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Archive for the ‘Tissue Engineering’ Category


2021 Virtual World Medical Innovation Forum, Mass General Brigham, Gene and Cell Therapy, VIRTUAL May 19–21, 2021

The 2021 Virtual World Medical Innovation Forum will focus on the growing impact of gene and cell therapy.
Senior healthcare leaders from all over look to shape and debate the area of gene and cell therapy. Our shared belief: no matter the magnitude of change, responsible healthcare is centered on a shared commitment to collaborative innovation–industry, academia, and practitioners working together to improve patients’ lives.

https://worldmedicalinnovation.org/agenda/

Virtual | May 19–21, 2021

#WMIF21

Leaders in Pharmaceutical Business Intelligence (LPBI) Group

will cover the event in Real Time

Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN

Founder LPBI 1.0 & LPBI 2.0

will be in attendance producing the e-Proceedings

and the Tweet Collection of this Global event expecting +15,000 attendees

@pharma_BI

@AVIVA1950

LPBI’s Eighteen Books in Medicine

https://lnkd.in/ekWGNqA

Among them, books on Gene and Cell Therapy include the following:

Topics for May 19 -21 include:

Impact on Patient Care – Therapeutic and Potentially Curative GCT Developments

GCT Delivery, Manufacturing – What’s Next

GCT Platform Development

Oncolytic Viruses – Cancer applications, start-ups

Regenerative Medicine/Stem Cells

Future of CAR-T

M&A Shaping GCT’s Future

Market Priorities

Venture Investing in GCT

China’s GCT Juggernaut

Disease and Patient Focus: Benign blood disorders, diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases

Click here for the current WMIF agenda  

 

Plus:

Fireside Chats: 1:1 interviews with industry CEOs/C-Suite leaders including Novartis Gene Therapies, ThermoFisher, Bayer AG, FDA

First Look: 18 briefings on emerging GCT research from Mass General Brigham scientists

Virtual Poster Session: 40 research posters and presenters on potential GCT discoveries from Mass General Brigham

Announcement of the Disruptive Dozen, 12 GCT technologies likely to break through in the next few years

AGENDA

8:00 AM – 8:10 AM

Opening Remarks

Welcome and the vision for Gene and Cell Therapy and why it is a top Mass General Brigham priority.

Introducer:
Scott Sperling
  • Co-President, Thomas H. Lee Partners
  • Chairman of the Board of Directors, PHS
Presenter:
Anne Klibanski, MD
  • CEO, Mass General Brigham
8:10 AM – 8:30 AM

The Grand Challenge of Widespread GCT Patient Benefits

Co-Chairs identify the key themes of the Forum –  set the stage for top GCT opportunities, challenges, and where the field might take medicine in the future.

Moderator:
Susan Hockfield, PhD
  • President Emerita and Professor of Neuroscience, MIT
Speakers:
Nino Chiocca, MD, PhD
  • Neurosurgeon-in-Chief and Chairman, Neurosurgery, BWH
  • Harvey W. Cushing Professor of Neurosurgery, HMS
Susan Slaugenhaupt, PhD
  • Scientific Director and Elizabeth G. Riley and Daniel E. Smith Jr., Endowed Chair, Mass General Research Institute
  • Professor, Neurology, HMS
Ravi Thadhani, MD
  • CAO, Mass General Brigham
  • Professor, Medicine and Faculty Dean, HMS
Luk Vandenberghe, PhD
  • Grousbeck Family Chair, Gene Therapy, MEE
  • Associate Professor, Ophthalmology, HMS
8:35 AM – 8:50 AM

FIRESIDE

Gene and Cell Therapy 2.0 – What’s Next as We Realize their Potential for Patients

Moderator:
Julian Harris, MD
  • Partner, Deerfield
Speaker:
Dave Lennon, PhD
  • President, Novartis Gene Therapies
  • Q&A

    8:55 AM – 9:10 AM
8:55 AM – 9:20 AM

The Patient and GCT

GCT development for rare diseases is driven by patient and patient-advocate communities. Understanding their needs and perspectives enables biomarker research, the development of value-driving clinical trial endpoints and successful clinical trials. Industry works with patient communities that help identify unmet needs and collaborate with researchers to conduct disease natural history studies that inform the development of biomarkers and trial endpoints. This panel includes patients who have received cutting-edge GCT therapy as well as caregivers and patient advocates.

Moderator:
Patricia Musolino, MD, PhD
  • Co-Director Pediatric Stroke and Cerebrovascular Program, MGH
  • Assistant Professor of Neurology, HMS
Speakers:
Jack Hogan
  • Patient, MEE
Jeanette Hogan
  • Parent of Patient, MEE
Jim Holland
  • CEO, Backcountry.com
Barbara Lavery
  • Chief Program Officer, ACGT Foundation
Dan Tesler
  • Clinical Trial Patient, BWH/DFCC
Sarah Beth Thomas, RN
  • Professional Development Manager, BWH
  • Q&A

    9:25 AM – 9:40 AM
9:25 AM – 9:45 AM

FIRESIDE

GCT Regulatory Framework | Why Different?

Moderator:
Vicki Sato, PhD
  • Chairman of the Board, Vir Biotechnology
Speaker:
Peter Marks, MD, PhD
  • Director, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, FDA
  • Q&A

    9:50 AM – 10:05 AM
9:50 AM – 10:15 AM

Building a GCT Platform for Mainstream Success

This panel of GCT executives, innovators and investors explore how to best shape a successful GCT strategy. Among the questions to be addressed:

  • How are GCT approaches set around defining and building a platform?
  • Is AAV the leading modality and what are the remaining challenges?
  • What are the alternatives?
  • Is it just a matter of matching modalities to the right indications?
Moderator:
Jean-François Formela, MD
  • Partner, Atlas Venture
Speakers:
Katherine High, MD
  • President, Therapeutics, AskBio
Dave Lennon, PhD
  • President, Novartis Gene Therapies
Rick Modi
  • CEO, Affinia Therapeutics
Louise Rodino-Klapac, PhD
  • EVP, Chief Scientific Officer, Sarepta Therapeutics
  • Q&A

    10:20 AM – 10:35 AM
10:20 AM – 10:45 AM

AAV Success Studies | Retinal Dystrophy | Spinal Muscular Atrophy

Recent AAV gene therapy product approvals have catalyzed the field. This new class of therapies has shown the potential to bring transformative benefit to patients. With dozens of AAV treatments in clinical studies, all eyes are on the field to gauge its disruptive impact.

The panel assesses the largest challenges of the first two products, the lessons learned for the broader CGT field, and the extent to which they serve as a precedent to broaden the AAV modality.

  • Is AAV gene therapy restricted to genetically defined disorders, or will it be able to address common diseases in the near term?
  • Lessons learned from these first-in-class approvals.
  • Challenges to broaden this modality to similar indications.
  • Reflections on safety signals in the clinical studies?
Moderator:
Joan Miller, MD
  • Chief, Ophthalmology, MEE
  • Cogan Professor & Chair of Ophthalmology, HMS
Speakers:
Ken Mills
  • CEO, RegenXBio
Eric Pierce, MD, PhD
  • Director, Ocular Genomics Institute, MEE
  • Professor of Ophthalmology, HMS
Ron Philip
  • Chief Operating Officer, Spark Therapeutics
Meredith Schultz, MD
  • Executive Medical Director, Lead TME, Novartis Gene Therapies
  • Q&A

    10:50 AM – 11:05 AM
10:45 AM – 10:55 AM
10:55 AM – 11:05 AM

FIRST LOOK

Control of AAV pharmacology by Rational Capsid Design

Luk Vandenberghe, PhD
  • Grousbeck Family Chair, Gene Therapy, MEE
  • Associate Professor, Ophthalmology, HMS
  • Q&A

    11:05 AM – 11:25 AM
11:05 AM – 11:15 AM

FIRST LOOK

Enhanced gene delivery and immunoevasion of AAV vectors without capsid modification

Casey Maguire, PhD
  • Associate Professor of Neurology, MGH & HMS
  • Q&A

    11:15 AM – 11:35 AM
11:20 AM – 11:45 AM

HOT TOPICS

AAV Delivery

This panel will address the advances in the area of AAV gene therapy delivery looking out the next five years. Questions that loom large are: How can biodistribution of AAV be improved? What solutions are in the wings to address immunogenicity of AAV? Will patients be able to receive systemic redosing of AAV-based gene therapies in the future? What technical advances are there for payload size? Will the cost of manufacturing ever become affordable for ultra-rare conditions? Will non-viral delivery completely supplant viral delivery within the next five years?What are the safety concerns and how will they be addressed?

