PROJECT LONG NAME: Genetically engineered human pluripotent stem cells, functionalized silk-fibroin platforms and bio-inks: a novel solution for large-scale ex-vivo platelet production, transfusion and drug research

PROGRAM: H2020-FETOPEN-1-2016-2017

PROJECT ID: 767309

PROJECT DURATION: 2017/11/01 – 2021/11/31

TOTAL COST: 2 998 500,01 €

EU CONTRIBUTION: 2 998 500 €

OBJECTIVE: The demand for human platelets (plts) for medical research and clinical applications is massive. The primary goal of SilkFusion is to engineer groundbreaking 3D nanotechnologies for large-scale production of blood plts for human transfusion from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs). Our hypothesis is that plt production ex-vivo can be optimized by providing megakaryocytes (Mks) with the correct physical and biochemical environment. To prove this, we will develop a unique technological platform by engineering non-thrombogenic silk-fibroin biomaterial with proteins that were proven were proven to promote a gain in plt production of at least one order of magnitude, through the creation of a three-dimensional ex-vivo bone marrow model that will enhance plt release from hPSCs derived-Mks.

Our long-term vision is to foster the production of plts in-vitro for clinical transfusions in humans at a scale and cost that will address current supply challenges as immunologically matched products to alloimmunised patients.

The successful development and distribution of the SilkFusion platforms will also offer researchers and clinicians specialised precision instruments and bio-ink kits for determining the safety and efficacy of drugs, reducing costs of ineffective therapies while promoting affordable functional strategies for the development of novel molecules.