Concept: Stroma of ovary
Mesenchymal Stromal Cells (MSC), as advanced therapy products, must satisfy all the requirements for human use of medicinal products, aiming to maintain the quality and safety of the cells. The MSC manufacturing process for clinical use should comply with the principles of Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP). This ensures that cell preparations are produced and controlled, from the collection and manipulation of raw materials, through the processing of intermediate products, to the quality controls, storage, labelling and packaging, and release. The objective of this document is to provide the minimal quality requirements for the MSC production and its delivery for clinical use, so the safety of the final cell therapy product will not be compromised. For this purpose, the document evaluates the most important steps of GMP-compliant MSC production: the isolation and expansion process; the validation phase of the process, including all quality controls for the characterization, functionality, potency and safety of MSCs; the quality control at the batch release to guarantee the safety of patient infusion. This opinion paper reflects the consensus viewpoint of the authors and scientists participating the GISM Working Group*. * GISM Working Group includes the following individual investigators: Biagi E, Del Bue M, Frigerio S, Lisini D, Marazzi M, Mareschi K, Nava S, Parolini O, Riccobon A, Romagnoli L, Viganò M.
: Age-related osteoporosis is driven by defects in the tissue-resident mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs), a heterogeneous population of musculoskeletal progenitors that includes skeletal stem cells (SSCs). MSC decline leads to reduced bone formation, causing loss of bone volume and the breakdown of bony microarchitecture crucial to trabecular strength. Furthermore, the low-turnover state precipitated by MSC loss leads to low-quality bone that is unable to perform remodeling-mediated maintenance-replacing old damaged bone with new healthy tissue. Using minimally expanded exogenous MSCs injected systemically into a mouse model of human age-related osteoporosis, we show long-term engraftment and markedly increased bone formation. This led to improved bone quality and turnover and, importantly, sustained microarchitectural competence. These data establish proof of concept that MSC transplantation may be used to prevent or treat human age-related osteoporosis.
Emerging studies have begun to demonstrate that reprogrammed stromal cells play pivotal roles in tumor growth, metastasis, and resistance to therapy. However, the contribution of stromal cells to non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) has remained underexplored. We used an orthotopic model of Kras-driven NSCLC to systematically dissect the contribution of specific hematopoietic stromal cells in lung cancer. RNA deep-sequencing analysis of individually sorted myeloid lineage and tumor epithelial cells revealed cell-type-specific differentially regulated genes, indicative of activated stroma. We developed a computational model for crosstalk signaling discovery based on ligand-receptor interactions and downstream signaling networks and identified known and novel tumor-stroma paracrine and tumor autocrine crosstalk-signaling pathways in NSCLC. We provide cellular and molecular insights into components of the lung cancer microenvironment that contribute to carcinogenesis. This study has the potential for development of therapeutic strategies that target tumor-stroma interactions and may complement conventional anti-cancer treatments.
Therapeutic antibodies that block the programmed death-1 (PD-1)-programmed death-ligand 1 (PD-L1) pathway can induce robust and durable responses in patients with various cancers, including metastatic urothelial cancer. However, these responses only occur in a subset of patients. Elucidating the determinants of response and resistance is key to improving outcomes and developing new treatment strategies. Here we examined tumours from a large cohort of patients with metastatic urothelial cancer who were treated with an anti-PD-L1 agent (atezolizumab) and identified major determinants of clinical outcome. Response to treatment was associated with CD8+T-effector cell phenotype and, to an even greater extent, high neoantigen or tumour mutation burden. Lack of response was associated with a signature of transforming growth factor β (TGFβ) signalling in fibroblasts. This occurred particularly in patients with tumours, which showed exclusion of CD8+T cells from the tumour parenchyma that were instead found in the fibroblast- and collagen-rich peritumoural stroma; a common phenotype among patients with metastatic urothelial cancer. Using a mouse model that recapitulates this immune-excluded phenotype, we found that therapeutic co-administration of TGFβ-blocking and anti-PD-L1 antibodies reduced TGFβ signalling in stromal cells, facilitated T-cell penetration into the centre of tumours, and provoked vigorous anti-tumour immunity and tumour regression. Integration of these three independent biological features provides the best basis for understanding patient outcome in this setting and suggests that TGFβ shapes the tumour microenvironment to restrain anti-tumour immunity by restricting T-cell infiltration.
Under normal physiological conditions, tissue remodeling in response to injury leads to tissue regeneration without permanent damage. However, if homeostasis between synthesis and degradation of extracellular matrix (ECM) components is altered, fibrosis - or the excess accumulation of ECM - can disrupt tissue architecture and function. Several organs, including the heart, lung and kidney, exhibit age-associated fibrosis. Here we investigated whether fibrosis underlies aging in the ovary - an organ that ages chronologically before other organs. We used Picrosirius Red (PSR), a connective tissue stain specific for collagen I and III fibers, to evaluate ovarian fibrosis. Using bright-field, epifluorescence, confocal and polarized light microscopy, we validated the specific staining of highly ordered PSR-stained fibers in the ovary. We next examined ovarian PSR staining in two mouse strains (CD1 and CB6F1) across an aging continuum and found that PSR staining was minimal in ovaries from reproductively young adult animals, increased in distinct foci in animals of mid-to-advanced reproductive age, and was prominent throughout the stroma of the oldest animals. Consistent with fibrosis, there was a reproductive age-associated increase in ovarian hydroxyproline content. We also observed a unique population of multinucleated macrophage giant cells, which are associated with chronic inflammation, within the ovarian stroma exclusively in reproductively old mice. In fact, several genes central to inflammation had significantly higher levels of expression in ovaries from reproductively old mice relative to young mice. These results establish fibrosis as an early hallmark of the aging ovarian stroma, and this altered microenvironment may contribute to the age-associated decline in gamete quality.
