Matt Griffin is Professor of Transplant Biology in the Regenerative Medicine Institute at the National University of Ireland,Galway and a Consultant Nephrologist at Galway University Hospitals.
He qualified in Medicine from University College Cork, Irelandin 1988 and trained and worked in the University of Chicago and Mayo Clinic in the United States before joining NUI Galway in 2008.
His clinical and research interests relate to immunological aspects of acute and chronic kidney disease,transplantation and regenerative therapies.
Over the past 15 years he has received research grant funding from the European Commission, Science Foundation Ireland, the Health Research Board of Ireland, Enterprise Ireland; the NIH and the National Kidney Foundation of the United States as well as pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.
Mesenchymal stem (stromal) cells (MSCs) are a specialised fibroblastic cell population which can be isolated and cultivated from bone marrow and a variety of other tissues including fat, umbilical cord and placenta. Culture-expanded MSCs may be differentiated into cells of mesenchymal lineage such as osteoblasts and chrondroncytes but, over the past decade, a greater focus has been placed on their trophic properties in the setting of tissue damage and inflammation. Thus, in vivo administration of MSCs to experimental animals and human subjects has been shown to mediate therapeutic benefits through modulation of immune system responses in addition to direct cyto-protective and pro-angiogenic effects. Hopes are high that translation of MSC-based productsto the clinic will usher in a new era of cellular therapy for a broad range of disabling inflammatory diseases for which current treatments are inadequate. However, there are unique and significant challenges associated with the translational process for Advanced Therapeutic Medicinal Products (ATMP) such as MSCs and other culture-expanded cells.
In my presentation I will review the evidence in favour of autologous and allogeneic MSCs as safe and effective ATMPs with a focus on their application to the areas of organ transplantation and kidney disease. I will also highlight the specific challenges associated with successful clinical translation of MSCs and reflect upon future developments and progress in the field.