A method for generating IPSCs from 1ml blood


Scientists at Queens have developed a fast, efficient and cost-effective method for creating iPSCs from very small amounts of patient blood.


Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are adult cells that have been genetically reprogrammed to an embryonic stem cell-like state by being forced to express genes and factors important for maintaining the essential properties of embryonic stem cells (ESCs). iPSCs are already proving to be useful tools for tissue and/or patient-specific drug development and modelling of diseases. In addition, there is a real prospect of using iPS-derived cells for therapy in the context of regenerative and transplantation medicine.


While iPS technology has enormous potential, the full value of producing unlimited numbers of iPS-derived patient-specific cells remains somewhat limited and several obstacles need to be overcome. For example, the most common method of delivering reprogramming factors into adult cells are viral vectors. This is a process which must be cautiously controlled and tested before being applied to useful treatment for humans. Research is currently ongoing to investigate non-viral delivery strategies, but while there has been significant progress, none of the methods developed so-far are fast or robustly efficient.


Our novel technology presents a new safer, faster, more efficient, cost-effective method for creating iPSCs from very small amounts of patient blood.


IP protection around the method is currently being sought and under future work the research team are targeting development of a highly robust and reproducible kit which can be commercialised as a simple kit to basic and clinical researchers in the academic and commercial sectors, worldwide. The kit will be used to provide a better alternative way to generate these cells for use in regenerative medicine and personalised healthcare around the world.


Commercial Opportunity

Generation of iPSCs is a large global marketing opportunity and its popularity is consistently growing.  Its importance and high profitability potential is highlighted in BCC Research market research reports (2014) according to which: “The global market for iPSCs was estimated to total $853 million in 2012, and close to $1.2 billion in 2013, averaging 40% growth.  The market of iPSCs is expected to reach $2.9 billion in 2018, an estimated compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 19.7% for the five-year period 2013 to 2018.” This trend is set to continue increasing and expanding and our novel technology is predicted to have an enormous impact on this.


Having developed and optimised our method, our next step is identifying a company that would be willing to support us in bringing this product to the market in the foreseeable future. 




The proposed kit and protocol will offer a reduction in the steps needed in the generation of iPSCs. It will enable safer, faster and more reproducible production of iPSCs and will make “disease-in-a-dish” a faster and highly efficient approach in any lab. The method uses only small amounts of patient blood, making the sample gathering minimally invasive.


The method is a significant advance over current methods which require painful skin biopsies or large blood samples. Furthermore, for many patients this is either unacceptable or clinically unadvisable such as diabetics who are slow to heal following a biopsy.











Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Alex Chacko
The Queen's University of Belfast
02890 973370
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