2018, a marked increase from only $26 billion in 2011.2 What is it about SC therapy that is attracting so much attention?

This can be answered in a single word: Potential. Essentially, there are two kinds of SCs, separated by their differentiation potential. Multipotent SCs have the capability to differentiate into multiple specialized tissues which are present in a specific organ. Pluripotent SCs on the other hand, such as embryonic SCs, have the potential to differentiate into any cell type. Multipotent SCs can be derived from Neural Proginator Cells, Hematopoetic Stem Cells, Bone Marrow Monoculear Cells, and Mesenchymal Stem Cells; while Pluripotent SCs can be derived from various adult tissue sources, including skin, blood or liver.3

While easier to obtain and research, the limited differentiation capacity of adult SCs results in fewer options for their use. On the other hand, pluripotent embryonic SCs have the most medical potential, but are also marred by a higher potential for controversy since they are historically derived from a preimplantation embryo. One of the biggest advancements in SC therapy came in 2006 when two scientists at Kyoto University in Japan published a paper on their pioneering work with induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). iPSCs are mature cells derived from adults, which by programming them back to the pluripotent stage unlocks the potential for them to differentiate into any cell type. This discovery was so influential it won the Nobel Prize in 2012.

Probably the most well-known SC therapy is a bone marrow transplant. Bone marrow transplants help restore blood and platelet cells following doses of chemotherapy which destroy the bone marrow as a side effect. There are also additional therapies approved in Canada, the EU, and USA; most for the treatment of blood and immunological diseases. But it’s the future possibilities that are the main reason behind the great commercial interest of SCs. Research in tissue regeneration, reversal of disease and targeted cell therapy are currently undergoing for potential applications in in brain and spinal cord injuries, wound healing, infertility, pancreatic beta cell regeneration, immunological diseases such as HIV/AIDS, and much more.

With the immense scientific and financial potential for SCs, it is clear why so many biotech companies are fighting for space within this sector. This is amazing from a patient perspective, since this competition will push companies to work day and night to get their product through trials and regulations to get marketed as soon as possible. From a company perspective, however, this can be daunting since it increases the pace any given company must move in order to make sure their product or idea is the one that gets the patent or license first. Knowing how your own company’s product or therapy works is simple, the difficulty lies in your ability to convey your ideas to others – be it investors, another company you’d like to collaborate with, or even to attract future employees as you expand and need to acquire the top talent available. The best way to convey the potential of your product or idea is through a 3D animation or video. One that is created by scientists who actually understand your product and can help ensure that the essential and unique aspects of your idea are highlighted and leave a long-lasting impression on the viewer.  Luckily, that is what we do here at Alpha Tauri 3D Graphics.

Please contact Alpha Tauri 3D Graphics to find out how we can help you!

  1. Vertes, Alain A., Nasib Qureshi, Arnold I. Caplan, and Lee Edward Babiss. Stem Cells in Regenerative Medicine: Science, Regulation and Business Strategies. Oxford, UK: Wiley Blackwell, 2015. Print.
  2. Transparency of market research (2013) Stem Cells Market (Adult, Human Embryonic, Induced Pluripotent, Rat-Neural, Umbilical Cord, Cell Production, Cell Acquisition, Expansion, Sub-Culture) – Global INdustry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth. Trends and Forecast, 2012-2018. Market Research Report, July 24th.
  3. Takahashi K, Yamanaka S: Induction of pluripotent stem cells from mouse embryonic and adult fibroblast cultures by defined factors. Cell 126(4):663-676, 2006.