Moderators:
Xandra Breakefield, PhD
  • Geneticist, MGH, MGH
  • Professor, Neurology, HMS
Florian Eichler, MD
  • Director, Center for Rare Neurological Diseases, MGH
  • Associate Professor, Neurology, HMS
Speakers:
Jennifer Farmer
  • CEO, Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance
Mathew Pletcher, PhD
  • SVP, Head of Gene Therapy Research and Technical Operations, Astellas
Manny Simons, PhD
  • CEO, Akouos
Andre Turenne
  • CEO, Voyager Therapeutics
  • Q&A

    11:50 AM – 12:05 PM
11:50 AM – 12:15 PM

M&A | Shaping GCT Innovation

The GCT M&A market is booming – many large pharmas have made at least one significant acquisition. How should we view the current GCT M&A market? What is its impact of the current M&A market on technology development? Are these M&A trends new are just another cycle? Has pharma strategy shifted and, if so, what does it mean for GCT companies? What does it mean for patients? What are the long-term prospects – can valuations hold up?

Moderator:
Adam Koppel, MD, PhD
  • Managing Director, Bain Capital Life Sciences
Speakers:
Kenneth Custer, PhD
  • Vice President, Business Development and Lilly New Ventures, Eli Lilly and Company
Marianne De Backer, PhD
  • Head of Strategy, Business Development & Licensing, and Member of the Executive Committee, Bayer
Sean Nolan
  • Board Chairman, Encoded Therapeutics & Affinia
  • Executive Chairman, Jaguar Gene Therapy & Istari Oncology
  • Q&A

    12:20 PM – 12:35 PM
12:15 PM – 12:25 PM

FIRST LOOK
12:25 PM – 12:35 PM

FIRST LOOK

Gene Therapy for Neurologic Diseases

Patricia Musolino, MD, PhD
  • Co-Director Pediatric Stroke and Cerebrovascular Program, MGH
  • Assistant Professor of Neurology, HMS
  • Q&A

    12:35 PM – 12:55 PM
12:35 PM – 1:15 PM
1:15 PM – 1:40 PM

Oncolytic Viruses in Cancer | Curing Melanoma and Beyond

Oncolytic viruses represent a powerful new technology, but so far an FDA-approved oncolytic (Imlygic) has only occurred in one area – melanoma and that what is in 2015. This panel involves some of the protagonists of this early success story.  They will explore why and how Imlygic became approved and its path to commercialization.  Yet, no other cancer indications exist for Imlygic, unlike the expansion of FDA-approved indication for immune checkpoint inhibitors to multiple cancers.  Why? Is there a limitation to what and which cancers can target?  Is the mode of administration a problem?

No other oncolytic virus therapy has been approved since 2015. Where will the next success story come from and why?  Will these therapies only be beneficial for skin cancers or other easily accessible cancers based on intratumoral delivery?

The panel will examine whether the preclinical models that have been developed for other cancer treatment modalities will be useful for oncolytic viruses.  It will also assess the extent pre-clinical development challenges have slowed the development of OVs.

Moderator:
Nino Chiocca, MD, PhD
  • Neurosurgeon-in-Chief and Chairman, Neurosurgery, BWH
  • Harvey W. Cushing Professor of Neurosurgery, HMS
Speakers:
Robert Coffin, PhD
  • Chief Research & Development Officer, Replimune
Roger Perlmutter, MD, PhD
  • Chairman, Merck & Co.
David Reese, MD
  • Executive Vice President, Research and Development, Amgen
Ann Silk, MD
  • Physician, Dana Farber-Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center
  • Assistant Professor of Medicine, HMS
  • Q&A

    1:45 PM – 2:00 PM
1:45 PM – 2:10 PM

Market Interest in Oncolytic Viruses | Calibrating

There are currently two oncolytic virus products on the market, one in the USA and one in China.  As of late 2020, there were 86 clinical trials 60 of which were in phase I with just 2 in Phase III the rest in Phase I/II or Phase II.   Although global sales of OVs are still in the ramp-up phase, some projections forecast OVs will be a $700 million market by 2026. This panel will address some of the major questions in this area:

What regulatory challenges will keep OVs from realizing their potential? Despite the promise of OVs for treating cancer only one has been approved in the US. Why has this been the case? Reasons such have viral tropism, viral species selection and delivery challenges have all been cited. However, these are also true of other modalities. Why then have oncolytic virus approaches not advanced faster and what are the primary challenges to be overcome?

  • Will these need to be combined with other agents to realize their full efficacy and how will that impact the market?
  • Why are these companies pursuing OVs while several others are taking a pass?
Moderators:
Martine Lamfers, PhD
  • Visiting Scientist, BWH
Robert Martuza, MD
  • Consultant in Neurosurgery, MGH
  • William and Elizabeth Sweet Distinguished Professor of Neurosurgery, HMS
Speakers:
Anlong Li, MD, PhD
  • Clinical Director, Oncology Clinical Development, Merck Research Laboratories
Peter Liebowitz, MD, PhD
  • Global Therapeutic Area Head, Oncology, Janssen Research & Development
Loic Vincent, PhD
  • Head of Oncology Drug Discovery Unit, Takeda
  • Q&A

    2:15 PM – 2:30 PM
2:10 PM – 2:20 PM

FIRST LOOK

Oncolytic viruses: turning pathogens into anticancer agents

Nino Chiocca, MD, PhD
  • Neurosurgeon-in-Chief and Chairman, Neurosurgery, BWH
  • Harvey W. Cushing Professor of Neurosurgery, HMS
  • Q&A

    2:25 PM – 2:40 PM
2:20 PM – 2:45 PM

Entrepreneurial Growth | Oncolytic Virus

In 2020 there were a total of 60 phase I trials for Oncolytic Viruses. There are now dozens of companies pursuing some aspect of OV technology. This panel will address:

  •  How are small companies equipped to address the challenges of developing OV therapies better than large pharma or biotech?
  • Will the success of COVID vaccines based on Adenovirus help the regulatory environment for small companies developing OV products in Europe and the USA?
  • Is there a place for non-viral delivery and other immunotherapy companies to engage in the OV space?  Would they bring any real advantages?
Moderator:
Reid Huber, PhD
  • Partner, Third Rock Ventures
Speakers:
Caroline Breitbach, PhD
  • VP, R&D Programs and Strategy, Turnstone Biologics
Brett Ewald, PhD
  • SVP, Development & Corporate Strategy, DNAtrix
Paul Hallenbeck, PhD
  • President and Chief Scientific Officer, Seneca Therapeutics
Stephen Russell, MD, PhD
  • CEO, Vyriad
  • Q&A

