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Induced pluripotent stem cell-based therapy for spinal regeneration

Project description

Novel treatment for intervertebral disc degeneration

The EU-funded iPSpine project is leading the research efforts to develop an advanced therapy medicinal product (ATMP), based on a radically new strategy that employs induced pluripotent stem cells and smart biomaterials. iPSpine aims to improve outcome and quality of life for millions of patients with disc-related lower back pain, through effective regeneration of the diseased disc with restored biomechanical function, and long-lasting reduction of pain. The outcomes of the iPSpine project include platforms of knowledge, testing, and exploitation with broad applicability. iPSpine will make a significant contribution to the field, reducing translational bottlenecks through open innovation and cementing European leadership in the development of ATMPs for treatment of large patient groups.


Low back pain (LBP) is a leading cause of disability and morbidity worldwide. It is widely accepted that a major contributor to LBP is intervertebral disc degeneration (IDD). IDD account for at least 40% (~280 million) of all LBP cases, leading to an EU-economic burden of ~€240 billion. These patients receive conservative treatment (e.g. pain relief medication and physiotherapy). When the latter is unsatisfactory, the only option left are invasive and costly surgical intervention. To date, no treatments halt or reverse IDD. Despite the profound socioeconomic burden and impact of IDD, decreasing the quality of life of millions of people, a game-changing treatment strategy for IDD-induced LBP is almost non-existent. The iPSpine consortium was formed to initiate a European-led research effort to identify a future advanced therapeutic strategy that results into a radical new treatment of IDD-induced LBP. With their multi-disciplinary expertise in the development of advanced therapies and their translation from bench to bedside, the aim of the iPSpine team is to investigate and develop a new advanced therapy medicinal product (ATMP) of the future, based on a novel developmental biology-based therapeutic strategy employing pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) and smart biomaterials. The iPSpine consortium will develop and demonstrate Proof-of-concept with the aid of novel and extended knowledge, tools and technology platforms. Hereby, iPSpine has the ambition to make a significant contribution by reducing translational bottlenecks through open innovation and take European leadership in the development of ATMPs. The iPSpine impact: iPSpine seeks to offer novel technologies and ATMPs for the advanced therapy research and development community. IDD will be the showcase, offering improved quality of life for millions of patients with IDD-induced LBP, through long-lasting reduction of LBP, reduced LBP-related premature retirement, and improved socio-economic contribution.

Call for proposal


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Sub call



Net EU contribution
€ 3 303 164,75
3584 CS Utrecht

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West-Nederland Utrecht Utrecht
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 3 303 164,75

Participants (24)