Gates Institute is an international pioneer in launching multi-dimensional research projects using iPSCs. These initiatives were made possible by a discovery described in a paper published in Nature Communications in February 2018, authored by Ganna Bilousova, PhD, assistant professor of dermatology, Igor Kogut, PhD, assistant professor of dermatology, and Gates Center Associate Director Dennis Roop, PhD. This team reported the development of a clinically safe approach that consistently reprograms healthy and disease-associated patient skin cells into iPSCs with unprecedented efficiency, as high as 90%. The high efficiency of this reprogramming technology allowed this team to make another major breakthrough in generating genetically corrected iPSCs using a safer and more-straightforward approach that combines gene editing and reprogramming of a patient’s fibroblasts into a one-step procedure.
A new core facility, the Stem Cell Biobank and Disease Modeling Core Facility, which is co-directed by Drs. Bilousova and Kogut, was established at Gates Institute to facilitate making this technology available to others. The core offers complete services related to the production of high-quality human iPSCs from patient-derived somatic cells at one-third the cost charged by others, as well as gene editing services. Currently, the core is providing services to 12 groups on the Anschutz Medical Campus and three groups on the CU Boulder campus. This core is also providing iPSC services for the new Stem Cell Research and Technology Resource Center established by Dr. Lee Niswander on the Boulder campus. In addition to serving researchers on CU campuses, the core is producing cell lines for research teams at Stanford University, Columbia University, the Mayo Clinic, and the University Paris Descartes in France. The core’s advancement of a more-efficient combined gene editing and cell reprogramming approach raises hopes for future clinical trials and potential cures for critical illnesses, fulfilling Gates Institute’s mission of advancing bench science toward approved treatments.