Cellular therapy involves transplanting human cells to replace or repair damaged tissues or cells. Thanks to evolving technologies, it’s now possible to use many different types of cells to treat a variety of diseases. As Canada Research Chair in Cellular Therapy Bioprocess Engineering, Dr. Corinne Hoesli is developing new bioprocesses and biomaterials for therapeutic cell transplantation to treat diseases.
She and her research team are scaling up the production of pancreatic pseudo-islets derived from stem cells and transplanting them into next-generation, vascularized encapsulation systems to treat type 1 diabetes. (Pseudo-islets are tiny 3D tissue cultures derived from stem cells that retain certain crucial physiological functions.) They hope to address some of the limitations of current approaches by providing rapid, long-lasting transplant access to nutrients (such as oxygen) while also protecting the graft from harmful immune factors. Ultimately, their work could reduce health-care costs by providing long-lasting treatments to degenerative diseases.