    2:50 PM – 3:05 PM
2:45 PM – 3:00 PM
3:00 PM – 3:25 PM

CAR-T | Lessons Learned | What’s Next

Few areas of potential cancer therapy have had the attention and excitement of CAR-T. This panel of leading executives, developers, and clinician-scientists will explore the current state of CAR-T and its future prospects. Among the questions to be addressed are:

  • Is CAR-T still an industry priority – i.e. are new investments being made by large companies? Are new companies being financed? What are the trends?
  • What have we learned from first-generation products, what can we expect from CAR-T going forward in novel targets, combinations, armored CAR’s and allogeneic treatment adoption?
  • Early trials showed remarkable overall survival and progression-free survival. What has been observed regarding how enduring these responses are?
  • Most of the approvals to date have targeted CD19, and most recently BCMA. What are the most common forms of relapses that have been observed?
  • Is there a consensus about what comes after these CD19 and BCMA trials as to additional targets in liquid tumors? How have dual-targeted approaches fared?
Moderator:
Marcela Maus, MD, PhD
  • Director, Cellular Immunotherapy Program, Cancer Center, MGH
  • Associate Professor, Medicine, HMS
Speakers:
Jakob Dupont, MD
Kristen Hege, MD
  • Senior Vice President, Early Clinical Development, Hematology/Oncology & Cell Therapy, BMS
Stefan Hendriks
  • Gobal Head, Cell & Gene, Novartis
Christi Shaw
  • CEO, Kite
  • Q&A

    3:30 PM – 3:45 PM
3:30 PM – 3:55 PM

HOT TOPICS

CAR-T | Solid Tumors Success | When?

The potential application of CAR-T in solid tumors will be a game-changer if it occurs. The panel explores the prospects of solid tumor success and what the barriers have been. Questions include:

  •  How would industry and investor strategy for CAR-T and solid tumors be characterized? Has it changed in the last couple of years?
  •  Does the lack of tumor antigen specificity in solid tumors mean that lessons from liquid tumor CAR-T constructs will not translate well and we have to start over?
  •  Whether due to antigen heterogeneity, a hostile tumor micro-environment, or other factors are some specific solid tumors more attractive opportunities than others for CAR-T therapy development?
  •  Given the many challenges that CAR-T faces in solid tumors, does the use of combination therapies from the start, for example, to mitigate TME effects, offer a more compelling opportunity.
Moderator:
Oladapo Yeku, MD, PhD
  • Clinical Assistant in Medicine, MGH
Speakers:
Jennifer Brogdon
  • Executive Director, Head of Cell Therapy Research, Exploratory Immuno-Oncology, NIBR
Knut Niss, PhD
  • CTO, Mustang Bio
Barbra Sasu, PhD
  • CSO, Allogene
Jay Short, PhD
  • Chairman, CEO, Cofounder, BioAlta, Inc.
  • Q&A

    4:00 PM – 4:15 PM
4:00 PM – 4:25 PM

GCT Manufacturing | Vector Production | Autologous and Allogeneic | Stem Cells | Supply Chain | Scalability & Management

The modes of GCT manufacturing have the potential of fundamentally reordering long-established roles and pathways. While complexity goes up the distance from discovery to deployment shrinks. With the likelihood of a total market for cell therapies to be over $48 billion by 2027,  groups of products are emerging.  Stem cell therapies are projected to be $28 billion by 2027 and non-stem cell therapies such as CAR-T are projected be $20 billion by 2027. The manufacturing challenges for these two large buckets are very different. Within the CAR-T realm there are diverging trends of autologous and allogeneic therapies and the demands on manufacturing infrastructure are very different. Questions for the panelists are:

  • Help us all understand the different manufacturing challenges for cell therapies. What are the trade-offs among storage cost, batch size, line changes in terms of production cost and what is the current state of scaling naïve and stem cell therapy treatment vs engineered cell therapies?
  • For cell and gene therapy what is the cost of Quality Assurance/Quality Control vs. production and how do you think this will trend over time based on your perspective on learning curves today?
  • Will point of care production become a reality? How will that change product development strategy for pharma and venture investors? What would be the regulatory implications for such products?
  • How close are allogeneic CAR-T cell therapies? If successful what are the market implications of allogenic CAR-T? What are the cost implications and rewards for developing allogeneic cell therapy treatments?
Moderator:
David Hallal
  • CEO, ElevateBio
Speakers:
Dannielle Appelhans
  • SVP TechOps and Chief Technical Officer, Novartis Gene Therapies
Thomas Page, PhD
  • VP, Engineering and Asset Development, FUJIFILM Diosynth Biotechnologies
Rahul Singhvi, ScD
  • CEO and Co-Founder, National Resilience, Inc.
Thomas VanCott, PhD
  • Global Head of Product Development, Gene & Cell Therapy, Catalent
  • Q&A

    4:30 PM – 4:45 PM
4:30 PM – 4:40 PM

FIRST LOOK

CAR-T

Marcela Maus, MD, PhD
  • Director, Cellular Immunotherapy Program, Cancer Center, MGH
  • Assistant Professor, Medicine, HMS
  • Q&A

    4:40 PM – 5:00 PM
4:40 PM – 4:50 PM

FIRST LOOK

Repurposed Tumor Cells as Killers and Immunomodulators for Cancer Therapy

Khalid Shah, PhD
  • Vice Chair, Neurogurgery Research, BWH
  • Director, Center for Stem Cell Therapeutics and Imaging, HMS
  • Q&A

    4:50 PM – 5:10 PM
4:50 PM – 5:00 PM

FIRST LOOK

Other Cell Therapies for Cancer

David Scadden, MD
  • Director, Center for Regenerative Medicine; Co-Director, Harvard Stem Cell Institute, Director, Hematologic Malignancies & Experimental Hematology, MGH
  • Jordan Professor of Medicine, HMS
  • Q&A

    5:00 PM – 5:20 PM
5:00 PM – 5:20 PM

FIRESIDE

Fireside with Mikael Dolsten, MD, PhD

Introducer:
Jonathan Kraft
Moderator:
Daniel Haber, MD, PhD
  • Chair, Cancer Center, MGH
  • Isselbacher Professor of Oncology, HMS
Mikael Dolsten, MD, PhD
  • Chief Scientific Officer and President, Worldwide Research, Development and Medical, Pfizer
  • Q&A

    5:25 PM – 5:40 AM
5:20 PM – 5:30 PM
8:00 AM – 8:25 AM

GCT | The China Juggernaut

China embraced gene and cell therapies early. The first China gene therapy clinical trial was in 1991. China approved the world’s first gene therapy product in 2003—Gendicine—an oncolytic adenovirus for the treatment of advanced head and neck cancer.  Driven by broad national strategy, China has become a hotbed of GCT development, ranking second in the world with more than 1,000 clinical trials either conducted or underway and thousands of related patents.  It has a booming GCT biotech sector, led by more than 45 local companies with growing IND pipelines.

In late 1990, a T cell-based immunotherapy, cytokine-induced killer (CIK) therapy became a popular modality in the clinic in China for tumor treatment.  In early 2010, Chinese researchers started to carry out domestic CAR T trials inspired by several important reports suggested the great antitumor function of CAR T cells. Now, China became the country with the most registered CAR T trials, CAR T therapy is flourishing in China.

The Chinese GCT ecosystem has increasingly rich local innovation and growing complement of development and investment partnerships – and also many subtleties.

This panel, consisting of leaders from the China GCT corporate, investor, research and entrepreneurial communities, will consider strategic questions on the growth of the gene and cell therapy industry in China, areas of greatest strength, evolving regulatory framework, early successes and products expected to reach the US and world market.

