Veiga Group

Pluripotent Stem Cell Therapy

The optimization of generation and differentiation methodologies in clinical grade conditions is essential to move forward to clinical application of pluripotent stem cell therapies

Human pluripotent stem cell (hPSC) derivatives provide a unique source of differentiated cells that can potentially repair lost cell function produced by degenerative diseases or by injury. We aim to optimize generation and differentiation protocols that will allow pluripotent stem cells to be used clinically.
Anna Veiga, PhD
Group Leader, Regenerative Medicine Program of IDIBELL
Group Leader of P-CMRC
Director of the Stem Cell Bank

Lab focus – Research projects

Clinical translation with hiPSC

Allogeneic hiPSC from homozygous UCB units for high prevalence haplotypes (IPS-PANIA)

In collaboration with Banc de Sang i Teixits. Dr. Sergi Querol (Retos-Colaboración) This project aims to optimise hiPSC generation towards clinical application, beyond autologous treatments by generating hiPSC from cord blood samples with frequent homozygous HLA haplotypes compatible with a significant percentage of the population. hiPSC generation is adapted to clinically safe conditions and this project allows the creation of an hiPSC collection for basic research and clinical trials for cell therapy.

Cell therapy approach with a combination of hiPSC-derived retinal pigment epithelium and photoreceptor progenitors in a swine model of geographic atrophy

In collaboration with Barcelona Macula Foundation. Dr. Jordi Monés The aim of this project is to carry out preclinical cell therapy with retinal epithelial cells (RPE) and photoreceptor progenitors (PR), both derived from hiPSC in a large animal model of geographic atrophy (GA) (mini-pig) to evaluate cell survival and integration in the damaged retina. Methodology optimisation and adaptation to clinically safe conditions will pave the way to first in man clinical trial in Age-related macular degeneration.

Germline genome editing for the study of human embryo development

Genome editing with CRISPR/Cas9 in human embryos for the study of early embryonic development

In collaboration with Dexeus Mujer. Dra. Montse Boada The project involves the adaptation and improvement of CRISPR/Cas9 technology as a genome editing tool in human zygotes donated for research and the use of such technique for the study of genes essential for human embryo development. Embryo morphology and development are analysed by time-lapse methodology to assess the specific role of certain genes in early human embryo development.

Why it matters

The potential of pluripotent stem cells for regenerative medicine is unique and promising. Stem cell research has opened up powerful opportunities for research and drug discovery but clinical application through pluripotent stem cell therapy requires homogenization and safety assessment. Standardisation of generation and differentiation protocols in clinical grade conditions as well as the use of highly compatible hiPSC is needed to envisage human clinical application.

Keywords

Embryonic stem cells, induced pluripotent stem cells, reprogramming, pluripotency, regenerative medicine, cell therapy, stem cell banking, GMP conditions, cord blood HLA homozygous haplotypes, age-related macular degeneration, retinal pigmented epithelium, photoreceptors progenitors, germline genome editing

Publications

Veiga A, Aran B, Raya A, Messinis I, Mahmood T. EBCOG Position Statement: Ethics of StemCell Research, European Journal of Obstetrics; Gynecology and Reproductive Biology 2020. In press.
Eguizabal C, Aran B, Chuva de Sousa Lopes S M, Geens M, Heindryckx B, Panula S, Popovic M, Vassena R, Veiga A. Two decades of embryonic stem cells: a historical overview Human Reproduction Open 2019, .1, hoy024.
Kurtz A, Seltmann S, Bairoch A, Bittner MS, Bruce K, Capes-Davis A, Clarke L, Crook JM, Daheron L, Dewender J, Faulconbridge A, Fujibuchi W, et al. A Standard Nomenclature forReferencing and Authentication of Pluripotent Stem Cells Stem Cell Reports 2018; 10 (1):1-6
Kuebler B, Aran B, Miquel-Serra L, Muñoz Y, Ars E, Bullich G, Furlano M, Torra R, Marti M, Veiga A, Raya A. Generation of integration-free induced pluripotent stem cell lines derivedfrom two patients with X-linked Alport syndrome (XLAS) Stem Cell Res 2017. 25: 291-295.
Paul A. De Sousa, Rachel Steeg, Elisabeth Wachter, Kevin Bruce, Jason King, Marieke Hoeve, Shalinee Khadun, George McConnachie, Julie Holder, et al. Rapid establishment of theEuropean Bank for induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (EBiSC) – the Hot Start experience. Stem Cell Res 2017. 20: 105-114

Seltmann S, Lekschas F, Müller R, Stachelscheid H, Bittner MS, Zhang W, Kidane L, Seriola A,
Veiga A, Stacey G, Kurtz A. hPSCreg-the human pluripotent stem cell registry. Nucleic Acids Res
2016. 44(D1):D757-63.

