CELLS IN MATRIX

Who we are?

The Cell in Matrix project intends to develop an innovative 3D Matrix of insulin producing cells for the use of diabetic research and drug development in academic and industrial institutes. The Engineered Micro Pancreas (EMP) is based on organ-derived 3D cell culture and human sourced insulin producing cells which is planned to be used as a tool for accelerating and cost reduction of diabetes drug research and testing.

The project is a collaboration between Betalin Therapeutics Ltd (BT) and Kugelmeiers (KUG) both SME developing and dealing with high viability and long-term survival insulin producing cells (islets of langerhans). The consortium also includes two research institutes also being end users partners the Technische Universität Dresden (TUD) and the University Hospital Zurich (USZ). Both research institutes dealing with the development of new Diabetes Drugs are design partners and will be beta site for the Cells in a Matrix new disruptive approach.

Our vision

Cells in Matrix project’s vision is to develop an innovative “Cells in Matrix” 3D model (EMP) that will serve the Diabetes drug development research and industry.

Currently used freshly isolated human pancreatic islets grown ex vivo have limited viability of no more than one week. The EMP 3D model, developed by this collaborative FTI project mimics the natural human pancreatic insulin producing cell function and has two components: (1) a proprietary organ-derived 3D micro-scaffold developed and manufactured by BT and (2) freshly isolated human pancreatic insulin producing cells from cadaveric donors (called islets).

The EMP 3D model of Diabetes will improve significantly the prediction of medicinal outcomes in humans for developing new drugs for Diabetes. EMP enables consistent planning of preclinical diabetic R&D, using less insulin producing cells per test. Most importantly, EMP system offers significantly extended islet life and function for in-depth studies of drug molecules mode of action, validation, toxicology and in vitro pharmacokinetics, rendering higher prediction reliability. Cell in Matrix technology plans to provide high viability and long term survival insulin producing cells (islets of langerhans) replacing  current supply of naked islets isolated from donors (currently provided by companies such as Prodo), which have low viability and short time survival. Cell in Matrix intends to use the supplied islets isolated from donors and turn them into a much efficient and a standardized model for research.  During the project, the islets isolation, will be processed and standardized resulting in uniform size performed by TUD and KUG. BT will seed the standardized islets into the 3D micro-scaffold to create the EMP product. Finally, the EMP product will be tested for viability and functional analyses by USZ and TUD.

Partners

USZ

The USZ is one of the five University Hospitals in Switzerland, and provides fundamental medical care as well as cutting-edge medicine. Within the USZ, the Department of Endocrinology, Diabetology and Clinical Nutrition is responsible for the care of patients with endocrine disorders, diabetes mellitus, overweight/obesity and rare metabolic diseases. The Islet Transplantation and Diabetes division offers a wide range of treatments, including islet transplant. The team consists of clinical and scientific endocrinologists/diabetologists, diabetes counsellors, nutritionists, scientists and lab technicians.

Betalin Therapeutics

Betalin Therapeutics Ltd is a biotech R&D SME in Israel, developing a revolutionary solution to Diabetes, an Engineered Micro Pancreas. The company was established in 2015 based on technology developed by Prof. Eduardo Mitrani from The Cell and Developmental Biology Department at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The theory behind this development is that cells need to be in contact with a supportive tissue, a kind of scaffold which will mimic the extracellular matrix surrounding the cells in our body.

TUD

The Technische Universität Dresden (TUD) is one of the leading and most dynamic universities in Germany and was identified by the German government as a ‘University of Excellence’. TUD has about 34,000 students and over 8,300 employees, 560 professors among them. As a full-curriculum university with 14 faculties in five schools it offers a broad variety of 129 degree programmes and covers a wide research spectrum.

Kugelmeiers Ltd.

Kugelmeiers Ltd., based in Erlenbach Zurich Switzerland, was founded in 2015 as a spin-off of the University of Zurich.
Our first product the Sphericalplate 5D (SP5D) is a patented platform enabling high-quality, scalable and safe cell growth, cell cultivation and a correct cell programming with ability to translate into diagnostic and clinical use – as well as safe use of stem cells.