Materials presenting Notch signaling molecules to control cell behavior
The present invention addresses this problem by immobilizing the Notch ligands to a 3D polymeric substance, producing a system that is competent for activating Notch signaling. Specifically, this invention can be used to develop cell delivery vehicles for the transplantation of either terminally differentiated or progenitor cells into patients. Stem cells are seeded inside the cell delivery vehicle where they are in contact with the Notch ligand. Initiation of Notch signaling leads to cell proliferation, migration, and/or differentiation of the stem cells that subsequently leave the delivery vehicle as they populate specific tissues of the body.
Notch signaling is a crucial determinant governing whether stem cells undergo self-renewal or terminal differentiation. Therefore, it has a wide-spread role in shaping tissues and organs by regulating stem cell behavior in numerous types of cell lineages like: the lymphoid, intestinal, neural, pancreatic, hematopoietic (blood), and myogenic (skeletal muscle) lineages. It has also been proposed to enhance and/or direct the generation of particular, therapeutically relevant tissue precursor cells. The ability to modulate Notch signaling by the introduction of Notch-activating ligands, would have significant impact on the development of stem cell therapies. However, recent studies have illustrated that soluble Notch ligands are incapable of activating Notch signaling, highlighting a major obstacle to commercializing Notch ligands for therapeutic or research purposes.
Innovations and Advantages
This technology has direct application to stem cell therapy, regenerative medicine, and tissue engineering in vivo (in the patient) and in vitro (in tissue culture dish).
-In vitro stem cell manipulation- Using this method of introducing Notch signaling will allow for directed differentiation of stem cells into therapeutically-relevant cell lineages in a tightly controlled process.
-Drug Screening and Tissue Modeling- targeting the Notch pathway
Intellectual Property Status: Patent(s) pending
A provisional patent application for this technology has been filed. This technology is available for worldwide, exclusive licensing and/or a collaborative research program with the Mooney lab.
Mooney, David J.
For further information, please contact:
Laura Brass, Director of Business Development
Reference Harvard Case #3786