The REACH project aims to provide technology that enables the production of cell therapies on a large scale.
Mesenchymal stem cells, a population of cells that can be found in bone marrow in small numbers, are used in clinical trials for the treatment of various diseases. These cells are investigated for the treatment of, among others, steroid-resistant Graft-versus-Host disease (GvHD), Crohn’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), acute myocardial infarction (MI) and critical limb ischemia. To make successful therapies available to all patients it is necessary to grow these cells in a fast, safe and controlled manner, while minimizing the costs for production. Current procedures for growing these cells are very labor-intensive and, consequently, using cell therapy on a larger scale is limited by its production method. When these cell therapies prove to be successful, there is a clear need to improve the production process to make them available to a large group of patients.
Together, the partners in REACH work towards a novel bioreactor system that will make the production of cell therapies easier and more cost-efficient. Xpand Biotechnology drives the bioreactor development, while PreSens and Aber provide sensor technology that is crucial for monitoring and maintaining a healthy cell culture. Finally, LUMC brings their extensive experience in the production of cell therapies for clinical trials.