Stem cell differentiation
Pluripotent stem cells hold the potential to generate any cell type present in the body through sequential steps of specialization. Because of this potential, the very first steps of the differentiation process are critical to control in an efficient and homogeneous manner.
For stem cell differentiation, based on published scientific studies, ViaCyte scientists were the first to perform directed differentiation of human pluripotent stem cells into definitive endoderm, the gatekeeper cells that can further differentiate into pancreas, liver, and other cells, tissues, and organs.
By leveraging the studies of developmental biology, ViaCyte invented a reproducible, patented, multistep process for differentiating pluripotent stem cells into pancreatic endoderm cells (also known as pancreatic precursor cells; PEC-01 cells). The process mimics the natural development of the human pancreas. During each step, prescribed types and amounts of growth factors, growth media, and supplements direct pluripotent stem cells to progress along the differentiation pathway until they become PEC-01 cells. Once implanted under the skin of a patient, PEC-01 cells, which are contained within an implantation device, have been designed to mature into functional beta cells and other cells of the islet that control blood glucose levels.