Moderator:
Min Wu, PhD
  • Managing Director, Fosun Health Fund
Speakers:
Alvin Luk, PhD
  • CEO, Neuropath Therapeutics
Pin Wang, PhD
  • CSO, Jiangsu Simcere Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.
Richard Wang, PhD
  • CEO, Fosun Kite Biotechnology Co., Ltd
Tian Xu, PhD
  • Vice President, Westlake University
Shunfei Yan, PhD
  • Investment Manager, InnoStar Capital
  • Q&A

    8:30 AM – 8:45 AM
8:30 AM – 8:55 AM

Impact of mRNA Vaccines | Global Success Lessons

The COVID vaccine race has propelled mRNA to the forefront of biomedicine. Long considered as a compelling modality for therapeutic gene transfer, the technology may have found its most impactful application as a vaccine platform. Given the transformative industrialization, the massive human experience, and the fast development that has taken place in this industry, where is the horizon? Does the success of the vaccine application, benefit or limit its use as a therapeutic for CGT?

  • How will the COVID success impact the rest of the industry both in therapeutic and prophylactic vaccines and broader mRNA lessons?
  • How will the COVID success impact the rest of the industry both on therapeutic and prophylactic vaccines and broader mRNA lessons?
  • Beyond from speed of development, what aspects make mRNA so well suited as a vaccine platform?
  • Will cost-of-goods be reduced as the industry matures?
  • How does mRNA technology seek to compete with AAV and other gene therapy approaches?
Moderator:
Lindsey Baden, MD
  • Director, Clinical Research, Division of Infectious Diseases, BWH
  • Associate Professor, HMS
Speakers:
Melissa Moore
  • Chief Scientific Officer, Moderna
Ron Renaud
  • CEO, Translate Bio
  • Q&A

    9:00 AM – 9:15 AM
9:00 AM – 9:25 AM

HOT TOPICS

Benign Blood Disorders

Hemophilia has been and remains a hallmark indication for the CGT. Given its well-defined biology, larger market, and limited need for gene transfer to provide therapeutic benefit, it has been at the forefront of clinical development for years, however, product approval remains elusive. What are the main hurdles to this success? Contrary to many indications that CGT pursues no therapeutic options are available to patients, hemophiliacs have an increasing number of highly efficacious treatment options. How does the competitive landscape impact this field differently than other CGT fields? With many different players pursuing a gene therapy option for hemophilia, what are the main differentiators? Gene therapy for hemophilia seems compelling for low and middle-income countries, given the cost of currently available treatments; does your company see opportunities in this market?

Moderator:
Nancy Berliner, MD
  • Chief, Division of Hematology, BWH
  • H. Franklin Bunn Professor of Medicine, HMS
Speakers:
Theresa Heggie
  • CEO, Freeline Therapeutics
Gallia Levy, MD, PhD
  • Chief Medical Officer, Spark Therapeutics
Amir Nashat, PhD
  • Managing Partner, Polaris Ventures
Suneet Varma
  • Global President of Rare Disease, Pfizer
  • Q&A

    9:30 AM – 9:45 AM
9:25 AM – 9:35 AM

FIRST LOOK

Treating Rett Syndrome through X-reactivation

Jeannie Lee, MD, PhD
  • Molecular Biologist, MGH
  • Professor of Genetics, HMS
  • Q&A

    9:35 AM – 9:55 AM
9:35 AM – 9:45 AM

FIRST LOOK

Rare but mighty: scaling up success in single gene disorders

Florian Eichler, MD
  • Director, Center for Rare Neurological Diseases, MGH
  • Associate Professor, Neurology, HMS
  • Q&A

    9:45 AM – 10:05 AM
9:50 AM – 10:15 AM

HOT TOPICS

Diabetes | Grand Challenge

The American Diabetes Association estimates 30 million Americans have diabetes and 1.5 million are diagnosed annually. GCT offers the prospect of long-sought treatment for this enormous cohort and their chronic requirements. The complexity of the disease and its management constitute a grand challenge and highlight both the potential of GCT and its current limitations.

  •  Islet transplantation for type 1 diabetes has been attempted for decades. Problems like loss of transplanted islet cells due to autoimmunity and graft site factors have been difficult to address. Is there anything different on the horizon for gene and cell therapies to help this be successful?
  • How is the durability of response for gene or cell therapies for diabetes being addressed? For example, what would the profile of an acceptable (vs. optimal) cell therapy look like?
Moderator:
Marie McDonnell, MD
  • Chief, Diabetes Section and Director, Diabetes Program, BWH
  • Lecturer on Medicine, HMS
Speakers:
Tom Bollenbach, PhD
  • Chief Technology Officer, Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute
Manasi Jaiman, MD
  • Vice President, Clinical Development, ViaCyte
  • Pediatric Endocrinologist,
Bastiano Sanna, PhD
  • EVP, Chief of Cell & Gene Therapies and VCGT Site Head, Vertex Pharmaceuticals
Rogerio Vivaldi, MD
  • CEO, Sigilon Therapeutics
  • Q&A

    10:20 AM – 10:35 AM
10:20 AM – 10:40 AM

FIRESIDE

Building A Unified GCT Strategy

Introducer:
John Fish
  • CEO, Suffolk
  • Chairman of Board Trustees, Brigham Health
Moderator:
Meg Tirrell
  • Senior Health and Science Reporter, CNBC
Speaker:
Jay Bradner, MD
  • President, NIBR
  • Q&A

    10:45 AM – 11:00 AM
10:40 AM – 10:50 AM
10:50 AM – 11:00 AM

FIRST LOOK

Getting to the Heart of the Matter: Curing Genetic Cardiomyopathy

Christine Seidman, MD
  • Director, Cardiovascular Genetics Center, BWH
  • Smith Professor of Medicine & Genetics, HMS
  • Q&A

    11:00 AM – 11:20 AM
11:00 AM – 11:10 AM

FIRST LOOK

Unlocking the secret lives of proteins in health and disease

Anna Greka, MD, PhD
  • Medicine, BWH
  • Associate Professor, Medicine, HMS
  • Q&A

    11:10 AM – 11:30 AM
11:10 AM – 11:35 AM

Rare and Ultra Rare Diseases | GCT Breaks Through

One of the most innovative segments in all of healthcare is the development of GCT driven therapies for rare and ultra-rare diseases. Driven by a series of insights and tools and funded in part by disease focused foundations, philanthropists and abundant venture funding disease after disease is yielding to new GCT technology. These often become platforms to address more prevalent diseases. The goal of making these breakthroughs routine and affordable is challenged by a range of issues including clinical trial design and pricing.

  • What is driving the interest in rare diseases?
  • What are the biggest barriers to making breakthroughs ‘routine and affordable?’
  • What is the role of retrospective and prospective natural history studies in rare disease?  When does the expected value of retrospective disease history studies justify the cost?
  • Related to the first question, what is the FDA expecting as far as controls in clinical trials for rare diseases?  How does this impact the collection of natural history data?
Moderator:
Susan Slaugenhaupt, PhD
  • Scientific Director and Elizabeth G. Riley and Daniel E. Smith Jr., Endowed Chair, Mass General Research Institute
  • Professor, Neurology, HMS
Speakers:
Leah Bloom, PhD
  • SVP, External Innovation and Strategic Alliances, Novartis Gene Therapies
Bobby Gaspar, MD, PhD
  • CEO, Orchard Therapeutics
Emil Kakkis, MD, PhD
  • CEO, Ultragenyx
Stuart Peltz, PhD
  • CEO, PTC Therapeutics
  • Q&A

    11:40 AM – 11:55 AM
11:40 AM – 12:00 PM

FIRESIDE

Partnering Across the GCT Spectrum

Moderator:
Erin Harris
  • Chief Editor, Cell & Gene
Speaker:
Marc Casper
  • CEO, ThermoFisher
  • Q&A

    12:05 PM – 12:20 PM
12:05 PM – 12:30 PM

CEO Panel | Anticipating Disruption | Planning for Widespread GCT

The power of GCT to cure disease has the prospect of profoundly improving the lives of patients who respond. Planning for a disruption of this magnitude is complex and challenging as it will change care across the spectrum. Leading chief executives shares perspectives on how the industry will change and how this change should be anticipated.

