Project News

Tissue donation: the only source for us

The ossicle generated by the team of Prof. Farrell at the Erasmus University Medical Center is derived from cells from patients, children who underwent surgery to have their cleft palate reconstructed. “If there are leftover bone chips from the surgery, we can then take them and isolate the marrow stromal cells. After growing these cells in the lab, we can…

B2B bringing multicellular 3D culture to the next level

In tissue engineering, the combination of multiple cell types and the employment of 3D cell culture is becoming the new norm, as it better resembles human physiology. “What makes B2B stand out among other multicellular 3D culture is the scale”, says Dr. Eric Farrell from the Erasmus University Medical Center. “In B2B the tissues have a physiologically relevant dimension (cm3),…

Metastasis detection in the bone

The ultimate goal of the B2B device is to follow the metastasis that travels from the cancer chamber to the bone. Metastatic cells substantially differ from any other cell in the ossicle; for example, they express specific markers on the surface which allow easy identification. However, the method used to detect cancer cells within the ossicle might impair the fate…

Bone chamber: in vivo or in vitro? Both

In B2B two approaches have been planned in order to generate the ossicle for the bone chamber. The first, and more standardized, consists of the generation of the ossicle in vivo (in murine models) and only later to transfer it into the dedicated chamber. This approach starts with the insertion of patient-derived chondrocytes, the cell forming the cartilage, in mice…

INNOVATIVE ASPECT OF THE PROJECT

The B2B device is a radically new future technology that opens the way to a new type of in vitro modelling. “The device falls right in between two types of in vitro models:  the macro 3D models and the organ on a chip (OOC), which instead are on the micron scale.” says Prof. Moroni “On one hand the OOC devices…

R4L among the top 23 EIC-funded SMEs to meet ROCHE

For the third straight year, the European Innovation Council has organized the EIC Corporate Days, gathering innovative European SMEs and large corporates to take full advantage of partnering opportunities. This year, the pharmaceutical giant ROCHE was also invited to meet EIC-funded SMEs and participate in the EIC Corporate Day initiative. From 22 till 25 June 2020, a limited hand-picked number of…

Additive manufacturing & modelling

In order to build the macro-network, the initial method used by the group of Lorenzo Moroni, Professor of Biofabrication for regenerative medicine at the University of Maastricht and partner in B2B, it’s a hybrid process between bioprinting and additive manufacturing. As he explains “We first create fibers that correspond to the dimensions of the vessels that we want to make….

The B2B semi-synthetic solution

The network in B2B mimics as much as possible the physiological vascular network found in the real tissues, both in the breast and the bone side. One of the strengths and most innovative aspects is the fact that its vessels branch out and change the diameter (see news on mesoscale). Another feature that brings the device closer to its physiological…

The meso scale: bridging the macro & the micro

The macrovascular part of the B2B device is a network aimed at replicating the key features of vascular network found in our body – therefore it includes a smooth transition from relatively large vessel down to micro-vessels. “To cover the mesoscale that lies in between the macro and the micro scales, that’s where the real challenge is. In B2B, we…

The application of the B2B device

The B2B device is a unique environment to study a complex process in a controlled system. In an in vivo study, for example, several factors come into play e.g. the diet of the animal, its immune system, etc., and it’s much harder to define the impact of each one of these variables. A simplified system like the B2B device helps…

Following and analysing the metastasis

The main purpose of the B2B device is to follow and dissect the steps of the metastatic process. Therefore, once some cancer cells have left the primary site, we aim to isolate and analyze their features. The main problem during this phase is that within the samples the metastatic cells are rare. “We are talking probably about less than a…

A CRITICAL KISS: FROM MACRO TO MICRO

While the fabrication of a self-assembled network of capillaries and an engineered macro-network is not trivial but possible, the connection between the two is a real challenge. “The macro-to-micro connection proposed by B2B is truly innovative and, to the best of our knowledge, it’s the first time that it would be implemented” explains Andrea Banfi, leader of the related work…

TO EACH TISSUE, ITS MICRO-NETWORK

In B2B, both the breast tumoroid and the ossicle have their self-assembled networks of capillaries. In the first case, the tumoroid and its vascular network are generated in parallel. “We include cancer cells together with endothelial cells in a matrix of fibrin that contains growth factors for both tissues.” explains Andrea Banfi. Thanks to the biological signals, the system evolves…

MACRO & MICRO in B2B

As stated in the name of the project (from Breast to Bone), B2B relies on the connection between two tissues. Indeed, the two chambers, one with the breast tumoroid and the other with the ossicle, are connected with a system that resembles the physiological blood circulation, a set of vessels that brings the blood with oxygen and nutrients to the…

Therapeutic Angiogenesis

The B2B partner Andrea Banfi directs the Cell and Gene Therapy group at Basel University Hospital, in the Departments of Biomedicine and of Surgery. His research focus is the understanding of the basic principles governing the growth of blood vessels and translating this knowledge into the development of novel therapies. We asked him to introduce us to the concept of…

THE PROJECT SYNERGY: THE CONSORTIUM

The B2B Consortium collects the excellence of several sectors, each one contributing to a specific component of the device. Only the synergy between all the parts gives life to the B2B device. The realization of the breast cancer model from a patient-derived primary lesion is led by Nicola Aceto at the Cancer Metastasis lab of the University of Basel, winner…

STUDY CANCER METASTASIS IN CLINICALLY RELEVANT MODELS

Unable to validate some of their hypothesis, scientists often remain with many pending questions about cancer, especially regarding the metastatic process and the failure of preclinical studies: how come that some cancer cells exit the site of origin, enter the blood flow and attack another tissue? Why certain drugs do not have the expected effect in patients compared to pre-clinical…

RESEARCH TO INNOVATE CANCER RESEARCH

Research, in order to advance and fuel innovation, needs technological innovation itself. The EU-funded project B2B is doing research for researchers, to bring recent advances in fluidic systems and 3D printing to the biomedical sector. “When a new technology reaches the biomedical field, all eyes are on the technology and its advantages – but to have a successful uptake, the…

AN INTRINSICALLY FET PROJECT

B2B it’s a Future & Emerging Technologies (FET) project. This EU-funded Programme is all about transforming advanced scientific ideas into radically new technologies for the future. As for the B2B platform, the breakthrough technology should not be incremental but truly revolutionary, changing the today paradigms. We asked our project coordinator Silvia Scaglione to describe the innovation behind B2B and why…

B2B project has started

B2B project has officially started on July 1, 2018. During the next 4 years, the Consortium will be busy developing a novel hybrid device able to model the spontaneous breast cancer metastasis to the bone. The project has been funded for a total of 3.8M€ under the FET OPEN call of the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Framework Programme. The full official information…