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Scientists at The New York Stem Cell Foundation (NYSCF) Research Institute successfully designed a revolutionary, high-throughput, robotic platform that automates and standardizes the process of transforming patient samples into stem cells. This unique platform, the NYSCF Global Stem Cell ArrayTM, for the first time gives researchers the scale to look at diverse populations to better understand the underlying causes of disease and create new individually tailored treatments, enabling precision medicine in patient care.

A paper published in Nature Methods demonstrates how this novel, highly efficient technology automates the entire process of generating patient-specific stem cells while reducing variability resulting from manual manipulations. The system takes patient samples and turns them into cells that have the ability to become any other cell type in the body, induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. The Array can then turn these iPS cells into adult cell types in the body such as heart cells, neurons, and liver cells. NYSCF scientists built the Array to be highly modular enabling customized cell production to best approach unaddressed research questions.

“Our goal is to understand and treat diseases. This is not an artisanal pursuit. Researchers need to look at genetically diverse populations at scale, which means creating large numbers of standardized, human pluripotent stem cells. The NYSCF Global Stem Cell Array’s massive parallel processing capabilities make this research possible,” said NYSCF Research Institute CEO and Founder Susan L. Solomon, an author of the paper.

The Array will allow researchers to anticipate how people from genetically diverse backgrounds respond to new drugs — conducting ‘clinical trials in a dish.’ This pioneering technology will allow researchers to identify potential drug metabolism and toxicity issues in human cells, rather than in animals, in advance of bringing drugs to patients. Ms. Solomon explained, “This has the potential to save billions of dollars in drug development and limit the dangers to people participating in those clinical trials; dramatically reducing the amount of time currently spent on human clinical trials.”

“The capacity to test drugs on thousands of patients in a dish will change how we cure disease. We will be more informed about how drug candidates will behave in patients before the clinical trial phase accelerating the discovery process. This technology will enable us to bring precision medicine treatments and personalized pharmaceuticals to more patients,” noted Dr. Thomas Singer, Senior Vice President, F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd, Pharmaceuticals Division.

The NYSCF Global Stem Cell ArrayTM pushes biological research into the future, meeting the demands required to perform population-wide studies while enhancing experimental and statistical power.

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