Moderator:
Meg Tirrell
  • Senior Health and Science Reporter, CNBC
Speakers:
Lisa Dechamps
  • SVP & Chief Business Officer, Novartis Gene Therapies
Kieran Murphy
  • CEO, GE Healthcare
Christian Rommel, PhD
  • Head, Pharmaceuticals Research & Development, Bayer AG
  • Q&A

    12:35 PM – 12:50 PM
12:35 PM – 12:55 PM

FIRESIDE

Building a GCT Portfolio

GCT represents a large and growing market for novel therapeutics that has several segments. These include Cardiovascular Disease, Cancer, Neurological Diseases, Infectious Disease, Ophthalmology, Benign Blood Disorders, and many others; Manufacturing and Supply Chain including CDMO’s and CMO’s; Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine; Tools and Platforms (viral vectors, nano delivery, gene editing, etc.). Bayer’s pharma business participates in virtually all of these segments. How does a Company like Bayer approach the development of a portfolio in a space as large and as diverse as this one? How does Bayer approach the support of the production infrastructure with unique demands and significant differences from its historical requirements?

Moderator:
Ansbert Gadicke, MD
  • Co-Founder, Managing Director, MPM Capital
Speaker:
Wolfram Carius, PhD
  • EVP, Pharmaceuticals, Head of Cell & Gene Therapy, Bayer AG
  • Q&A

    1:00 PM – 1:15 PM
12:55 PM – 1:35 PM
1:40 PM – 2:05 PM

GCT Delivery | Perfecting the Technology

Gene delivery uses physical, chemical, or viral means to introduce genetic material into cells. As more genetically modified therapies move closer to the market, challenges involving safety, efficacy, and manufacturing have emerged. Optimizing lipidic and polymer nanoparticles and exosomal delivery is a short-term priority. This panel will examine how the short-term and long-term challenges are being tackled particularly for non-viral delivery modalities.

Moderator:
Natalie Artzi, PhD
  • Assistant Professor, BWH
Speakers:
Geoff McDonough, MD
  • CEO, Generation Bio
Sonya Montgomery
  • CMO, Evox Therapeutics
Laura Sepp-Lorenzino, PhD
  • Chief Scientific Officer, Executive Vice President, Intellia Therapeutics
Doug Williams, PhD
  • CEO, Codiak BioSciences
  • Q&A

    2:10 PM – 2:25 PM
2:10 PM – 2:20 PM

FIRST LOOK

Enhancing vesicles for therapeutic delivery of bioproducts

Xandra Breakefield, PhD
  • Geneticist, MGH, MGH
  • Professor, Neurology, HMS
  • Q&A

    2:20 PM – 2:35 PM
2:20 PM – 2:30 PM

FIRST LOOK
2:55 PM – 3:20 PM

HOT TOPICS

Gene Editing | Achieving Therapeutic Mainstream

Gene editing was recognized by the Nobel Committee as “one of gene technology’s sharpest tools, having a revolutionary impact on life sciences.” Introduced in 2011, gene editing is used to modify DNA. It has applications across almost all categories of disease and is also being used in agriculture and public health.

Today’s panel is made up of pioneers who represent foundational aspects of gene editing.  They will discuss the movement of the technology into the therapeutic mainstream.

  • Successes in gene editing – lessons learned from late-stage assets (sickle cell, ophthalmology)
  • When to use what editing tool – pros and cons of traditional gene-editing v. base editing.  Is prime editing the future? Specific use cases for epigenetic editing.
  • When we reach widespread clinical use – role of off-target editing – is the risk real?  How will we mitigate? How practical is patient-specific off-target evaluation?
Moderator:
J. Keith Joung, MD, PhD
  • Robert B. Colvin, M.D. Endowed Chair in Pathology & Pathologist, MGH
  • Professor of Pathology, HMS
Speakers:
John Evans
  • CEO, Beam Therapeutics
Lisa Michaels
  • EVP & CMO, Editas Medicine
  • Q&A

    3:25 PM – 3:50 PM
3:25 PM – 3:50 PM

HOT TOPICS

Common Blood Disorders | Gene Therapy

There are several dozen companies working to develop gene or cell therapies for Sickle Cell Disease, Beta Thalassemia, and  Fanconi Anemia. In some cases, there are enzyme replacement therapies that are deemed effective and safe. In other cases, the disease is only managed at best. This panel will address a number of questions that are particular to this class of genetic diseases:

  • What are the pros and cons of various strategies for treatment? There are AAV-based editing, non-viral delivery even oligonucleotide recruitment of endogenous editing/repair mechanisms. Which approaches are most appropriate for which disease?
  • How can companies increase the speed of recruitment for clinical trials when other treatments are available? What is the best approach to educate patients on a novel therapeutic?
  • How do we best address ethnic and socio-economic diversity to be more representative of the target patient population?
  • How long do we have to follow up with the patients from the scientific, patient’s community, and payer points of view? What are the current FDA and EMA guidelines for long-term follow-up?
  • Where are we with regards to surrogate endpoints and their application to clinically meaningful endpoints?
  • What are the emerging ethical dilemmas in pediatric gene therapy research? Are there challenges with informed consent and pediatric assent for trial participation?
  • Are there differences in reimbursement policies for these different blood disorders? Clearly durability of response is a big factor. Are there other considerations?
Moderator:
David Scadden, MD
  • Director, Center for Regenerative Medicine; Co-Director, Harvard Stem Cell Institute, Director, Hematologic Malignancies & Experimental Hematology, MGH
  • Jordan Professor of Medicine, HMS
Speakers:
Samarth Kukarni, PhD
Nick Leschly
  • Chief Bluebird, Bluebird Bio
Mike McCune, MD, PhD
  • Head, HIV Frontiers, Global Health Innovative Technology Solutions, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Q&A

    3:55 PM – 4:15 PM
3:50 PM – 4:00 PM

FIRST LOOK

Gene Editing

J. Keith Joung, MD, PhD
  • Robert B. Colvin, M.D. Endowed Chair in Pathology & Pathologist, MGH
  • Professor of Pathology, HMS
  • Q&A

    4:00 PM – 4:20 PM
4:20 PM – 4:45 PM

HOT TOPICS

Gene Expression | Modulating with Oligonucleotide-Based Therapies

Oligonucleotide drugs have recently come into their own with approvals from companies such as Biogen, Alnylam, Novartis and others. This panel will address several questions:

How important is the delivery challenge for oligonucleotides? Are technological advancements emerging that will improve the delivery of oligonucleotides to the CNS or skeletal muscle after systemic administration?

