What’s so special about the placenta?

World’s Top 50 Innovators 2019 – 23rd to 25th September 2019

What can pregnancy teach us about the immune system? One well-known observation is that some autoimmune conditions can go into remission during pregnancy. In surrogate pregnancies, the foetus is not related genetically to the mother but it is not rejected as foreign tissue anywhere else in the body would be. Moreover, if a pregnant woman develops cancer, it virtually never spreads to the foetus even though the placenta has such a good blood supply.

These mysteries and more are being unraveled through extensive research on the cell types that lie within human placentas collected after women have given birth. Researchers at Celularity found stem cells as well as a novel natural killer cell in the placenta that may serve as a defence against malignant cells.

In his Codex Talk, Robert Hariri, CEO of Celularity, explains how this pioneering research has been translated into a cell based therapy that is in clinical testing in patients with cancer. In the future, this approach will also target other conditions such as autoimmune and age-related diseases.

The placenta may yet be acknowledged as the tree of life.

Hear all the Codex Talks from the Future of Healthcare session

Kenneth Mulvany, Chairman, BenevolentAI
How will AI driven drug discovery make future medicines more affordable?

Robert Hariri, CEO, Celularity
Harnessing the Powerful Biology of the Placenta to Treat Cancer, Immunological and Degenerative Diseases

Prof. Dr. Ugur Sahin, CEO, BioNTech
Individualized Cancer Immunotherapy

Kristoffer Famm, President, Galvani Bioelectronics
When your immune system turns against you, can bioelectronic medicines come to rescue?