NEW ALBANY, Ind. - Indiana-based engineering and life sciences companies have contracted with researchers at the University of Pittsburgh to adapt a technology that holds promise to help soldiers regrow tissue and recover from severe wounds.
IKOTECH LLC and Techshot Inc., based in the Purdue Research Park of Southeast Indiana, are working to develop equipment called Quadrasep™ that improves the collection of stem cells from adult adipose, or fat, tissue. The U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command selected the companies for a $730,000 contract to develop the technology.
"Fat contains 10 times more stem cells than bone marrow," said Rich Boling, vice president of corporate advancement at Techshot. "When they are transplanted, stem cells have the potential to dramatically improve the outcomes of patients with significant tissue loss, such as soldiers who suffer severe wounds."
Boling explained that a mixture containing stem cells and other types of cells can be purified from human fat. The stem cells in the mixture can form many structures in the human body, including cartilage, nerves, muscle and bone. During clinical trials, these stem cells have been used in plastic reconstructive surgery and the restoration of heart tissue after a heart attack.
Quadrasep will allow users to isolate specific subsets of stem cells in collected adipose tissue samples. Improved selectivity in stem cells will improve the outcomes for patients because existing methods are limited in their ability to purify cells.
"The process to harvest pure stem cells from adipose is done manually, and it is very time-consuming. A better purification method for isolating specific cells from fat has the potential to unleash a number of new cell therapies," said David Kennedy, president of IKOTECH. "We are excited to adapt the Quadrasep technology for this application in order to provide a more optimal cell transplant product."
IKOTECH will oversee adaptation and commercialization of the Quadrasep technology for this new application. Techshot will design and build the new equipment, which will be tested by researchers in the Adipose Stem Cell Center at the University of Pittsburgh's McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine. University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine's chief of the division of plastic and reconstructive surgery Dr. Peter Rubin and associate professor Kacey Marra, co-directors of the Adipose Stem Cell Center, will evaluate the technology for adipose-derived stem cell production.
Kennedy said Quadrasep has the potential to be used for both military and civilian applications.
"The initial application for this technology is to help soldiers who have suffered trauma and wounds. We are proud to help the men and women who serve our country every day," he said. "The technology developed in this project will also lead to new treatments for conditions and diseases that will improve the quality of life for people around the world."
IKOTECH CEO, David Kennedy, spoke to the class from Leadership Southern Indiana meeting Wednesday on the topic of the economy and commercial enterprise. "Sharing our experiences as a growing business is a great way to inform and inspire others in the community. I'm always thrilled to talk about our company's future, how we're planning to get there, and what that means for our local community and the State of Indiana as a whole," Kennedy remarked.
Leadership Southern Indiana (LSI) is a community-based leadership program that offers opportunities for residents to learn more about their community, meet its people and leaders, identify ways to improve the community’s services and effectiveness, and hone the skills that equip each of us to make those improvements happen.
To better support our customers, IKOTECH has launched a new dynamic web site that offers a number of improvements. For more details on these improvements, read the full article.
IKOTECH is pleased to announce that the INnovation Angels, a new investment group from southern Indiana and northern Kentucky, has chosen IKOTECH as their first investment. “Angel investment is critical to the success of new, high-growth businesses,” said David Kennedy, president of IKOTECH. “We’re excited to accept this investment as part of our ongoing series A fund raise as we continue to grow our business in southern Indiana.”