Direct Reprogramming of Mesenchymal Stems Cells to Neural Stem Cell-Like Cells

Technology #34445

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Kiminobu Sugaya, Ph.D.
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Luis Sebastian Alexis Valerio
Patent Protection

US Patent Pending
Xeno- and transgene-free reprogramming of mesenchymal stem cells toward the cells expressing neural markers using exosome treatments
PLoS One, 2020 Oct 13;15(10):e0240469. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0240469

Key Points

  • Xeno-free and transgene-free reprogramming of mesenchymal stem cells towards cells expressing neural markers
  • Combination treatment with 1) epigenetic modifier decitabine and 2) exosomes derived from neural stem cells for lineage-specific signals
  • Minimizes issues associated with the use of transgenes for cell reprogramming, such as tumorgenesis


Researchers at the University of Central Florida have developed a xeno-free and transgene-free method for reprogramming mesenchymal stem cells to neural stem cell-like cells. Neural stem cells are difficult to obtain for therapeutic use due to their location in the brain. As an alternative, multipotent mesenchymal stem cells are a potential source of neural stem cells, but must first be reprogrammed into neural cells. Traditional cell reprogramming techniques often use transgenes which can be associated with tumorigenesis, limiting the clinical use of the reprogrammed cells.

Technical Details

The UCF technology relates to a method for producing neural stem cell-like cells from adult mesenchymal stem cells without the use of animal products such as serum or gene transfection. The mesenchymal stem cells are treated with 1) decitabine (5-aza-2’-deoxycytidine) for modulating epigeneticity and 2) exosomes derived from neural stem cells for lineage-specific signals. The resultant neural progenitors are capable of expanding and differentiating towards cells expressing neural markers.


  • Xeno-free and transgene-free cell differentiation


  • Neuroregenerative therapies
  • Autologous therapies