Mesenchymal stromal cell (MSC) infusion could be a mean to establish tolerance in solid organ recipients. The aim of this prospective, controlled, phase-1 study was to evaluate the feasibility, safety and tolerability of a single infusion of MSCs in liver transplant recipients.
Scleroderma is a group of skin-fibrosing diseases for which there are no effective treatments. A feature of the skin fibrosis typical of scleroderma is atrophy of the dermal white adipose tissue (DWAT). Adipose tissue contains adipose-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (ADSCs) that have regenerative and reparative functions; however, whether DWAT atrophy in fibrosis is accompanied by ADSC loss is poorly understood, as are the mechanisms that might maintain ADSC survival in fibrotic skin. Here, we have shown that DWAT ADSC numbers were reduced, likely because of cell death, in 2 murine models of scleroderma skin fibrosis. The remaining ADSCs showed a partial dependence on dendritic cells (DCs) for survival. Lymphotoxin β (LTβ) expression in DCs maintained ADSC survival in fibrotic skin by activating an LTβ receptor/β1 integrin (LTβR/β1 integrin) pathway on ADSCs. Stimulation of LTβR augmented the engraftment of therapeutically injected ADSCs, which was associated with reductions in skin fibrosis and improved skin function. These findings provide insight into the effects of skin fibrosis on DWAT ADSCs, identify a DC-ADSC survival axis in fibrotic skin, and suggest an approach for improving mesenchymal stromal cell therapy in scleroderma and other diseases.
Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) are promising therapeutic candidates given their potent immunomodulatory and anti-inflammatory secretome. However, controlling the MSC secretome post-transplantation is considered a major challenge that hinders their clinical efficacy. To address this, we used a microparticle-based engineering approach to non-genetically modulate pro-inflammatory pathways in human MSCs (hMSCs) under simulated inflammatory conditions. Here we show that microparticles loaded with TPCA-1, a small-molecule NF-κB inhibitor, when delivered to hMSCs can attenuate secretion of pro-inflammatory factors for at least 6 days in vitro. Conditioned medium (CM) derived from TPCA-1-loaded hMSCs also showed reduced ability to attract human monocytes and prevented differentiation of human cardiac fibroblasts to myofibroblasts, compared with CM from untreated or TPCA-1-preconditioned hMSCs. Thus, we provide a broadly applicable bioengineering solution to facilitate intracellular sustained release of agents that modulate signaling. We propose that this approach could be harnessed to improve control over MSC secretome post-transplantation, especially to prevent adverse remodeling post-myocardial infarction.
Germline mutations in the gene encoding tumor suppressor kinase LKB1 lead to gastrointestinal tumorigenesis in Peutz-Jeghers syndrome (PJS) patients and mouse models; however, the cell types and signaling pathways underlying tumor formation are unknown. Here, we demonstrated that mesenchymal progenitor- or stromal fibroblast-specific deletion of Lkb1 results in fully penetrant polyposis in mice. Lineage tracing and immunohistochemical analyses revealed clonal expansion of Lkb1-deficient myofibroblast-like cell foci in the tumor stroma. Loss of Lkb1 in stromal cells was associated with induction of an inflammatory program including IL-11 production and activation of the JAK/STAT3 pathway in tumor epithelia concomitant with proliferation. Importantly, treatment of LKB1-defcient mice with the JAK1/2 inhibitor ruxolitinib dramatically decreased polyposis. These data indicate that IL-11-mediated induction of JAK/STAT3 is critical in gastrointestinal tumorigenesis following Lkb1 mutations and suggest that targeting this pathway has therapeutic potential in Peutz-Jeghers syndrome.
To this day, the concept of continuous bioprocessing has been applied mostly to the manufacture of molecular biologics such as proteins, growth factors, and secondary metabolites with biopharmaceutical uses. The present work now sets to explore the potential application of continuous bioprocess methods to source large numbers of human adherent cells with potential therapeutic value. To this purpose, we developed a smart multifunctional surface coating capable of controlling the attachment, proliferation, and subsequent self-detachment of human corneal stromal cells. This system allowed the maintenance of cell cultures under steady-state growth conditions, where self-detaching cells were continuously replenished by the proliferation of those remaining attached. This facilitated a closed, continuous bioprocessing platform with recovery of approximately 1% of the total adherent cells per hour, a yield rate that was maintained for 1 month. Moreover, both attached and self-detached cells were shown to retain their original phenotype. Together, these results represent the proof-of-concept for a new high-throughput, high-standard, and low-cost biomanufacturing strategy with multiple potentials and important downstream applications.