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The Prometeo Lab and the Cell Factory: two realities operating for innovation in regenerative medicine

25 January 2013
Cell Factory (detail)

The Prometeo Laboratory of the Rizzoli Orthopeadic Institute in Bologna, node of the High Technology Network coordinated by Aster, participates in the Italian Infrastructure for Regenerative Medicine (IRMI), winner of the tender for the national technologic Clusters by the Ministry for University and Research. The infrastructure is part of the cluster ALISEI, promoted by 13 Italian regions, among which the Emilia-Romagna Region, and has won a total funding of over 10 million Euros.

“Regenerative medicine represents the new paradigm in healthcare, with the potential to cure the chronic diseases, instead of healing their symptoms. – explains dr. Pier Maria Fornasari, MD, Director of the Prometeo Laboratory and of the Cell and Musculoskeletal Tissue Bank – The aim of IRMI is to contribute to the growth of the Emilia-Romagna Region and of the Italian competitiveness and innovation in the field of regenerative medicine. Thanks to this activity, the Infrastructure will ensure the training of new professionals in the different branches of regenerative medicine, with the goal to set up their working activity, creating, within the network, over 100 new job positions”.

Activities of the Rizzoli Orthopaedic Institute Cell Factory

Eight Italia regions are involved in the project: Lombardia, Piemonte, Emilia-Romagna, Lazio, Campania, Sicily, Liguria and Friuli-Venezia Giulia. Together with Rizzoli, prestigious public partners include the Hospital Niguarda in Milan, the National Research Council (CNR) in Naples, the Universities of Bologna, of Modena and Reggio, of Milan, of Genova and of Trieste, and the Polytechnic University of Turin. Twelve national companies will be benefiting from the technological transfer implemented by IRMI; among them, the biggest regional industrial groups include the group Chiesi Pharmaceuticals, the IGEA group and the group Maria Pia Hospital of GVM care&research. In order to increase the productivity of the southern regions, the important hospital and research center of the Sicilian Region ISMETT participates to the IRMI project.

“In parallel with the common strategic objective of constructing the network – Fornasari continues -, every partner has a series of specific goals. For us, the goals are the expansion in the production of osteoinductive thermoplastic paste and of bone products created by robots, in the perspective and aim of “costum-made (personalized) tissues”, and the production of mesenchymal stem cells, unmanipulated by a donor’s adipose tissue”. Concerning the Cell Factories (the laboratories for the manipulation of cells necessary to the development of regenerative medicine), IRMI will provide the creation of a network on the national level, with the objective to harmonize its activities. 

Part of this network will be constituted by the Cell Factory of the Emilia-Romagna Cell and Musculoskeletal Tissue Bank, located at the Rizzoli Institute, which has recently obtained its third authorization for the production of cellular therapies (chondrocytes, mesenchymal stems for hospital and experimental use) and for the quality control by the Italian Drug Agency (AIFA).

“This means – explains Dr. Alessandra Bassi, MD, Technical Director of the IOR Cell Factory – that it is also possible, for the Rizzoli Institute, to produce mesenchymal stem cells for experimental use in several clinical trials of regenerative medicine, oriented not only to the cure of pathologies of the musculoskeletal system, but also to degenerative systemic or rare diseases. New clinical protocols can therefore be implemented with other hospitals and companies, contributing to the growth of the regional research network.”

The IOR Cell Factory is the first Italian entirely public structure to have received the AIFA authorization, for both the cell therapy products and the respective quality controls.  

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