Rapid progress in stem cell research pave the way for the development and use of new cell therapy products in regenerative medicine. The objective of CASCADE is to provide the European Community with unique expertise which focuses on the GMP production of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) and their use in treating skin and corneal wounds, so that quality and safety criteria are paramount and match therapeutic expectations. Commencing with known procedures, CASCADE will develop innovative technologies based on the expertise of its partners. Among our research themes, the specific issue of multiple recipients and universal donors will be investigated. To this end, human MSC will be derived from 4 tissues, bone marrow, fat tissue, cord blood and amniotic membrane, according to good manufacturing practice (GMP). Phenotypic identity of GMP produced MSC, their genetic status and their potential for transformation will constitute the basis for establishing standards for controlling cell production. The efficacy of GMP produced MSC will be tested in in vitro and in vivo models, and the immunological consequences of their use will be studied. Moreover, during the whole CASCADE initiative, ethical and legal issues raised as a result of MSC therapies will be considered. Direct collaboration with two clinical networks will allow CASCADE to finely tune production specifications, and define optimal clinical protocols for these MSC-based cellular therapies. CASCADE will therefore gather together leading European cell therapy laboratories with unrivalled expertise in the production of therapeutic cells and in MSC biology, four SMEs with specific know-how in GMP production of cells and two clinical networks in dermatology and ophthalmology. The outcome will be a consortium that encompasses all the technologies and skills required to efficiently develop innovative technologies for the production of clinical grade MSC and to translate this production into a cell drug to repair wounds.
Fields of science
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Funding SchemeCP-FP - Small or medium-scale focused research project