The development of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) by Shinya Yamanaka and colleagues in 2006 has led to a potential new paradigm in cellular therapeutics, including the possibility of producing patient-specific, disease-specific and immune matched allogeneic cell therapies. One can envisage two routes to immunologically compatible iPSC therapies: using genetic modification to generate a 'universal donor' with reduced expression of Human Leukocyte Antigens (HLA) and other immunological targets or developing a haplobank containing iPSC lines specifically selected to provide HLA matched products to large portions of the population. HLA matched lines can be stored in a designated physical or virtual global bank termed a 'haplobank'. The process of 'iPSC haplobanking' refers to the banking of iPSC cell lines, selected to be homozygous for different HLA haplotypes, from which therapeutic products can be derived and matched immunologically to patient populations. By matching iPSC and derived products to a patient's HLA class I and II molecules, one would hope to significantly reduce the risk of immune rejection and the use of immunosuppressive medication. Immunosuppressive drugs are used in several conditions (including autoimmune disease and in transplantation procedures) to reduce rejection of infused cells, or transplanted tissue and organs, due to major and minor histocompatibility differences between donor and recipient. Such regimens can lead to immune compromise and pathological consequences such as opportunistic infections or malignancies due to decreased cancer immune surveillance. In this article, we will discuss what is practically involved if one is developing and executing an iPSC haplobanking strategy.
Stem Cell Res