Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Medicyte starts involvement in the Hepatic Microfluidic Bioreactor Project

Medicyte has now started operational activities to provide and qualify different types of upcyte liver cells for use in the multi-international Hepatic Microfluidic Bioreactor (HeMiBio) project. HeMiBio is an artificial liver that may be more predictive for human liver toxicity and liver metabolism of drugs than current in vitro and animal models.

Using its upcyte technology, Medicyte has succeeded in generating quasi human primary cells (upcyte® cells). These upcyte cells can be kept longer in culture than primary cells and even these differentiated cells can be initiated to proliferate in vitro. Most importantly, Medicyte´s upcyte hepatocytes are functionally equivalent to human primary liver cells and can be provided in unmet high quantities of consistent quality. This makes upcyte liver cells (hepatocytes, endothelial and stellate cells) ideal for the development of the artificial liver system “HeMiBio”.

The development of the HeMiBio is a prestigious project, involving twelve partners from seven countries. The project is coordinated by Prof Catherine Verfaillie (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium). Being an “in vitro artificial liver,” HeMiBio may be more predictive for human liver toxicity and liver metabolism of drugs, new chemical entities and cosmetics than currently used in vitro and animal models. Moreover, conventional chronic toxicity studies require high animal numbers that could be markedly reduced if not completely replaced by HeMiBio in the long term. HeMiBio is part of the European Research Initiative “Safety Evaluation Ultimately Replacing Animal Testing” (SEURAT) and is one of six projects, financed by European Commission’s FP7 HEALTH program and the “European Cosmetics Association” (COLIPA), that target the replacement of animal safety testing with appropriate in vitro methods. Medicyte´s efforts and expenditures for HeMiBio are fully compensated from the 50 million fund provided by FP7 and COLIPA.

Dr Joris Braspenning, Managing Director of Medicyte GmbH: “We are enthusiastic about working on this project together with renowned scientific institutes and scientists. I am sure that HeMiBio will result in a vast pool of scientific data that support upcyte® as enabling technology of great value.”