The Cell Therapy group is interested in two related applied-research fields: regenerative medicine and tumor therapy.  In the first case, the objective is the analysis of cell behavior in biomaterials used as scaffolds for tissue repair. In the second case, the objective is to develop antitumor therapies using stem cells as vehicles for the local delivery of therapeutic agents and the study of therapeutic-cell tumor interactions. Moreover, both, the procedures and models developed allow the analysis of tumor response to chemical and biological agents.

For these studies the group uses mainly mesenchymal stromal cells from adipose tissue. This special stem cell type is a very promising therapy agent, not only due to its elevated capacity for multi-lineage differentiation and tumor homing, but also for its abundance and easy generation from human adipose tissue.

The need to observe the behavior of cells in live animals has led to the development and use of bioluminescence imaging procedures, based in the modification of cells with luciferase-gene reporters.  Bioluminescence reporters allow the detection and monitoring of cells implanted in live animals, using high sensibility video cameras capable of lineal response, ranging six orders of magnitude. In this manner, in spite of the diffusion and absorption of photons by animal tissues, these instruments allow imaging the distribution and proliferation of small populations of bioluminescent cells implanted in live animals. The use of inducible tissue-specific promoters to regulate the expression of luciferase reporters, also allows the evaluation of their level of activity and therefore the analysis of changes in gene expression in vivo.  Moreover, due to the existence of luciferases that use non cross-reacting substrates, it is possible to monitor two cell populations en the same animal or the expression level of two different reporters in the same cell.

CHALLENGE COLLABORATION PROJECT: New treatment against glioblastoma multiforme based in non invasive gene therapy
Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness
Funding: 126.256€
Duration 2014-2017        P.I. Jerónimo Blanco