September 2013

Moving Forward with a Gene Therapy for Damaged Hearts

A cocktail of three specific genes can reprogram cells in the scars caused by heart attacks into functioning muscle cells. Adding a gene that stimulates the growth of blood vessels enhances that effect, say researchers from Weill Cornell Medical College, Baylor College of Medicine, and Stony Brook University Medical Center in a report that appears online in the Journal of the American Heart Association (1). “The idea of reprogramming scar tissue in the heart into functioning heart muscle was exciting,”…

Standards for Ancillary Materials Used in Cell- and Tissue-Based Therapies

Cell- and tissue-based therapies are being used increasingly to treat many diseases for which currently no other adequate treatment options are available. These products contain human or animal cells that can replace, regenerate, or augment a recipient’s diseased, dysfunctional, or injured cells, tissues, or organs. Cells or tissues might be unmanipulated, or their biological characteristics can be altered ex vivo before administration of the final product to patients. Examples of cell therapies range from traditional blood transfusions to recent approaches…

Enlightening Results

Separating spectroscopy from spectrometry is not as straightforward as it might seem. Spectroscopy is the science of the interactions between matter and radiated energy, and spectrometry is the technology that applies that science (1). The former generates no results on its own. It is concerned with spectra produced when matter interacts with or emits electromagnetic radiation, including all methods of producing and analyzing light spectra using spectroscopes, spectrographs, spectrometers, and spectrophotometers. The distinction should come from the meanings of the…

Protein A

The number of blockbuster monoclonal antibody (MAb) drugs continues to grow. In 2008, MAbs generated revenues in excess of US$15 billion (1), making them the highest-earning category of all biotherapeutics. The world MAb market will reach $62.3 billion in 2015, with next-generation therapeutic antibody revenues reaching $2.3 billion in 2015 according to Visiongain reports published in September and November 2011 (2, 3). Biosimilar antibodies will also begin to enter established markets as regulatory authorities clear approval pathways for them. Most…

NIR Spectroscopy for Process Monitoring and Control in Mammalian Cell Cultivation

The quality by design (QbD) and process analytical technology (PAT) approaches have shown significant benefit in the classical pharmaceutical industry and are now strongly influencing bioprocessing. Monitoring critical process parameters (CPPs) during biotechnological cell cultivations is essential to maintaining high efficiencies and quality. Commercial sensor systems for real-time inline monitoring are available for some parameters, such as pH or the concentration of dissolved oxygen (DO). For others such as glucose concentration, total cell count (TCC), and viability no robust online…

Enhanced 2-D Electrophoresis and Western Blotting Workflow for Reliable Evaluations of Anti-HCP Antibodies

Biologic drugs are subject to unique regulatory and technical requirements because of their origin and expression in genetically engineered host cells, as well as their underlying physicochemical properties and elaborate purification processes. One such requirement is the accurate monitoring and effective removal of process-derived impurities such as host-cell proteins (HCPs) and DNA/RNA, viruses, cell culture media, chromatographic leachates, and so on (1). Of those impurities, HCPs are perhaps the most challenging to accurately monitor. Each expression system’s proteome consists of…

Upstream Chemistry Analysis in Cell-Based Process Development

Cell line selection is important to any pharmaceutical company’s development pathway for biological compounds (1). In cell-line selection laboratories, many different, slightly variable cell lines are tested in parallel for desired characteristics. Candidate cell lines are chosen for further development on the basis of their performance in basic tests of critical quality attributes (CQAs). Historically, such cell lines were selected in large-volume containers because it was necessary to have sufficient volume in culture to allow repeated sampling without damaging the…

Automation of Microbioreactors

Current methodologies in genetics and microbiology enable researchers to influence metabolic pathways of microbial cells in many directions. Beside the academic interest in investigating fundamental functions in metabolic pathways, commercial production of valuable compounds by microbial hosts is state of the art. For example, such products include enzymes (lipases, proteases, phytases), therapeutic agents (insulin, antibodies), bulk chemicals (lysine, glutamate, citric acid), or the microbial cells themselves (used in brewing or milk processing), with therapeutic agents probably the fastest growing market.…