Advances in Cell Therapy in 2023: A Year of Promising Preclinical Studies

Cell therapy has emerged as a groundbreaking field in medical science, offering innovative solutions for a range of diseases and conditions that were previously considered challenging to treat. In 2023, significant strides have been made in the realm of cell therapy, with several preclinical studies demonstrating the potential to revolutionize the way we approach various medical challenges. Let’s delve into some of the most promising advances in cell therapy this year, highlighting key findings from preclinical studies.

1. Kolon Life Science‘s TissueGene-C: Long-Term Analgesic Effects in Osteoarthritis Pain

Osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disorder causing chronic pain, has been a major concern for patients worldwide. Kolon Life Science’s preclinical study showcased the potential of TissueGene-C in regulating pain mediators and neuronal sensitization in an osteoarthritis pain model. By utilizing chondrocyte replacements, this gene therapy demonstrated long-term analgesic effects, raising hopes for effective pain management in osteoarthritis patients1.

2. Imagine Pharmaceuticals‘ Intriguing Approach to Preventing Post-ERCP Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis, particularly post-endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) pancreatitis, has been a concern in medical procedures. Imagine Pharmaceuticals’ preclinical safety evaluation of calcineurin inhibitors delivered intraductally showed promise in preventing this condition. The study’s focus on endocrine and systemic safety could potentially pave the way for a safer procedure2.

3. Chugai Pharmaceutical‘s Novel Inhibitor for Hepatic Fibrosis

Hepatic fibrosis, often caused by conditions like non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), has been a challenge due to limited treatment options. Chugai Pharmaceutical’s preclinical study introduced a novel oral SPT inhibitor that demonstrated the ability to inhibit hepatic stellate cell activation and ameliorate hepatic fibrosis in mouse models of NASH. This development could hold significance for patients with liver fibrosis3.

4. Novartis‘ Enhanced CAR-T Therapy with Preserved T-Cell Stemness

Immunotherapy has shown immense potential in treating various cancers, with CAR-T therapies at the forefront. Novartis’ preclinical and early clinical development of the autologous CAR-T therapy YTB323 showcased preserved T-cell stemness, leading to enhanced CAR T-cell efficacy. This development could offer improved outcomes in cancer treatment4.

5. Indena‘s Cellular Ubiquinone Uptake Enhancement

Small molecules and blood products have played a role in cell therapies, and Indena’s study focused on improving cellular ubiquinone uptake in skeletal muscle cells. The study’s ex vivo approach using CoQ10-enriched low-density lipoproteins showcased potential improvements in cellular health, hinting at broader applications5.

6. Gilead Sciences‘ Insights into Measles Pathogenesis

The pathogenesis of measles and its implications have been under investigation. Gilead Sciences’ preclinical study examined the effect of remdesivir post-exposure prophylaxis and treatment on measles pathogenesis in rhesus macaques. This study’s insights could contribute to better understanding and management of measles outbreaks6.

7. Herantis Pharma‘s Innovative Approach to Reducing Tau Pathology

Tauopathies and cognitive dysfunction have been areas of intense research, and Herantis Pharma’s study introduced a prolyl oligopeptidase inhibitor that reduced tau pathology in cellular models and mice. This development holds potential in addressing neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s7.

8. Dignify Therapeutics‘ Exploration of Prokinetic Activity

Exploring prokinetic activity in the context of colorectal and bladder conditions, Dignify Therapeutics’ studies indicated promising outcomes. Intranasal or sublingual delivery of [Lys 5 , MeLeu 9 , Nle 10 ]-NKA (4-10) exhibited potential prokinetic effects, suggesting new avenues for treatment89.

9. Umoja Biopharma‘s Lentiviral-Based CAR T-Cell Engineering

In the realm of neoplasms, Umoja Biopharma’s lentiviral-based platform VivoVec showed preclinical proof of concept for in vivo CAR T-cell engineering. This development could lead to innovative approaches in cancer immunotherapy10.

10. Takara Bio‘s Targeted CAR-T Cells for Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer remains a challenging disease to treat, but Takara Bio’s preclinical study offered hope with CEA-targeting CAR-T cells. This approach showed potential in suppressing tumor growth in orthotopic xenograft models, suggesting a new direction in pancreatic cancer treatment11.

In conclusion, 2023 has been marked by significant advances in cell therapy, with preclinical studies showcasing groundbreaking approaches to various medical challenges. These studies not only expand our understanding of diseases but also offer promising avenues for innovative treatments that could reshape the landscape of medical care. As these studies progress and move toward clinical trials, they hold the potential to transform the lives of patients worldwide.



  1. Kolon Life Science’s TissueGene-C Study
  2. Imagine Pharmaceuticals’ Post-ERCP Pancreatitis Study
  3. Chugai Pharmaceutical’s Hepatic Fibrosis Study
  4. Novartis’ Enhanced CAR-T Therapy Study
  5. Indena’s Cellular Ubiquinone Uptake Study
  6. Gilead Sciences’ Measles Pathogenesis Study
  7. Herantis Pharma’s Tau Pathology Study
  8. Dignify Therapeutics’ Prokinetic Activity Study 1
  9. Dignify Therapeutics’ Prokinetic Activity Study 2
  10. Umoja Biopharma’s Lentiviral-Based CAR T-Cell Engineering Study
  11. Takara Bio’s Targeted CAR-T Cells Study