Frequency Therapeutics—a Woburn, Mass-based company developing drugs that harness the regenerative potential of progenitor cells in the body—presented the company’s proprietary platform, Progenitor Cell Activation (PCA™) at the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) 2017 Annual MeetingFrequency announced. The presentation, “Small molecule activation of progenitor cells as a means of in situ tissue regeneration,” described a process that may provide a novel means of addressing cellular deficiencies or malfunctions in many diseases including hearing loss, dermatology, muscle, and gastrointestinal (GI) diseases. The presentation was conducted on June 16 by Chris Loose, PhD, co-founder and CSO of Frequency Therapeutics.

According to Frequency, scientists have worked for decades pushing targeted cells to regenerate. The applicability of tissue regeneration can be limited by the complexities of cell therapy, including cell delivery, gene expression, and functionality. Unlike previous approaches, which reportedly resulted in forced conversion of Lgr5+ cells into the desired cell type, Frequency’s PCA technology is said to use a precise and controlled application of small molecules to activate dormant progenitor cells within the body, causing them to divide and differentiate into their designated target cells. Frequency’s presentation highlighted the Company’s PCA Platform, initially targeting cochlear hair cell regeneration for noise-induced hearing loss as a viable approach to develop a whole new category of disease-modifying therapeutics for a wide range of degenerative conditions.

“Progenitor Cell Activation is a system where the local delivery of small molecules to dormant Lgr5+ progenitor cells could produce profound therapeutic opportunities across a vast number of disease areas that exhibit high, unmet medical needs,” said Loose. “We believe PCA technology could be used to modulate cells in situ to address a number of diseases with minimal safety risk. Our first indication in hearing loss has produced positive results in preclinical studies, and we look forward to presenting further information as we move our lead program ahead.”

“Our PCA platform presents a robust opportunity to address many debilitating issues, and expand to therapeutic areas where there are few or no options currently available,” added David Lucchino, president, co-founder and CEO of Frequency. “The body has an innate, but sometimes dormant ability to heal itself. Activating the body’s own resources could overcome biological barriers that still exist within the overall drug development space to address medical needs like hearing impairment, skin disorders, gastrointestinal diseases, and muscle regeneration.”

A team led by Frequency’s scientific co-founders published research highlighting the PCA approach to regenerate inner ear sensory hair cells in Cell Reports in early 2017.

Hearing Review has run articles related to Frequency’s research on small molecule regeneration of hair cells as well as its funding for new research.

Source: Frequency Therapeutics