STACIF (Stromal Cell Therapy Against Covid Induced Fibrosis)
STACIF aims to develop a therapy for covid-induced fibrosis using bioactive factors produced by stem cell-derived mesenchymal stromal cells.
We have developed a patented technology to produce Mesenchymal Stromal Cell (MSC)-like cells from pluripotent stem cells (PSC). As PSC can be expanded almost indefinitely, we are able to produce almost unlimited quantities of clinically identical MSC using our process.
In this project, we will investigate the capacity of our MSC to tackle fibrosis and the possibility that this can be achieved by the bioactive factors secreted by the cells. Our ambition is to develop a therapy which does not require MSC to be transplanted into a patient, but only the bioactive factors these cells produce.
During the project we will perform preclinical research characterising the molecular composition and the immune cell modulating potency of PSC-MSC-derived secretions, specifically modulation of blood monocyte derived macrophages to anti-inflammatory subtypes involved in attenuating chronic inflammation and tissue fibrosis (scarring) that can arise from aberrant tissue repair.
We will be advised by clinicians as to how the healthcare burden of post-Covid therapy is developing and will refine our therapy development strategy as this need becomes more clear. By starting this research now, we aim to have a scalable therapy available as the need arises.
STACIF is led by Dr Paul de Sousa (Honorary Reader, Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences), with Prof David Dockrell (Centre for Inflammation Research) and Dr Tom Wishart (Roslin Institute).
STACIF is funded by Innovate UK.