Report on EU MSC2 2015 meeting – Shaping the future of MSC Therapy

MERLIN researchers participated in the EU-MSC2 meeting in Leiden on the 7th and 8th of September 2015

The two-day meeting brought together researchers from nine EU-funded projects pursuing MSC research. In addition to REDDSTAR, other projects represented at the meeting included ADIPOA-2REDDSTAR, VISICORT, Stellar, RETHRIM, REACH, MERLIN,SCIENCE and NEPHSTROM. After a welcome from Henri Lenferink, Mayor of Leiden, European Commission Project Officer Dr. Charles Kessler highlighted the EU’s continued support to regenerative medicine research, and a Fundamental MSC Biology lecture was delivered by Prof. Dr. Yufang Shi from the Institute of Health Sciences, Shanghai, China. Following on, the nine EU-funded projects were presented.



On the second day of the meeting, interactive panel discussions about key challenges faced when developing MSC therapies, including scientific obstacles, regulatory and ethical issues, technological hurdles and commercialisation barriers ensued. Opportunities for future collaborations and the harmonisation of MSC research in Europe were discussed.

A report of the EU MSC2 meeting is available here.


EuroStemCell factsheets and exhibition

EuroStemCell recently came up with a new way to get the most out of a public event – they turned their fact sheets into an exhibition.

From the content of the fact sheets with their quality, trustworthy and double-checked information, they created colourful posters about stem cells, stem cell research and diseases. And it worked! People really liked the posters, liked the inviting atmosphere and started conversations.

Why not read more about the EuroStemCell exhibition and download their factsheets.

Combating the rise of the silent killers – University of Birmingham article on tackling the deadly scourges of liver disease and diabetes

Coordinator Prof. Phil Newsome is featured in a new University of Birmingham article on tackling the twin deadly scourges of liver disease and diabetes.

The article discusses how University of Birmingham researchers are spearheading efforts to tackle liver disease and diabetes; now recognised as two of the most serious global health epidemics, yet both ultimately preventable. The article is part of a series on their Birmingham Heroes, which shares insights into the research that takes place at Birmingham and how it impacts on the lives of people.

Read more about what you can do to to cut the likelihood of developing these silent killers in their article here.






MERLIN Team Meeting in Padua 01 – 02 Oct

The MERLIN team met at the Venetian Institute of Molecular Medicine 01 – 02 October 2015 to discuss the results of our pre-clinical work, including work with MSC in vitro and in pre-clinical models of liver disease. Results from recent MSC bio-distribution studies were also presented. We discussed preparations for the MERLIN trial, including progress on the GMP manufacture of our stem cell therapy for PSC.

MERLIN postdoctoral researchers also met in a special session on 30 September prior to the main meeting to explore their own research ideas.


MERLIN at EU-MSC2 Meeting, Leiden

MERLIN researchers attended the EU-MSC2 meeting in Leiden, 07 – 08 Sept 2015. The meeting brought together researchers from a number of EU-funded projects pursuing MSC research.
Other projects represented included Stellar, RETHRIM, REACH, VISICORT, ADIPOA-2, REDDSTAR, SCIENCE and NEPHSTROM.
The meeting included interactive panel discussions about key challenges faced when developing MSC therapies, including scientific obstacles, regulatory and ethical issues, technological hurdles and commercialisation barriers. Opportunities for future collaborations and hamonisation of MSC research in Europe were also discussed.

Prof. Willem Fibbe welcomes participants
Coordinator Prof. Phil Newsome introduces MERLIN


Interview with Prof. Viola of UNIPD

Prof. Antonella Viola has been interviewed by Italian broadcaster TG1, following her return to Padova. In this interview, she talks about a research project investigating the correlation among inflammation and cancer. In Padova, Prof. Viola leads a group of eight researchers working on different projects with the aim of designing novel personalized therapy against inflammation-related diseases. The role of her team in the MERLIN project is to investigate the mechanism of action of Mesenchymal Stromal Cells (MSC) in dampening liver inflammation.


AV Interview TG1

EMC talk about their work on the MERLIN project


MERLIN partners Erasmus MC are studying the interaction between stem cells and the immune system and in their laboratory they are trying to improve the quality of the stem cells.

Check out this video, where you can learn more about the EMC team, their lab, and their work on the MERLIN project.



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BioInVision exhibited MERLIN work at the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) 2015 meeting in Stockholm, Sweden, 24 – 27 June. 

BIV_ISSCR15 (800x536)

EU MSC2 2015: Contributing to MSC Knowledge-Sharing, Research & Development

Our sister project REDDSTAR and Leiden University Medical Center are co-organizing EU MSC2 2015, a meeting in Leiden, NL on September 7th and 8th to bring together nine EU-funded, mesenchymal stromal cell-focussed consortia. Projects include: REDDSTAR, REACH, RETHRIM, Stellar, MERLIN, Nephstrom, SCIENCE, VISICORT and Adipoa-2. This two day, interactive meeting will be held at the Stadsgehoorzaal Leiden.

The objectives of the meeting are to:

  • Enhance knowledge-sharing between EU research groups working in the mesenchymal stromal cell biology domain
  • Engage with European Commission Project Officers and other stakeholders from International Society of Cellular Therapy, stem cell ethicists and the European Medicines Agency (EMA)
  • Assemble trans-disciplinary research groups working across the global health spectrum but with a common focus of mesenchymal stromal cell biology
  • Bring up-and-coming researchers together for networking purposes, and to explore future consortium building and international funding application opportunities


Expected impacts and outcomes:

  • Provide opportunities to develop new mesenchymal stromal cell networks
  • Disseminate the findings and challenges between MSC-focussed consortia
  • Improve the communication potential of research, outcomes and the value of the research
  • Explore potential for new commercial technologies
  • Collectively enhance the quality and impact of planned clinical trials

These EU projects are:

  • Boosting human capital: 20-30 positions created
  • Improving the quality of life for European citizens
  • Progressing the clinical translation of MSC research and developments


For more information, please visit EU MSC2 2015 and register via Eventbrite.

For queries:

Danielle Nicholson, Orbsen Therapeutics, NUI Galway and Brigitte Wieles, Project Manager LUMC

New related publications on MSCs from MERLIN partners in EMC

Two new related publications from EMC are available here. The publications look at whether mesenchymal stromal cells are immune cells, and how mesenchymal stem cells immune cells in different ways.