  • Will oligonucleotides improve as a class that will make them even more effective?   Are further advancements in backbone chemistry anticipated, for example.
  • Will oligonucleotide based therapies blaze trails for follow-on gene therapy products?
  • Are small molecules a threat to oligonucleotide-based therapies?
  • Beyond exon skipping and knock-down mechanisms, what other roles will oligonucleotide-based therapies take mechanistically — can genes be activating oligonucleotides?  Is there a place for multiple mechanism oligonucleotide medicines?
  • Are there any advantages of RNAi-based oligonucleotides over ASOs, and if so for what use?
Moderator:
Jeannie Lee, MD, PhD
  • Molecular Biologist, MGH
  • Professor of Genetics, HMS
Speakers:
Bob Brown, PhD
  • CSO, EVP of R&D, Dicerna
Brett Monia, PhD
  • CEO, Ionis
Alfred Sandrock, MD, PhD
  • EVP, R&D and CMO, Biogen
  • Q&A

    4:50 PM – 5:05 PM
4:45 PM – 4:55 PM

FIRST LOOK

RNA therapy for brain cancer

Pierpaolo Peruzzi, MD, PhD
  • Nuerosurgery, BWH
  • Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery, HMS
  • Q&A

    4:55 PM – 5:15 PM
8:30 AM – 8:55 AM

Venture Investing | Shaping GCT Translation

What is occurring in the GCT venture capital segment? Which elements are seeing the most activity? Which areas have cooled? How is the investment market segmented between gene therapy, cell therapy and gene editing? What makes a hot GCT company? How long will the market stay frothy? Some review of demographics — # of investments, sizes, etc. Why is the market hot and how long do we expect it to stay that way? Rank the top 5 geographic markets for GCT company creation and investing? Are there academic centers that have been especially adept at accelerating GCT outcomes? Do the business models for the rapid development of coronavirus vaccine have any lessons for how GCT technology can be brought to market more quickly?

Moderator:
Meredith Fisher, PhD
  • Partner, Mass General Brigham Innovation Fund
Speakers:
David Berry, MD, PhD
  • CEO, Valo Health
  • General Partner, Flagship Pioneering
Robert Nelsen
  • Managing Director, Co-founder, ARCH Venture Partners
Kush Parmar, MD, PhD
  • Managing Partner, 5AM Ventures
  • Q&A

    9:00 AM – 9:15 AM
9:00 AM – 9:25 AM

Regenerative Medicine | Stem Cells

The promise of stem cells has been a highlight in the realm of regenerative medicine. Unfortunately, that promise remains largely in the future. Recent breakthroughs have accelerated these potential interventions in particular for treating neurological disease. Among the topics the panel will consider are:

  • Stem cell sourcing
  • Therapeutic indication growth
  • Genetic and other modification in cell production
  • Cell production to final product optimization and challenges
  • How to optimize the final product
Moderator:
Ole Isacson, MD, PhD
  • Director, Neuroregeneration Research Institute, McLean
  • Professor, Neurology and Neuroscience, HMS
Speakers:
Kapil Bharti, PhD
  • Senior Investigator, Ocular and Stem Cell Translational Research Section, NIH
Joe Burns, PhD
  • VP, Head of Biology, Decibel Therapeutics
Erin Kimbrel, PhD
  • Executive Director, Regenerative Medicine, Astellas
Nabiha Saklayen, PhD
  • CEO and Co-Founder, Cellino
  • Q&A

    9:30 AM – 9:45 AM
9:25 AM – 9:35 AM

FIRST LOOK

Stem Cells

Bob Carter, MD, PhD
  • Chairman, Department of Neurosurgery, MGH
  • William and Elizabeth Sweet, Professor of Neurosurgery, HMS
  • Q&A

    9:35 AM – 9:55 AM
9:35 AM – 10:00 AM

Capital Formation ’21-30 | Investing Modes Driving GCT Technology and Timing

The dynamics of venture/PE investing and IPOs are fast evolving. What are the drivers – will the number of investors grow will the size of early rounds continue to grow? How is this reflected in GCT target areas, company design, and biotech overall? Do patients benefit from these trends? Is crossover investing a distinct class or a little of both? Why did it emerge and what are the characteristics of the players?  Will SPACs play a role in the growth of the gene and cell therapy industry. What is the role of corporate investment arms eg NVS, Bayer, GV, etc. – has a category killer emerged?  Are we nearing the limit of what the GCT market can absorb or will investment capital continue to grow unabated?

Moderator:
Roger Kitterman
  • VP, Venture, Mass General Brigham
Speakers:
Ellen Hukkelhoven, PhD
  • Managing Director, Perceptive Advisors
Peter Kolchinsky, PhD
  • Founder and Managing Partner, RA Capital Management
Deep Nishar
  • Senior Managing Partner, SoftBank Investment Advisors
Oleg Nodelman
  • Founder & Managing Partner, EcoR1 Capital
  • Q&A

    10:05 AM – 10:20 AM
10:00 AM – 10:10 AM

FIRST LOOK
10:10 AM – 10:35 AM

HOT TOPICS

Neurodegenerative Clinical Outcomes | Achieving GCT Success

Can stem cell-based platforms become successful treatments for neurodegenerative diseases?

  •  What are the commonalities driving GCT success in neurodegenerative disease and non-neurologic disease, what are the key differences?
  • Overcoming treatment administration challenges
  • GCT impact on degenerative stage of disease
  • How difficult will it be to titrate the size of the cell therapy effect in different neurological disorders and for different patients?
  • Demonstrating clinical value to patients and payers
  • Revised clinical trial models to address issues and concerns specific to GCT
Moderator:
Bob Carter, MD, PhD
  • Chairman, Department of Neurosurgery, MGH
  • William and Elizabeth Sweet, Professor of Neurosurgery, HMS
Speakers:
Erwan Bezard, PhD
  • INSERM Research Director, Institute of Neurodegenerative Diseases
Nikola Kojic, PhD
  • CEO and Co-Founder, Oryon Cell Therapies
Geoff MacKay
  • President & CEO, AVROBIO
Viviane Tabar, MD
  • Founding Investigator, BlueRock Therapeutics
  • Chair of Neurosurgery, Memorial Sloan Kettering
  • Q&A

    10:40 AM – 10:55 AM
10:35 AM – 11:35 AM

Disruptive Dozen: 12 Technologies that Will Reinvent GCT

Nearly one hundred senior Mass General Brigham Harvard faculty contributed to the creation of this group of twelve GCT technologies that they believe will breakthrough in the next two years. The Disruptive Dozen identifies and ranks the GCT technologies that will be available on at least an experimental basis to have the chance of significantly improving health care.

11:35 AM – 11:45 AM

Concluding Remarks

The co-chairs convene to reflect on the insights shared over the three days. They will discuss what to expect at the in-person GCT focused May 2-4, 2022 World Medical Innovation Forum.

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Functioning Human Neural Networks Grown in 3-D from Stem Cells

Reporter: Irina Robu, PhD

 

Researchers at Tuffs University developed three-dimensional human tissue model that mimics structural and functional features of the brain and were able to demonstrate sustained neural activity over several months. The 3D brain tissue models were the result of a collaborative effort between researchers from Tufts University School of Engineering, Tufts University School of Medicine, the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at Tufts, and the Jackson Laboratory.

 

These tissue models have the ability to populate a 3D matrix of silk protein and collagen with cells from patients with Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and the ability to

  • explore cell interactions,
  • disease progression and
  • response to treatment.

The 3D brain tissue models overcome a crucial challenge of previous models which is the availability of human source neurons due to the fact that neurological tissues are rarely removed from

  • healthy patients, and are usually available
  • post-mortem from diseased patients.

The 3D tissue models are populated with human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) that can be derived from several sources, including patient skin. The iPSCs are generated by turning back the clock on cell development to their embryonic-like precursors. They can then be dialed forward again to any cell type, including neurons. The porous structure of the 3D tissue cultures labeled in the research delivers sufficient oxygenation, access for nutrients and measurement of cellular properties. A clear window in the center of each 3D matrix allows researchers to visualize the

  • growth,
  • organization and
  • behavior of individual cells.

