The iPSpine consortium pictured at the recent launch of the iPSpine research project in Utrecht, The Netherlands. Photo: NUI Galway
Mar 22 2019 Posted: 13:10 GMT

CÚRAM researchers recently took part in the launch of an international, €15 million, 20-partner project titled iPSpine (Induced pluripotent stem cell-based therapy for spinal regeneration) held in Utrecht, The Netherlands. The Science Foundation Ireland Centre for Research in Medical Devices based at NUI Galway will participate in the five-year project which falls under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme to fund research that improves knowledge, testing, and exploitation platforms that address the future of advanced therapies in Europe. The project is being coordinated by Professor Marianna Tryfonidou at Utrecht University.

The iPSpine research project aims to address chronic lower back pain, which is the leading cause of disability and morbidity worldwide. It impacts more than 700 million people globally of all ages, each year. Lower back pain is a major cause of reduced activity and work absence and imposes an economic burden of nearly €240 billion every year in the EU.

IPSpine will use state-of-the art technology to design a novel therapy for lower back pain that will be closer to clinical translation after completion of the project in 2023. The treatment will use advanced stem cells and smart biomaterials that can be injected into the degenerated discs in the spine to help re-populate regions that have deteriorated, with the goal of returning spinal function.

Professor Abhay Pandit who is the lead of one of the work packages in iPSpine and the Scientific Director at CÚRAM in NUI Galway, said: “The iPSPine research project addresses a critical patient need. Partnering in this unique consortium provides CÚRAM the opportunity to see our therapeutic design contribution through to implementation stage. This will enable an accelerated translation of our research to therapy and produce real solutions for those who urgently need it.”

Professor Marianna Tryfonidou, head of the research project at Utrecht University, said: “The success of this innovative project will be possible by mobilization of our unique consortium. The network is rich in diverse expertise that ranges from the basic science to the development and implementation of a working treatment for chronic lower back pain. I am delighted and ready to kick-off the project and begin working with this talented network.”

The iPSpine consortium includes 20 partners across Europe, the United States of America, and China. Their expertise includes Fundamental Science, Therapeutic Design and Final Implementation.

Follow the iPSpine research project on Twitter @iPSpine

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