Medicyte and PRIMACYT Receive Grant to Develop Human Liver Cells for Cell-based Therapies

(PresseBox) ( Heidelberg / Schwerin, )
Medicyte, specializing in the generation of human primary cells based on the upcyte® technology, and PRIMACYT, specializing in long-term culturing of primary human hepatocytes, have received a 300k Euro grant from the BMBF to develop culturing methods of human hepatocytes for use in cell-based therapies.

Cell-based therapies and the development of transplantable bioartificial livers to treat severe liver diseases still fail due to the limited availability of appropriate cells in large numbers and clinical quality. These failures are often related to the complex and difficult culturing of liver cells.

Medicyte's upcyte® technology enables the expansion of human primary liver cells to large amounts and with consistent quality. Upcyte® hepatocytes are functionally equivalent to human primary liver cells and therefore suitable for use in cell-based bioartificial liver systems. PRIMACYT's main expertise lies in the serum-free, long-term culturing of primary human hepatocytes and the development of cell culture media. Both companies now combine their knowledge to develop modified liver cells in large amounts for use in cell-based therapies.

Dr. Braspenning, Managing Director and CSO of Medicyte stated: "We are enthusiastic about working together with well-known German experts. I am sure that this collaboration will result in a vast pool of scientific data that support upcyte® as enabling technology of great value."

Dr. Runge, Managing Director of PRIMACYT added: "The application and development of improved in-vitro systems for the treatment of severe liver disease is a key area of focus of our research and we believe the partnership with Medicyte and the University of Tübingen creates an ideal opportunity for our two companies to improve bioartificial liver devices."

The three-year project is supported by a team from the University of Tübingen lead by Prof. Andreas Nüssler, a well-known liver cell expert. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is supporting the joint effort out of the grant program "KMU-innovativ".

Chronic liver disease is the fifth common cause of death in Europe. In Germany approximately 70.000 patients suffer from an inpatient treated severe liver disease e.g. fatty liver, cirrhosis or acute liver failure. These diseases can result in temporary to permanent liver failure. At present liver transplant is the only hope for patients with end stage liver diseases. The Number of patients waiting for a donor liver is many times higher than available organs.

About PRIMACYT

PRIMACYT Cell Culture Technology GmbH (www.primacyt.eu), located in the technology- and business park in Schwerin, is a GLP certified company that provides services in the area of in vitro technologies for pharmaceutical and biotech industry. Human and animal hepatocytes are offered as biosensoric assay systems for pharmacologic-toxicological analyses of drugs and for analysis of chemicals and environmental substances. With HEPAC 2, the human hepatocyte cell culture system developed by PRIMACYT, clinical functional liver parameters in patients should be better predetermined than by animal studies.
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