The Stem Cell and Tissue Re-engineering Program at Research Centre is working towards achieving excellence in stem cell research in the Middle East and worldwide through investigating the molecular and cellular mechanisms of stem cell biology. Currently, the program focuses on stem cell application for therapeutic use in clinical areas including cancer, renal and autoimmune diseases. In the future stem cell research will be incorporated in other diseases including, spinal cord injuries, cardiovascular, neurodegenerative. Members of the program are actively participating in basic, pre-clinical and translational clinical research, as well as in teaching, and collaborative projects with the scientific and clinical community. In addition, this program is in dynamic collaboration with international institutions including but not limited to Harvard Medical School and its affiliated Hospitals, USA and Karolinska University Hospital, Sweden. In addition to research and development, the program is committed to the training, recruitment and advancement of Saudi scientists, physicians, technicians and students.
One of our research priorities is directed at better understanding of the biology of cancer stem cells (CSCs) with respect to tumor initiation, development, progression and response to therapy. CSCs escape immune recognition and thus contribute to tumor progression. Recently, we have shown the association of the immune modulatory molecule PD-L1 in epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT), an important biological phenomenon involved in the generation of CSCs. Importantly, we have identified the critical protein (fascin) that are critical for controlling the CSCs chemoresistance, metastasis and affecting the immune response.
The Unit is also well equipped with state of the art Flow Cytometry facility as well as the first fully functional proteomics lab in the Kingdom with interests directed at Stem Cell Research as well as Therapeutics and Biomarker Discovery for Clinical Applications. As an example, we have employed these powerful tools to identify proteins that are differentially expressed by mesenchymal stem cells from bone marrow compared with other tissue sources. A brief overview of our current proteomic strategies of biomarker discovery for clinical use is summarized in.