Erasmus MC present at Dutch Transplantation Society Meeting

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.

3D Rendering from MSC Bio-distribution studies with BioInVision’s CryoViz cryo-imaging system

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.



Prof. Antonella Viola publishes review on Mesenchymal stem cells: myths and reality

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.

Read more


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.



MERLIN meeting in Birmingham 28-29 January

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.

University of Birmingham talk about their work on the MERLIN project

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.

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.