Project C07

Generation of human steroid-producing cells from pluripotent stem cells

Principal Investigators

Gerard Ruiz-Babot
Universitätsklinikum Carl Gustav Carus Dresden,
Medical Clinic and Polyclinic III,

Scientific Staff

Maria Malyukov – Veterinarian
Linda Friedrich – MTA
Uta Lehnert – MTA

Project Description

The proposed research aims to generate hormone-producing cells as a novel and alternative treatment for patients affected by adrenal insufficiency. The methodology consists on testing steroidogenic cells differentiated from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) in rodent in vivo models of adrenal insufficiency. Current protocols allows the generation of steroid-producing cells from hPSCs after overexpression of the transcription factor steroidogenic factor 1 (SF1) using lentiviral particles. To enhance ACTH responsiveness, those cells also overexpress ACTH receptor/co-receptor (MC2R/MRAP). The resulting cells, named human induced steroidogenic cells (hiSCs), produce cortisol and they are ACTH responsive. hiSCs will be implanted under the kidney capsule or encapsulated into immunoisolating devices developed at TU Dresden. The goal is to assess the ability to restore adrenal steroid levels and reverse adrenal insufficiency in a preclinical setting leading to a step forward towards cellular therapies for patients suffering from adrenal insufficiency.


(I) Optimization of in vitro cell culture conditions to enhance functionality of hiSCs

(II) Cell transplantation of hiSCs into rodent models of adrenal insufficiency.

(III) Test of immune isolating encapsulation devices.



IFCAH funding renewal. Value of the award: €100.000.

Funding organization: International Fund for Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (IFCAH).


Privat funding Mr. Mark Quinlivan: €115.725.


Marie Curie Individual Global Fellowship. Value of the award €239.860 

Funding organization: European Commission


IFCAH funding 2018. Value of the award: €150.000.

Funding organization: International Fund for Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (IFCAH).

Publications (CRC/TRR 205 included)