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€3.2M EU Horizon 2020 grant for in vitro platelet production

last modified Aug 03, 2017 12:56 PM

Dr Cedric Ghevaert has been awarded a €3.2M EU Horizon 2020 grant in collaboration with Alessandra Balduini (Pavia) and Hana Raslova (Paris). Thei project called SilkFUSIOn will produce platelets in vitro on silk-based scaffolds using the teams' existing expertise in induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) technology.

The demand for human platelets for medical research and clinical applications is massive. The primary goal of SilkFUSION is to engineer ground-breaking 3D nano-technologies for large-scale production of blood platelets for human transfusion from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs).

The group hypothesises that platelet production ex-vivo can be optimized by providing megakaryocytes (Mks) with the correct physical and biochemical environment. To prove this, they plan to develop a unique technological platform by engineering non-thrombogenic silk-fibroin biomaterial with proteins to create a three-dimensional ex-vivo bone marrow model that will enhance platelet release from Mks derived from hPSCs. 

The successful development and distribution of the SilkFUSION platforms will also offer researchers and clinicians specialised precision instruments and bio-ink kits for determining the safety and efficacy of drugs, reducing costs of ineffective therapies while promoting affordable functional strategies for the development of novel molecules.

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