Mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) isolated from the Wharton jelly of the umbilical cord (UC-MSC) show great potential for the use in allogeneic stem cell therapies for various human diseases. However, the major limitation for the clinical use of allogeneic UC-MSC is their procoagulation activity, which is a consequence of expression of the tissue factor (TF), that can cause thromboembolism after transplantation, thus limiting their clinical usefulness. Preparation of UC-MSC without the TF (UCMSC-TF-) would enable safe clinical use of UC-MSC and bring their full therapeutic potential for treatment of patients. For this reason, preparation of UCMSC-TF- is the central goal of the “APApore4RNA” project. In the project, UCMSC-TF- will be prepared by utilizing the small interfering RNA (siRNA) directed against TF to silence the expression of TF. The project will develop a novel nanotechnology for ex vivo intracellular delivery of siRNA that will combine the use of biodegradable calcium hydroxyapatite (APA) nanoparticles (NPs) (fellow’s experience) and electroporation (EP) (experience of the company EDUCELL) to enable efficient, safe and reproducible transfection of UC-MSC. The use of APA NPs will be based on the fellow’s recent study published in Biomaterials that revealed their unique membrane-disruptive property that enables rapid permeation of payloads across plasma membrane. Moreover, as APA has low dielectric constant, it is expected that APA NPs will strongly improve the EP process by reducing the applied electric field required for reversible membrane permeabilization and consequently improve the safety and efficacy of EP. In addition, important goal of the “APApore4RNA” project is to gain fundamental knowledge about underlying mechanisms of APA-mediated electropermeabilization of plasma membrane and payload permeation across the membrane.
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