CRMI is building “China Stem Cell Clinical Applications Centre” in the Hong Kong Science and Technology Park. The centre will comply with the highest standards set forth by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA). This state-of-the-art facility is set to be a world-class GMP centre specializing in stem cell clinical applications and gene therapy, as well as a regional supply centre of cellular products for related research and medical institutions.

The centre aims to bridge the long unresolved gap between basic research scientists and clinicians by providing various clinical-graded stem cells, including autologous stem cells, allogeneic stem cells, and genetically-modified stem cells. These stem cells are suitable for various clinical applications including immunotherapy, neural regeneration, cardiovascular regeneration, bone and connective tissue regeneration, ocular regeneration, and human organ regeneration.

Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy is the treatment of diseases, particularly for cancer-related diseases, by inducing, enhancing or suppressing immune response. It has the potential to be a highly targeted alternative for treating common cancers, with low toxicity to normal tissues but a high capacity to eradicate tumors. Immunotherapy uses active immunisation with cells, protein, peptides, or nucleic acids, as well as efforts that use adoptive transfer of effector cells that directly target antigens on malignant cells.

Neural regeneration

Treatment of neurological diseases including spinal cord injury or neurodegenerative diseases (e.g. Parkinson’s disease), remains a major challenge to contemporary medicine. Current treatment regimens only relieve disease symptoms or delayed the progression of diseases. Recent advancement on stem cell applications has shed light on neural disease treatments. Numerous clinical trials have revealed tremendous potential of stem cells on treating neurological diseases.

Cardiovascular regeneration

Heart failure remains one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Although heart tissue has the ability to regenerate throughout one’s life, the rate of regeneration is usually slow. Moreover, the rate of regeneration decreases as age increases. Stem cell transplantation has been recently explored for regenerating damaged heart tissue.

Bone and connective tissue regeneration

Severe damage to skeleton tissue including bone and connective tissue requires surgical interventions. Current research focuses on applying stem cells, either alone or with biomaterial scaffold, to the site of bone fracture or damaged area. The osteogenic property of stem cells is able to promote healing of bone and connective tissue.

Ocular regeneration

Retinal diseases, including age-related macular degenerative disease and Stargardt disease (the most common form of juvenile macular degeneration), are caused by gradual loss of retinal pigment epithelium. Currently, there is no effective treatment to prevent or reverse these diseases. In recent years, clinical trials have attempted the use of stem cell to regenerate retina tissue.

Human organ regeneration

Chronic damage to important organs including liver and pancreas can lead to development of liver cirrhosis and diabetes, respectively. Treatment of these diseases requires considerable time and effort and can severely affect patient’s quality of life. The application of stem cells to damaged organs has been demonstrated to be a promising approach to regenerate the organ tissue.