GE Healthcare and Karolinska University to advance cell therapy

Tuesday, May 22, 2012 09:38 AM

Karolinska University Hospital Sweden, one of Europe's largest teaching hospitals, and GE Healthcare Life Sciences have formed a research collaboration to drive advances in technologies and workflows for use in the rapidly emerging field of cell therapy.

The three year collaboration will combine Karolinska University Hospital’s clinical expertise in cell therapy with GE Healthcare’s industry-leading capabilities in cell biology and in technologies for the manufacture of biotherapeutics.

Cell therapy, the use of cells to replace damaged tissue or to treat disease, shows great promise for the treatment of many life-threatening and life-limiting illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease and age-related macular degeneration. There is enormous interest in the potential health benefits of cell therapy, with more than 500 studies worldwide currently at the clinical experimental phase.

The goal of the collaboration is to explore and advance future technology and workflow needs for cell therapy in a clinical setting. Before cell therapy can be used as a routine treatment, there are a number of significant technological and regulatory challenges that need to be addressed. Routine cell therapy will require new technologies to grow, handle, process and analyze cells, as well as the development of robust, reproducible and standardized protocols and workflows for manufacturing and quality control. Karolinska University Hospital and GE Healthcare will work together to identify what is needed to make this a reality. The research will be coordinated by Pontus Blomberg from the Karolinska University Hospital in conjunction with scientists and bio-engineers from GE Healthcare Life Sciences.

“Our expectation from this exciting and innovative collaboration is to solve problems that hinder cell therapies from becoming an established treatment,” said Johan Permert, director for development and innovation, Karolinska University Hospital. “By involving not only researchers and industry partners, but also the public healthcare system, we are aiming to develop methods and tools that accelerate the implementation of cell therapies into standard treatment.”

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