According to David L. Kaplan, “the silk-collagen scaffolds provide the right environment to produce cells with the genetic signatures and electrical signaling found in native neuronal tissues”. Compared to growing and culturing cells in two dimensions, the three-dimensional matrix yields a knowingly extra complete mix of cells found in neural tissue, with the appropriate morphology and expression of receptors and neurotransmitters. Other researchers have used iPSCs to create brain-like organoids, but can still make it difficult figuring out what individual cells are doing in real time. Likewise, cells in the center of the organoids may not obtain enough oxygen or nutrients to function in a native state.

However, the researchers can see a great advantage of the 3D tissue models with advanced imaging techniques, and the addition of cell types such as microglia and endothelial cells,to create a more complete model of the brain environment and the complex interactions that are involved in

  • signaling,
  • learning and plasticity, and
  • degeneration.

 

SOURCE

https://www.rdmag.com/news/2018/10/scientists-grow-functioning-human-neural-networks-3d-stem-cells

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3D Print Shape-Shifting Smart Gel

Reporter: Irina Robu, PhD

Hydrogel scaffolds that mimic the native extracellular matrix (ECM) environment play a crucial role in tissue engineering and they are ubiquitously in our lives, including in contact lenses, diapers and the human body.

Researchers at Rutgers have invented a printing method for a smart gel that can be used to create materials for transporting small molecules like drugs to human organs. The approach includes printing a 3D object with a hydrogel that changes shape over time when temperature changes. The potential of the smart hydrogels could be to create a new are of soft robotics and enable new applications in flexible sensors and actuators, biomedical devices and platforms or scaffolds for cells to grow.

Rutgers engineers operated with a hydrogel that has been in use for decades in devices that generate motion and biomedical applications such as scaffolds for cells to grow on. The engineers learned how to precisely control hydrogel growth and shrinkage. In temperatures below 32 degrees Celsius, the hydrogel absorbs more water and swells in size. When temperatures exceed 32 degrees Celsius, the hydrogel begins to expel water and shrinks, the study showed.

According to the Rutgers engineers, the objects they can produce with the hydrogel range from the width of a human hair to several millimeters long. The engineers also showed that they can grow one area of a 3D-printed object by changing temperatures.

Source

https://news.rutgers.edu/rutgers-engineers-3d-print-shape-shifting-smart-gel/20180131

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A magnetic wire could replace the lottery of cancer blood tests

Reporter: Irina Robu, PhD

Stanford University scientists developed a magnetic wire which doctors can use to detect cancer before symptoms are detected in patients. The device is threaded into a vein, screens for the disease by attracting scarce and hard to capture tumor cells just like a magnet. The wire would be predominantly valuable to detect ‘silent killers’ such as pancreatic, ovarian and kidney cancer where symptoms only seem in the late stages when it has spread too far to treat. The magnetic wire can save thousands of lives by catching the disease at a time when drugs would be effective. Cells that have broken off a tumor to wander the bloodstream easily can assist as cancer biomarkers signaling the presence of the disease.

Dr. Gambhir’s team published the results in Nature Biomedical Engineering which described how using a wire that has magnetic nano-particles engineered to stick to cancerous cells. The original experiment is on pigs, which are structurally alike to humans and suffer from the same genetic malfunctions that cause cancer. The wire captured 10 to 80 times more tumor cells and was placed in a vein near the pig’s ear which can be removed from and the cells can be used for analysis. In real standings it chosen up 500 to 5,000 more cancerous cells than normal blood samples.

The circulating tumor cells were magnetized with nanoparticles containing an antibody that latch onto them. When attached, the cell carries the tiny magnet around with it and flows past the wire to veer from its regular path in the bloodstream and stick to the wire.  Professor Gambhir hopes that this approach will enrich detection capability and give insight how circulating tumor cells are and how early on they exist once the cancer is present. Once the technology is accepted for humans, the goal is to mature it into a multi-pronged tool that will increase detection, diagnosis, treatment and evaluation of cancer therapy.

It can also be used to gather genetic information about tumors located in places from where it’s hard to take biopsies.

Source

http://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2018/07/magnetized-wire-could-be-used-to-detect-cancer-in-people.html

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Print’s Technology Used to Help Produce 3D Printed Glass Molds for Droplet Microfluidic Chips

Reporter: Irina Robu, PhD

Scientists from Leibniz HKI, Friedrich Schiller University, the Ilmenau University of Technology, FEMTOprint  and the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering fabricated 3D polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) chips for droplet microfluidics by using FEMTOprint’s innovative glass technology to make 3D printed glass molds. The 3D printed glass mold can pack 192 nozzles into a design that’s 25 mm long and 4 mm wide, including all inlets and outlets, which produce monodisperse droplets of 70 µm. It’s also easy to scale this structure so it is capable of holding 1,000 nozzles in a 6.5 cm structure.

FEMTOprint’s direct writing process makes it possible to produce microfluidic designs with diverse levels, continuously changing heights, and complex 3D shapes, along with sub-micrometric resolution. 3D printed glass molds are used to combine the replication and ease of production that soft lithography is capable of with the advantages of high-resolution prototyping. Moreover, it can facilitate fabrication of multilevel structures even ones with gradients of confinement, which can make important droplet microfluidic operations better.

This technique, paired with simple polydimethylsiloxane replica molding, can offer users with a solution for non-specialized and specialized labs in order to customize and expand microfluidic experimentation. In order to leverage the immense potential of droplet microfluidics, the process of chip design and fabrication needs to be simplified. While the PDMS replica molding has significantly transformed the chip-production process, its dependence on 2D-limited photolithography has limited the design possibilities, as well as further dissemination of microfluidics to non-specialized labs. The technique permits new possibilities in the university, meanwhile as of right now, no other methodology exists except this one that allows architectures with structures from 15 µm to hundreds of micrometers in all dimensions to be produced.

According to FEMTOprint, 3D printed glass structures characterize a negative part, and can be used as chips by bonding them to a PDMS slab or glass, which makes it possible to utilize structures, like mirrors, lenses, and filters, that replica molding cannot recreate. Chip fabrication doesn’t have to be the holdup for non-microfluidic labs adopting microfluidic approaches, instead it should be looked at as a way to device novel functionalities, like optical fiber incorporation for fluorescence detection.

 SOURCE

https://www.industrial-lasers.com/articles/2018/07/3d-printing-creates-molds-for-droplet-microfluidic-chips.html

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New Liver Tissue Implants Showing Potential

Reporter: Irina Robu,PhD

To develop new tissues, researchers at the Medical Research Council Center for Regenerative Medicine at the University of Edinburgh have found that stem cells transformed into 3-D liver tissue can support liver function when implanted into the mice suffering with a liver disease.

The scientists stimulated human embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells to mature pluripotent stem cells into liver cells, hepatocytes. Hepatocytes are the chief functional cells of the liver and perform an astonishing number of metabolic, endocrine and secretory functions. Hepatocytes are exceptionally active in synthesis of protein and lipids for export. The cells are grown in 3-D conditions as small spheres for over a year. However, keeping the stem cells as liver cells for a long time is very difficult, because the viability of hepatocytes decreases in-vitro conditions.

Succeeding the discovery, the team up with materials chemists and engineers to detect appropriate polymers that have already been approved for human use that can be developed into 3-D scaffolds. The best material to use a biodegradable polyester, called polycaprolactone (PCL).PCL is degraded by hydrolysis of its ester linkages in physiological conditions (such as in the human body) and it is especially interesting for the preparation of long term implantable devices, owing to its degradation which is even slower than that of polylactide. They spun the PCL into microscopic fibers that formed a scaffold one centimeter square and a few millimeters thick.

