2024 predictions: Experts weigh in on stem cells  

DDW’s Megan Thomas speaks to experts from the drug discovery industry about their predictions on the future of stem cells in drug discovery.  

Melissa Little, CEO of the Novo Nordisk Foundation Centre for Stem Cell Medicine 

“In the stem cell space, 2023 has seen significant increases in the delivery of pluripotent stem cell-derived cell types into first-in-human clinical trials. With clinical trials in North America and Europe for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease via the injection of dopaminergic neurons, the first patient data from Vertex on the delivery of beta-islet cells and continued progress in the eye, we can expect to see this grow in 2024. Gene therapy will move to ex vivo gene modification and the delivery of gene-modified cell types. What will follow is the generation of gene-edited pluripotent stem cells aimed at addressing rejection, selecting against tumour formation or protecting the transplanted cells from patient-induced injury.” 

Priya Baraniak, Chief Business Officer, OrganaBio 

“2024 should hopefully bring more Fast Track Designations from the FDA for stem cell-based therapies. Aspen Neuroscience’s first multicentre trial for autologous iPSC therapy in the US should open doors for more iPSC and other stem cell therapies to accelerate into the clinical realm. In addition, I believe we will see more exosome-based therapies enter the clinic in 2024. AI and ML will continue to drastically reduce timelines and increase success rates in the stem cell arena in 2024 and beyond, and there are several exciting, nascent companies in this space, including CellVoyant.” 

Matthieu de Kalbermatten, CEO, CellProthera  

“The research environment around the development of therapeutic solutions using stem cells is very dynamic and we will certainly see a substantial number of R&D projects translating into early clinical studies next year. In this context, therapies based on cell-derived exosomes or Induced Pluripotent stem cells have received a lot of attention recently but seem still a few years away from commercialisation. 

“Stem cell transplants, autologous or allogeneic, are closer to market. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) for example, are now approved for their immunomodulatory properties that can act against chronic or autoimmune disorders and relative indications will emerge soon.   

“CD34+ stem cells meanwhile stand out to be very potent in the treatment of ischemic diseases thanks to their proangiogenic properties. The results of on-going late-stage clinical trials may come next year and pave the way for the commercialisation of long-awaited regenerative therapies capable of tissue repair.” 

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