Merlin partner Orbsen hosted the latest Merlin plenary, held in Galway on 17 and 18 October. The meeting was very productive and included updates from all scientific work packages, aswell as reviews of IP, dissemination/exploitation and use of resources. Break-out sessions were also organised so that PIs and postdocs could collaborate in smaller groups. The team looks forward to delivering the work plan agreed for the weeks and months ahead.
An article published by Merlin researchers from UNIPD has recently been published in the “Leukemia” journal. The piece is entitled “Mouse mesenchymal stem cells inhibit high endothelial cell activation and lymphocyte homing to lymph nodes by releasing TIMP-1” (Author(s): Zanotti L, Angioni R, Calì B, Soldani C, Ploia C, Moalli F, Gargesha M, D’Amico G, Elliman S, Tedeschi G, Maffioli E, Negri A, Zacchigna S, Sarukhan A, Stein JV, Viola A) and appears in the May issue. The article deals with the impact of MSC on immunity and inflammation and identifies TIMP-1 as a novel biomarker for MSC-based therapy. You can access the article here.
In March 2015 we issued a report summarising the work undertaken during the first year of the project. Our second report, for year 2 of Merlin is now available. You can access the year 2 report below.
Dr. Madhu Gargesha of BioInVision presented a paper titled “MSC pre-treatments lead to better cell survival in mouse models of liver disease: A CryoViz Study” at the American Association of Immunologists (AAI) 2016 Conference in Seattle, Washington, USA, May 13-16 2016. The presentation was very well received and generated a lot of interest in the MERLIN project. You can find more details about the Conference here.
Researchers from Merlin project partner Erasmus MC recently made a number of presentations at the Dutch Transplantation Society Meeting held on 9 and 10 March 2016 in Groningen. These included a poster presentation about the Merlin project entitled “Optimizing the immunogenicity and immunomodulatory properties of MSC “, (S.F.H. de Witte et al). For more details see here.
MERLIN is developing stem cell-based therapies that specifically target the inflammatory components of liver disease. Our partners BioInVision have developed a cryo-imaging system for 3D, microscopic imaging – the CryoViz instrument. CryoViz enables you to do cellular and molecular imaging where you get colour anatomy and exactly-registered multi-spectral molecular fluorescence.
Check out our video, which shows 3D rendering from MSC Bio-distribution studies of a murine model using the CryoViz cryo-imaging system.
The group of Prof. Antonella Viola from University of Padua has recently published a review titled “Mesenchymal stem cells: myths and reality” in “Swiss Medical Weekly”, the official scientific publication of the Swiss Society of General Internal Medicine, the Swiss Society of Infectiology and the Swiss Society of Rheumatology. In this review, they identified what in their opinion remain the main open questions on MSC biology, attempting to distinguish the facts from the myths concerning endogenous and therapeutic MSC.
MERLIN will be presented in a bespoke session at EASL to highlight EU initiatives.
An abstract we submitted to EASL has also been accepted as a parallel session oral presentation.
The EASL 2016 Annual Meeting will be held in Barcelona 13-17 April 2016.
EASL – The Home of Hepatology – is Europe’s preeminent liver association with global reach and influence.
EASL – the European Association for the Study of the Liver started as a small group of 70 hepatologists from 15 European countries who came together to share best medical practice in April 1966.
50 years later EASL has evolved into a major European Association with international influence dedicated to the liver and liver disease. EASL has over 4,000 members from all over the world and provides an annual platform, The International Liver Congress™, for 11,000 liver experts to meet and discuss latest scientific research.
EASL has given rise to many international clinical trials and research collaborations to the benefit of patients all over the world.
You can find out more about EASL and the International Liver Congress here.
The MERLIN team met at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Birmingham 28 – 29 January 2016 to discuss the results of our pre-clinical work. We discussed preparations for the MERLIN clinical trial, including results from our MSC bio-distribution studies, pre-clinical experiments, and progress on the GMP manufacture of our stem cell therapy for PSC.
We were joined by three of the members of our Scientific Advisory Board, who added their expert insights to our discussions. These included- Professor Willem Fibbe, Leiden University Medical Center – Expertise: Mesenchymal stromal cells; Dr. Neil Henderson, University of Edinburgh – Expertise: Liver fibrosis and stellate cells; Professor Tom Karlsen, Oslo University Hospital – Expertise: Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis.
MERLIN coordinating partner University of Birmingham (UoB) is a centre of excellence for stem cell therapy and home to the MRC Centre of Immune Regulation. The University also has an unrivaled programme of human liver research, run through the Centre for Liver Research.
Check out this video, where you can learn more about the UoB team, their lab, and their work on the MERLIN project.
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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 602363. The material presented and views expressed here are the responsibility of the author(s) only. The EU Commission takes no responsibility for any use made of the information set out.