Development of a commercial protocol to differentiate human pluripotent stem cells into skeletal muscle progenitor cells (hPSC-SMPCs) with transplantation potential

Recent scientific breakthroughs have led to the development of methods to differentiate human PSCs (hPSCs) into skeletal muscle cells. This has allowed, for the first time, the development of cellular models to study muscle diseases such as Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and the possibility to utilize these cells for cell therapy applications. However, the reliability, efficiency and prober characterization of cells produced from these differentiation protocols remains a roadblock for their routine utilization by the research community. In this proposal we aim to develop a commercial kit to differentiate hPSCs into skeletal muscle progenitor cells (hPSC-SMPCs) with reproducibility between cell lines with various genetic backgrounds. Building on an existing partnership between STEMCELL Technologies and the Rossi Lab (UBC) this project will perform extensive phenotypic and functional characterisation of hPSC-SMPCs required to validate if these cells represent a therapeutically relevant cell type. We anticipate advancement of this technology will enable researchers to overcome previous roadblocks and facilitate the robust and consistent generation of large numbers of skeletal muscle cells. This new tool will allow researchers to study human skeletal muscle development, model muscle diseases, screen cells for drug discover and investigate the regenerative potential of hPSC-SMPCs in preclinical cell therapy applications.

Nasim Kajabadi
Faculty Supervisor: 
Fabio Rossi
British Columbia
Partner University: