AutoCRAT will:

  • identify next-generation therapies for OA and cartilage repair and

  • deliver an economic, sustainable and regulatory-compliant means of production of cells and cell products for therapeutic use.

Our Mission I – Novel OA Therapies

Our work will explore the use of articular chondrocytes (cartilage cells) to repair cartilage. We will also use mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs), which have shown potential therapeutic effects in other studies,[1] to prevent development of or to treat established OA. Finally, we will explore the therapeutic effects of the particles secreted by MSCs known as extracellular vesicles, or EVs.

We will generate sustainable sources of these therapeutic cells and EVs by using hiPSC – adult-derived pluripotent stem cells that can be reprogrammed in the laboratory to become any cell type in the body. We will use hiPSC to generate:

  1. hiCHO (articular chondrocytes or cartilage cells developed from hiPSC).
  2. hiMSC (MSC developed from hiPSC).

We will also explore the proteins secreted by hiMSC (secretome), including EVs secreted by these cells (hiEV) and their therapeutic effect. We will harness our results to define second generation therapeutics (such as OA-specific hiEV) and devise methods for optimum delivery to the OA joint for sustained in vivo effects.

Finally, we will develop novel delivery systems with 3-D printed materials incorporating therapeutic hiCHO for cartilage repair.

Our Mission II – the Regenerative Medicine Factory

AutoCRAT will develop the AutoCRAT Regenerative Medicine Factory (ARM-F) for automation of the hiPSC process for the production of clinical-grade hiCHO, hiMSC and their secreted therapeutic hiEV cargo. This will be a closed, scalable and regulatory-compliant automated system for aseptic production of cells and cell products for therapeutic use. The system will include automated at line cell and process testing protocols throughout to ensure optimal yield and quality of regenerative therapeutic products.

In AutoCRAT the team will build on the ground-breaking work of earlier successful projects and initiatives:

  1. StemCellDiscovery (automated robotic pipeline for cultivation and research of stem cells) and
  2. AUTOSTEM – a Horizon 2020 EU funded project, where AutoCRAT partners were involved in the development of an automated, closed, GMP and GAMP-ready production system for Bone Marrow derived-MSC – the ‘StromalCellFactory’.

The ARM-F will provide the foundations for the innovative regenerative medicine factory of the future to enable the economical production of clinical-grade cell or cell-inspired regulatory- and GMP/GAMP-compliant-products. The ARM-F will move us closer to the ultimate goal of addressing the unmet clinical needs of people with OA. The ARM-F will also be adaptable for use in the production of other therapeutic cells and cell-based products.

The Project Plan

Our workplan reflects the ambitions of the Project and consists of a number of key workstreams, which are interconnected.

The AutoCRAT Project Plan

The AutoCRAT Project Plan

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