The long and winding road of new therapies
Advances in production processes featured in Trends in Biotechnology
Life sciences are full of promises for clinical applications. But the road from lab to clinic is a long and winding one and a lot of research is necessary for promises to become reality. It is precisely in this area that the Animal Cell Technology Unit works, developing and perfecting processes for producing new therapeutic agents that go from vaccines to stem cells. Every angle of the process must be rigorously analysed before new drugs are actually produced so it is essential to bring together and compare results obtained by different research groups. In the last two issues of Trends in Biotechnology, researchers from the ITQB/IBET Animal Cell Technology Unit review promising strategies for improving production processes for two different applications.
In the first review article, researchers discuss the principles of large-scale production and storage of human pluripotent stem cells, which constitute an extremely attractive tool for cell therapy, now closer to clinical application. While there is no ideal process capable of embracing all applications, researchers highlight the importance of a multidisciplinary approach, including biology, engineering, physics, materials science, and mathematics, for the implementation of more universal cell production platforms that should potentiate the implementation of novel human pluripotent stem cells-based therapies.
The second article (for now only available online) focuses on how rational approaches have replaced trial and error experiments in animal cell culture for recombinant protein production. In particular, researchers highlight the application of systems biotechnology for optimizing manufacturing processes, a central concern of biopharmaceutical R&D. Within this framework, experimental data are integrated in metabolic models and prediction of bioprocess outcomes facilitates bioprocess optimization.
Original Article 1
Process engineering of human pluripotent stem cells for clinical application
Margarida Serra, Catarina Brito, Cláudia Correia, Paula M. Alves
Original Article 2
Systems biotechnology of animal cells: the road to prediction
Nuno Carinhas, Rui Oliveira, Paula Marques Alves, Manuel J.T. Carrondo, Ana P. Teixeira