The translational imperative: Making cell therapy simple and effective

Glenn D. Prestwich, Isaac E. Erickson, Thomas I. Zarembinski, Michael West, William P. Tew

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


The current practice of cell therapy, in which multipotent or terminally differentiated cells are injected into tissues or intravenously, is inefficient. Few therapeutic cells are retained at the site of administration and engraftment is low. An injectable and biologically appropriate vehicle for delivery, retention, growth and differentiation of therapeutic cells is needed to improve the efficacy of cell therapy. We focus on a hyaluronan-based semi-synthetic extracellular matrix (sECM), HyStem®, which is a manufacturable, approvable and affordable clinical product. The composition of this sECM can be customized for use with mesenchymal stem cells as well as cells derived from embryonic or induced pluripotent sources. In addition, it can support therapeutic uses of progenitor and mature cell populations obtained from skin, fat, liver, heart, muscle, bone, cartilage, nerves and other tissues. This overview presents four pre-clinical uses of HyStem® for cell therapy to repair injured vocal folds, improve post-myocardial infarct heart function, regenerate damaged liver tissue and restore brain function following ischemic stroke. Finally, we address the real-world limitations - manufacture, regulation, market acceptance and financing - surrounding cell therapy and the development of clinical combination products.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4200-4207
Number of pages8
JournalActa Biomaterialia
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Cell engraftment
  • Cell therapy
  • ECM
  • HyStem®
  • Hyaluronic acid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biomaterials
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Molecular Biology


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