Merlin partner BioInVision presents at AAI Conference

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.

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.

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



Screen Shot 2015-06-30 at 11.05.52

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

BIV_ISSCR15 (800x536)