About the Center
With a focus on advanced and applied research into stem cell (SC) biology, the Center will develop processes for the large-scale production of SCs under good manufacturing practice conditions to enable their potential clinical use

The Center for Cell-Based Therapy (CTC) is composed of Brazilian investigators with renowned leadership in the area of cell therapy, along with a team of international collaborators.

The scientific project involves an ambitious multidisciplinary program aimed at studying the molecular, cellular, and biological features of normal and pathologic stem cells to critically evaluate their potential therapeutic use.

Studies will also be conducted on pluripotent stem cells – embryonic (ESCs) and induced (iPSCs) – and somatic (hematopoietic, mesenchymal, and endothelial) stem cells. The intent is to generate Brazilian ESC lineages to expand their use in preclinical protocols, as well as to investigate the mechanisms involved in pluripotency.

To model diseases, the CTC will generate iPSCs from patients with dyskeratosis congenita, Fanconi anemia, hemophilia A, and Parkinson’s disease in order to understand the mechanisms involved in the pathological maintenance of pluripotency. It will also investigate disease-specific molecular pathways and the process of cell differentiation in affected tissues.

Hematopoietic cells will be derived from ESCs and iPSCs, and cell lines will be established from both normal and leukemic SCs for studies on the mechanisms that control normal and neoplastic hematopoiesis. Transgenic animal models of acute promyelocytic leukemia will be produced for basic and preclinical studies.

The Center will study cancer SCs in order to understand the processes of epithelial-mesenchymal and endothelial-mesenchymal transition implicated in the development of metastases. These mechanisms will also be studied in the context of cell reprogramming and in SC generation.

Clinical assays will be conducted using allogeneic mesenchymal SCs in the treatment of insulin-dependent diabetes and severe aplastic anemia, the prevention of graft-versus-host disease in hematopoietic SC transplantation, and in haploidentical allogeneic hematopoietic SC transplantation. Finally, the Center will develop processes for the large-scale production of SCs under good manufacturing practice conditions to enable their potential clinical use.

The CTC project encompasses an advanced educational outreach program that fosters   interaction between (senior and junior) researchers, and middle and high school students and teachers. This program is focused on science education and is based on the school-teacher-student triad.

Teachers and students will be encouraged to engage in activities together based on scientific questions that produce results. They will also be encouraged to visit laboratories and become involved in objective scientific experiments under the guidance of our researchers through the Adopt a Scientist project, which introduces them to the scientific method.

The CTC’s Cellularium exhibit consists of an inflatable “planetarium” in which  students embark upon a voyage into the cell, presented through CTC-produced 3D animation. Additionally, the Center will recruit college journalism students for involvement in science seminars and courses to further their training in scientific journalism.

Finally, the CTC has a solid technology transfer project focused on improving public health. The project involves private sector interaction to generate new recombinant proteins for clinical purposes and develop new diagnostic tests for blood transfusion and hematologic diseases.

The Center will collaborate with other medical institutes to develop new laboratories for clinical cell processing. It will also work with government agencies responsible for health policies to expand and improve the National Health System (SUS).

(Photo: CTC)