Kick-off for collaboration on regenerative medicine, RegMed XB

Today the Leiden University Medical Center is the venue for the start of RegMed XB, a new collaboration on regenerative medicine. TU Eindhoven is one of the knowledge institutions involved in this partnership that is aiming to get a budget totaling 250 million euros.

RegMed XB is starting off with an initial budget of 25 million euros, with the assumption that this will grow to 250 million over the next 10 years, attracting the participation of universities, healthcare funds, companies and national as well as regional authorities.

Prospects of a cure
In the Netherlands millions of people are suffering from a chronic disease like diabetes, kidney failure or rheumatoid arthritis. Research into these diseases tends to focus on combating or treating the symptoms. The partners within RegMed XB want to go beyond this. They are working on regenerative medicine to cure patients through tissue and organ recovery. In other words, making the tissue and organs healthy again and thus avoiding the need for a transplant.

First phase
The research within RegMed XB comprises three lines for which an initial 25 million euros has been made available. Researchers from the Leiden University Medical Center, the University of Utrecht, Maastricht University and Eindhoven University of Technology are collaborating on this along with the University of Leuven and the Flemish Institute for Biotechnology from Belgium. Seventeen companies are also participating, sharing their expertise and facilities, supplying materials and personnel, and helping to translate the knowledge into clinical applications. Finally, four regions (Leiden, Utrecht, Noord-Brabant and Limburg) will be supporting the research and embedding it in practice, creating new jobs and business.

Cartilage implant
Prof. dr. Keita Ito of TU/e is leading the research line that focuses on rheumatoid arthritis. Together with researchers from the University of Utrecht and Maastricht University as well as the participating companies, he is developing a smart, functional cartilage implant for patients with arthritis, which also helps form new, cartilage cells.

Therapy for diabetes type 1
Prof. dr. Eelco de Koning (Leiden University Medical Center) is leading the research into solutions for people suffering from diabetes type 1 so that they will require fewer insulin injections. The researchers are working on a therapy whereby new cells are introduced into the body to produce insulin. A biomaterial structure will protect the cells against the antibodies produced by the body. TU/e researcher Patricia Dankers is one of the academic scientists involved in this line.

New kidneys
Under the leadership of prof. dr. Ton Rabelink (Leiden University Medical Center) the researchers are working on a solution for kidney failure: building new kidneys and repairing damaged kidneys using stem cells. At TU/e scientists Carlijn Bouten, Patricia Dankers, Bert Meijer and Jaap den Toonder are involved.