Current Members
Past Members
Current Members
Begoña Aran, PhD
Stem Cell Bank Coordinator
Bernd Kuebler, PhD
Responsible of the reprogramming and iPSC platform
Past Members
Ignasi Rodriguez-Pizà
Mª Vicenta Camarasa
Yolanda Muñoz
Rita Vassena
Alessandra Giorgetti
Cristina Eguizabal
Anna Seriola
Anna Duarri

Anna Veiga, PhD
Group Leader, Regenerative Medicine Program of IDIBELL
Group Leader of P-CMRC
Director of the Stem Cell Bank

aveiga@idibell.cat

Dr. Veiga obtained her PhD in Biological Sciences at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) in 1991. Since 2005, she is Director of the Stem Cell Bank of the CMRB., she is R&D+i Director of the Biology Area of the Reproductive Medicine of Dexeus Women Health, and Associate Professor of the Facultat de Ciències Experimental i de la Salut of the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) from 2002. She has participated as coordinator and partner in the European human Pluripotent stem cell registry, funded by the European Commission (2007-2010, 2013-2017). She is involved in research projects related to the clinical application of cell therapy with pluripotent stem cells in the field of retinal degeneration. She is also interested in legislation and bioethics in hPSC research. Dr Veiga has published more than 300 scientific articles in national and international journals, 73 book chapters and has 6566 citations with an h-index of 41. She has participated as an organiser and speaker at international scientific events related to clinical embryology, reproductive genetics, stem cells, cell therapy and bioethics. Dr Veiga is currently an editorial member of numerous international and national scientific journals. She is an honorary member of several scientific societies, including the Società Italiana Embryology Reproduzzione e Riccerca (SIERR) and ASEBIR.

Begoña Aran, PhD
Stem Cell Bank Coordinator
baran@idibell.cat

Dr. Aran obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences and her PhD in the Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona.

She worked at the in vitro fertilization laboratory of the Institut Universitari Dexeus from 1986 to 2007. She was the Stem Cell Bank Coordinator at the CMRB between 2007 and 2010. From 2010 to 2012 she was the responsible for the Project Support Unit at the Advanced Therapies of the Catalan Transplant Organization (OCATT). Afterwards, from 2012 to 2014, she was in charge of the department of R&D+i and the Biotechnology Unit at the Mesoestetic Pharma Group in Barcelona. In March 2015, she re-joined at the CMRB as Stem Cell Bank Coordinator.

Her activity is focused on the derivation, generation, culture, characterization and banking of human Pluripotent Stem Cell (hPSC) and their clinical translation.

Coordinator of projects related to hPSC registration and hPSC banking. She is also interested in legislation and bioethics in hPSC research.

She has published more than 60 scientific articles in national and international journals and 10 book chapters. She is professor in several masters related to her areas of interest.

Bernd Kuebler, PhD
Responsible of the reprogramming and iPSC platform
bkuebler@idibell.cat

Dr. Kuebler obtained his PhD 1999 in Cell Biology/Biochemistry at the Cell Biology and Biochemistry Department, University of Göttingen, Germany, working in the field of Insulin-like Growth Factors and their binding proteins. From 1999 till 2006 he worked as a postdoc at the Biochemistry Department of the Children’s Hospital, University of Hamburg, Germany, on purification, characterization and identification of IGFBP proteases. 2006 he moved to the Center for Genomic Regulation (CRG) in Barcelona, Spain, where he worked on transcriptional regulation of c-Myc bound to histone modifiers. In 2011 he moved to the CMRB where he works as a research associate on integrating and non-integrating reprogramming methods of human cells. From 2013 on he was person in charge of the Cell Culture Platform at the CMRB. 2015 he moved to the Stem Cell Bank at the CMRB. He has vast experience in cell culture, including derivation of human cells from tissues, reprogramming of human cells, culturing and expansion of embryonic stem cells and induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSC) and their characterization and banking. He has published more than 30 publications, with 840 citations and an h-index 16.