At the same time, hepatocytes derived from embryonic cells had been grown in culture for 20 days and were then loaded onto the scaffolds and implanted under the skin of mice.Blood vessels successfully grew on the scaffolds with the mice having human liver proteins in their blood, demonstrating that the tissue had successfully integrated with the circulatory system. The scaffolds were not rejected by the animals’ immune systems.

The scientists tested the liver tissue scaffolds in mice with tyrosinaemia,a potentially fatal genetic disorder where the enzymes in the liver that break down the amino acid tyrosine are defective, resulting in the accumulation of toxic metabolic products. The implanted liver tissue aided the mice with tyrosinaemia to break down tyrosine and the mice finally lost less weight, had less buildup of toxins in the blood and exhibited fewer signs of liver damage than the control group that received empty scaffolds.

According to Rob Buckle, PhD, Chief Science Officer at the MRC, “Showing that such stem cell-derived tissue is able to reproduce aspects of liver function in the lab also offers real potential to improve the testing of new drugs where more accurate models of human tissue are needed”. It is believed that the discovery could be the next step towards harnessing stem cell reprogramming technologies to provide renewable supplies of liver tissue products for transplantation.

SOURCE

https://www.rdmag.com/article/2018/08/new-liver-tissue-implants-showing-promise?et_cid=6438323

 

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Artificial Skin That “Feels” Temperature Changes

Reporter: Irina Robu, PhD

Engineers and scientists at California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and ETH Zurich developed an artificial skin capable of detecting temperature changes using a mechanism similar to the biological mechanism that allow snakes to sense prey through heat.  In those organs, ion channels in the cell membrane of sensory nerve fibers expand as temperature increases. This dilation allows calcium ions to flow, triggering electrical impulses.

The material used is a long chain molecule found in plant cells which gives the skin its temperature sensing capabilities. The team chose pectin because the pectin molecules in the film have a weakly bonded double-strand structure that contains calcium ions. As temperature increases, these bonds break down and the double strands “unzip,” releasing the positively charged calcium ions.

This would make pectin sensors useful for industrial applications, such as thermal sensors in consumer electronics or robotic skins to augment human-robot interactions. However, they need to change the fabrication process as that the current process leads to the presence of water which tends to bubble or evaporate at high temperatures.

Source

https://www.rdmag.com/news/2017/01/engineers-create-artificial-skin-feels-temperature-changes?cmpid=verticalcontent

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Intelligent Implant Biomaterials

Reporter: Irina Robu, PhD

Implants are gradually being used to treat various bone defects. A key factor for long term success of implants is the proper selection of the implant biomaterial. The biologic environment does not accept completely any material so to optimize biologic performance, implants should be selected to reduce the negative biologic response while maintaining adequate function. The implanted structure must if possible stimulate new bone formation, integrate with existing tissue and lastly be resorbed by the body to enable healthy bone growth.

The EU-funded MGNIM project which tailored biodegradable magnesium implant materials focused on producing aluminum- free Mg-based material suitable for bone applications. MAGNIM produced over 20 different Mg alloys and evaluated their mechanical and structural properties. In addition, they assessed their biological interaction, more specifically their corrosion-behavior. Out of these, two of the new alloys (Mg-2Ag and Mg-10Gd) were nominated for animal trials as pilot results indicated an anti-inflammatory function of degradation products.

The two new alloys, Mg-2Ag and Mg-10Gd as well as Mg alloy WE43 were tested in-vivo for biodegradability and functionality. Screws made of these materials were inserted into the femur of rats and their degradation was monitored. Imaging and histological data from explants revealed new bone formation in the screw implant site.

Even though the project has ended, additional testing in large animal models will be carried out prior to human clinical trials. MAGNIM partners propose to optimize implant material homogeneity and surface properties.

SOURCE
http://cordis.europa.eu/result/rcn/150629_en.html

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Novel Blood Substitute – ErythroMer

Reporter: Irina Robu, PhD

For years, scientists have tried ineffectively to create an artificial molecule that emulates the oxygen-carrying function of human red blood cell but the efforts failed because of oxygen delivery and safety issues. Now, a group of researchers led by Dr. Alan Doctor at Washington University in Saint Louis, are trying to resuscitate blood substitutes with a new nanotechnology-based, artificial red blood cell may overcome the problems that killed products designed by a team of companies such as BiopureAlliance PharmaceuticalsNorthfield Labs and even Baxter. Dr. Alan Doctor’s new company, Kalocyte is advancing the development of the

The donut-shaped artificial cells, ErythroMer are one-fiftieth the size of human red blood cells. ErythroMer is a novel blood substitute composed of a patented nanobialys nanoparticle. A special lining and control system tied to changes in blood Ph allows Erythromer to grab onto oxygen in the lungs and then dispense the oxygen in tissues where it is needed. The new artificial cells are intended to sidestep problems with vasoconstriction or narrowing of blood vessels.

Erythromer is stored freeze dried and reconstituted with water when needed but it can also be stored at room temperature which makes it for military and civilian trauma.

Trials have been successful in rats, mice, and rabbits, and human trials are planned. However, moving Erythromer into human clinical trials is still 8-10 years away.

SOURCE

https://www.thestreet.com/story/13913099/1/human-blood-substitutes-once-dead-now-resuscitated.html

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3-D Printed Ovaries Produce Healthy Offspring

Reporter: Irina Robu, PhD

Each year about 120,000 organs are transplanted from one human being to another and most of the time is a living volunteer. But lack of suitable donors, predominantly means the supply of such organs is inadequate. Countless people consequently die waiting for a transplant which has led researchers to study the question of how to build organs from scratch.

One promising approach is to print them, but “bioprinting” remains largely experimental. Nevertheless, bioprinted tissue is before now being sold for drug testing, and the first transplantable tissues are anticipated to be ready for use in a few years’ time. The first 3D printed organ includes bioprosthetic ovaries which are constructed of 3D printed scaffolds that have immature eggs and have been successful in boosting hormone production and restoring fertility was developed by Teresa K. Woodruff, a reproductive scientist and director of the Women’s Health Research Institute at Feinberg School of Medicine, at Northwestern University, in Illinois.

What sets apart these bioprosthetic ovaries is the architecture of the scaffold. The material is made of gelatin made from broken-down collagen that is safe to humans which is self-supporting and can lead to building multiple layers.

The 3-D printed “scaffold” or “skeleton” is implanted into a female and its pores can be used to optimize how follicles, or immature eggs, get wedged within the scaffold. The scaffold supports the survival of the mouse’s immature egg cells and the cells that produce hormones to boost production. The open construction permits room for the egg cells to mature and ovulate, blood vessels to form within the implant enabling the hormones to circulate and trigger lactation after giving birth. The purpose of this scaffold is to recapitulate how an ovary would function.
The scientists’ only objective for developing the bioprosthetic ovaries was to help reestablish fertility and hormone production in women who have suffered adult cancer treatments and now have bigger risks of infertility and hormone-based developmental issues.

 

SOURCES

Printed human body parts could soon be available for transplant
https://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21715638-how-build-organs-scratch

 

3D printed ovaries produce healthy offspring giving hope to infertile women

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2017/05/16/3d-printed-ovaries-produce-healthy-offspring-giving-hope-infertile/

 

Brave new world: 3D-printed ovaries produce healthy offspring

http://www.naturalnews.com/2017-05-27-brave-new-world-3-d-printed-ovaries-produce-healthy-offspring.html

 

3-D-printed scaffolds restore ovary function in infertile mice

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317485.php

 

Our Grandkids May Be Born From 3D-Printed Ovaries

http://gizmodo.com/these-mice-gave-birth-using-3d-printed-ovaries-1795237820

 

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