Laboratory of Cell Regeneration and Plasticity

Laboratory of Cell Regeneration and Plasticity

 

Head of the Laboratory

Stefan Juhas, PhD.

juhas@iapg.cas.cz

Our research focuses on large animal model – miniature pig. Study performed on minipig biomedical model is more and more the subject of the interest for researches from all over the world. The main advantage is physiology resemblance of organs to humans, low costs and minimal ethical problems. The minipig is supposed to play eminent role as a biomedical model in neuroscience and cell therapy in the future. Our minipigs, the same as the other experimental animals, deserve our regard and huge thank you for sacrifice of their life for saving or improvement the quality of life of humans.

Activities

Our research focuses on large animal model – miniature pig. Study performed on minipig biomedical model is more and more the subject of the interest for researches from all over the world. The main advantage is physiology resemblance of organs to humans, low costs and minimal ethical problems. The minipig is supposed to play eminent role as a biomedical model in neuroscience and cell therapy in the future. Our minipigs, the same as the other experimental animals, deserve our regard and huge thank you for sacrifice of their life for saving or improvement the quality of life of humans.

 

Stem Cells Culture

We have longstanding experiences with isolation, culture, differentiation and characterization of mesenchymal (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21401296) and epidermal stem cells of minipig´s origin (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19093745).

 

We also have started to work with porcine retinal stem cells. Retinal stem cells could represent one of the possible therapeutic approaches in AMD (Age-related Macular Degeneration; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macular_degeneration) therapy. Synthetic membranes will be newly synthesized for preclinical experimentation on minipigs for this purpose at the Institute of Macromolecular Chemistry of the Czech Academy of Science in Prague.

Huntington´s Disease (HD)

We have generated a transgenic porcine model of Huntington´s disease (TgHD minipig) in 2009 (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25063429). Our model carries 1 copy of N-terminal part of human mutated huntingtin. This project is a result of widespread international collaboration with prominent laboratories working in HD field. Generation of TgHD minipig was financially and scientifically supported by CHDI Foundation (http://chdifoundation.org).

 

Currently, we dispose with 5 generations of TgHD minipigs. We work on characterization of their phenotype together with our Czech and international partners. HD is fatal neurodegenerative disease with no cure to date. Therefore, the generation of this unique model represents an important tool for basic research of pathological mechanisms of HD as well as for successful preclinical testing of the new therapeutic approaches and drugs.

 

In collaboration with CHDI Foundation we plan to perform experiments focused on down-regulation of mutated huntingtin mediated by gene therapy.

Spinal Cord Injury

We have developed adjustable computer-controlled compression model of spinal cord injury in minipig (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22029501). This model faithfully simulates the spinal cord injury in humans both in clinical as well as histopathological phenotype. Pig model of spinal cord injury is mainly used for preclinical experiments with newly established neural stem cell lines (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22889456; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20412634; http://www.neuralstem.com/) and represents a critical point for next introduction of potential therapy of spinal cord injury into the clinical practice.

 

The realization of this project was enabled due to our long-lasting collaboration with prof. Martin Marsala´s Laboratory from University of California in San Diego (US) (http://anesthesia.ucsd.edu/research/faculty-research/Pages/marsala.aspx), the Institute of Experimental Physics of Slovak Academy of Science and the Institute of Neurobiology of Slovak Academy of Science in Kosice (Slovakia).

Gastrointestinal Diseases

We participate on research of the diseases of gastrointestinal tract in collaboration with physicians from Military University Hospital Prague, Horovice Hospital and Institute for Clinical and Experimental Medicine in Prague. The aim of this collaboration is training program of the new and classical surgical techniques, the comparison of their therapeutic effectivity and introducing of the new surgical approaches into the clinical practice (NOTES – Natural Orifice Transluminal Endoscopic Surgery, POEM – Peroral Endoscopic Myotomy, (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23073683, http://www.csgh.info/detail.php?stat=885, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22826620, http://www.csgh.info/detail.php?stat=883, http://www.csgh.info/detail.php?stat=884, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22509657, http://www.csgh.info/arch_detail.php?stat=524, http://www.csgh.info/arch_detail.php?stat=527, http://www.csgh.info/arch_detail.php?stat=543).

Education

We also take a share in organizing and conducting of the practical courses for the students of human medicine. This education is under the patronage of the private companies and hospitals. This is the way how the graduates of medicine can improve their surgical skills, which they consequently will apply in their clinical practice.