A Tale of Two Cell Therapies for Osteoarthritis

Date(s) - 10/21/2019
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Communicore, C1-17

Sowmya Viswanathan, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering & Department of Medicine, University of Toronto

Dr. Viswanathan’s lab is focused on developing novel cellular therapies for treatment of Osteoarthritis. In this talk, Dr. Viswanathan will describe two types of cell therapies being developed in her lab.  The first therapy is mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) and recent clinical trial results from patients with moderate-to-advanced knee osteoarthritis. She will describe mechanistic insights and ongoing research on next generation products.  The second therapy is an immunotherapy, and is focused on using re-programmed monocytes/macrophages to treat osteoarthritis.


Dr. Viswanathan is a Scientist at the Krembil Research Institute, University Health Network, and an Assistant Professor at the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering and at the Department of Medicine of the University of Toronto.  Her research is focused on developing anti-inflammatory cell based therapies including next generation mesenchymal stromal cell (MSC) therapies and immunotherapies.  Dr. Viswanathan’s lab is also focused on bioprocess optimization and translation of these cell-based therapies into clinical investigations. Dr. Viswanathan is a co-Principal Investigator of a recently completed trial using autologous MSCs to treat knee osteoarthritis patients, a North American first.

As a translational scientist, Dr. Viswanathan chairs a Cell Therapy Stakeholder Group that engages Health Canada on cell therapy related policy issues.  She serves on several committees at the International Society for Cell and Gene Therapy (ISCT) including the Mesenchymal Stromal Cell (MSC) committee and the North American Legal and Regulatory Affairs Committee.  She was recently appointed Associate Editor of Cytotherapy, the official journal for ISCT.