The Diabetes Research Group (DRG) and the BrightSTAR Research group at University of Brighton are both housed within a brand new £23M state-of-the-art research institute, the Huxley Building. Huxley is fully equipped with all the research facilities expected of a leading centre for Cell and Molecular Bioscience, including a core facility for Molecular Biology, Tissue Culture and Regenerative Medicine, with dedicated technical support staff. The Diabetes Research Group (DRG): Diabetes research in Brighton applies clinically-reflective model systems and human tissue studies to determine the disease mechanisms underpinning the causes, development and progression of diabetes. Understanding the mechanisms causing diabetes has allowed our team to develop new clinically-reflective model systems with which to evaluate and improve technologies for the transplantation of new insulin producing cells. Our novel 3D microgravity based cell culture models lie at the heart of the current proposal and at the heart of our work within the UK Islet Transplant Consortium, which has to date transplanted >40 patients with T1D in six Centres across the UK.
EXPLORA BIOTECH SRL (EXP – ITALY) is a privately owned Italian company established in 2006 at the Technological Park “Tecnopolo Tiburtino” in Rome by a pool of young researchers and the support from a French seed capital organization INVENT SaS. EXP is committed to the development of innovative technologies and products for the Life Science community and develop innovative applications in the field of biological engineering. Explora’s hallmark is the multidisciplinary approach, indeed Explora’s team gather together material scientists, biotechnologists and medical practitioners to deliver innovative and effective solution to unmet medical needs. EXP is currently involved in 4 European and international research projects. Within the framework of the THE GRAIL project EXP will oversees project coordination (WP1), dissemination (WP8) and lead the in vivo experiment tests (WP 6) in addition to leveraging its experience in material bio-conjugation and functionalization (WP2) capitalizing on previous work carried out during other EU projects, such as the EU FP7 MAGISTER projects.
CELLON was established in 1987 to provide products and services to the vaccine production and bioprocessing industries. Areas of expertise include mammalian cell culture processes and the storage & transport of sterile liquids. Cellon’s success has been built upon an understanding of the requirements this demanding business sector, which has led to the formation of many collaborative relationships with customers and other service suppliers. Cellon SA has 23 employees and a worldwide distribution network for cell culture and biotech products. In 2011, Cellon completed and commissioned a state of the art manufacturing facility for GMP compliant plastic containers and assemblies for use in the Biopharmaceutical industry worldwide. Cellon SA has been at the forefront in the development of 3D culture systems and has participated in a number of EU funded projects – the most recent being EXERA” contract n°: (2006-2010), and has established further successful partnerships in the biotechnology and biomedical fields. Cellon SA owns the patents for a silicone based expanded surface cell culture chamber for adherent cell cultures- CulturSil and for porous silicone immobilized culture supports – ImmobaSil.
The group of UNIGE is developing a model of cell interaction between beta-cells and macrophages in order to study and prevent these phenomena. Moreover, the role of the pro-inflammatory MIF and antiinflammatory IL-1Ra molecules is studied in murine models of islet transplantation using knock-out and transgenic animals. Finally, the role played by alpha-1-antitrypsine and cadherins on beta-cell apoptosis and destruction is studied in rodent models and on human islets in vitro. The group is developing techniques of islet graft imaging, using PET and MRI technology, in models of islet transplantation in the rat, in human islets in vitro, and in clinical protocols. Molecular monitoring of islet grafts, by measuring circulating levels of insulin mRNA as a marker of islet cell damage, are also developed in collaboration with Prof. Jacques Philippe group. New clinical immunosuppression protocols are being developed in collaboration with French University centers participating to the Swiss-French GRAGIL network (Grenoble, Lyon, Strasbourg, Besançon, Montpellier) and with other European Universities (Milan, Giessen, Uppsala, Brussels). The possibility of inducing immune tolerance by blockade of T-cell co-stimulatory signals (CD154, TRANCE) is studied on murine models of islet transplantation.
AvantiCell Science Ltd is an SME biotechnology company specializing in human cell culture and cellbased analysis. The company has secured private, venture capital and matched public sector investment, and employs 15 staff in premises located in Ayr, UK. ACS has a team of specialist cell technologists delivering commercial services and products and conducting technical development of novel cell models for drug discovery and related purposes. ACS core expertise includes: FACS and cytochemical cell characterization, advanced 3D culture models; fluorescence, chemiluminescence and RT-PCR assay outputs; cell-based assay products using proprietary cell cryopreservation technology. AvantCell is large experienced in cell biology (with specialist focus on primary human cell isolation, characterization, culture and cell-based analysis; cell-based assay validation and translation of laboratory assays into commercially-robust services and products), as well as in bioactivity and biosafety testing of materials ranging from conventional small molecule drugs through natural products, traditional medicines and food components to anti-bacterials, anti-inflammatory therapeutics and nanoparticles. Moreover, ACS has developed previous FP7 experience, including SME-targeted Collaborative Project BIOSID (2013-16), ITN NanoTOES (2010-14), and EID HUMUNITY (2013-17). Fully-equipped cell culture facilities: fluorescence-activated cell analysis and sorting, PCR-based gene expression analysis, semi-automated reagent dispensing, cell-based analysis using fluorescence or chemiluminescence readouts with medium/high throughput; microscopy/cell imaging.
ISMETT is a 70-bed hospital located in Palermo. It is the first hospital in Southern Italy certified by Joint Commission International for excellence in clinical practice. ISMETT was developed specifically for transplantation and highly-specialized therapies through a partnership of the Sicilian regional government and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. A clinical islet transplantation program was recently started. ISMETT has documented experience in human, pig and mouse islet isolation for clinical and research purposes. SMETT includes a large area of laboratories: clinical chemistry, microbiology, immunology and pathology, as well as research laboratories to support research activities in various fields of biomedicine and biotechnology. Ten research associates, 2 technicians and 1 administrative assistant work at the Research Unit. Facilities: The research laboratories are equipped with standard instruments and tools. Fully-equipped cell culture facility, equipped for FACS analysis and sorting, gene expression analysis and microscopy/cell imaging. The Unit also has a 255-square-meter suite of clean room laboratories divided into three core cell processing lab suites where cells are produced for clinical use in compliance with national guidelines (Rev.01 of 06/07/2007).