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 it fits well in the FET Programme.
“B2B has several strengths that make it a very innovative project. First, it’s a bottom-up project that responds to the scientists’ request for a reliable model to study cancer. The success is further ensured by the multidisciplinary Consortium, a fertile environment in which different expertise come together and complement each other. Having myself a technical background but working with biologists and medical doctors, I know very well how hard is to cross-link activities between these fields and thus deliver technologies that can offer effective solutions to the problems of the biomedical sector.
As every cutting-edge project, B2B has several connected risks and for each, we have foreseen a mitigation action to ensure that we have a functioning platform at the end of the project. Each component of the device has its critical point; for example, bioprinted branching vessels should connect well with both the external fluidic system and the self-assembled capillaries from the tumour tissues. The inclusion of the bone marrow in the ossicle model is also challenging, but we have planned two alternatives for its development (i.e. directly in vitro or first in vivo and subsequently transplanted in vitro). Lastly, the breast cancer model should support the migration of the tumour cells, which imply that the cancer cells exit the site of origin and penetrate into the blood system. Only after facing and overcoming these difficulties, we will be able to create a breakthrough device that brings an innovation leap into cancer research.
The new technology should first bring tangible benefits to researchers, enabling them to finally validate hypotheses that never saw the light of day. Nevertheless, on the long-term we expect a great impact in the society as a whole, since achieved results might reduce failures during preclinical studies, resulting in new therapies that will reach the market in a faster and more cost-competitive way.
From the moment it was conceived, the project fitted extremely well within the FET programme, having a strong technological side and a visionary approach far beyond the state-of-the-art. We were very proud to get funds from the FET funding scheme, as the programme rewards excellence and tackles critical points of doing research. Part of the funds is promptly available from the very beginning of the project, thus allowing the partners to acquire resources and start immediately with their work. We are strongly committed to making the most of our 4-year funding.”