Automating iPSC generation to enable autologous photoreceptor cell replacement therapy

J Transl Med. 2023 Feb 28;21(1):161. doi: 10.1186/s12967-023-03966-2.


Background: Inherited retinal degeneration is a leading cause of incurable vision loss in the developed world. While autologous iPSC mediated photoreceptor cell replacement is theoretically possible, the lack of commercially available technologies designed to enable high throughput parallel production of patient specific therapeutics has hindered clinical translation.

Methods: In this study, we describe the use of the Cell X precision robotic cell culture platform to enable parallel production of clinical grade patient specific iPSCs. The Cell X is housed within an ISO Class 5 cGMP compliant closed aseptic isolator (Biospherix XVivo X2), where all procedures from fibroblast culture to iPSC generation, clonal expansion and retinal differentiation were performed.

Results: Patient iPSCs generated using the Cell X platform were determined to be pluripotent via score card analysis and genetically stable via karyotyping. As determined via immunostaining and confocal microscopy, iPSCs generated using the Cell X platform gave rise to retinal organoids that were indistinguishable from organoids derived from manually generated iPSCs. In addition, at 120 days post-differentiation, single-cell RNA sequencing analysis revealed that cells generated using the Cell X platform were comparable to those generated under manual conditions in a separate laboratory.

Conclusion: We have successfully developed a robotic iPSC generation platform and standard operating procedures for production of high-quality photoreceptor precursor cells that are compatible with current good manufacturing practices. This system will enable clinical grade production of iPSCs for autologous retinal cell replacement.

Keywords: Automation; Cell manufacturing; Cell therapy; Induced pluripotent stem cells; RNA sequencing; Retinal differentiation; Robotic cell culture.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Cell Culture Techniques
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Humans
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells*
  • Photoreceptor Cells
  • Retina