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VANGUARD Ethics Workshop

Bio-artificial organs and bio-engineered or bio-printed tissues for transplantation in humans are rapidly being developed. It is anticipated that some applications will be ready for clinical testing in the near future. How can first-in-human clinical trials be conducted in a safe and responsible manner? What are ethical points to consider for early clinical trials of regenerative medicine in transplantation?

To discuss these and related topics, our partner Erasmus MC organised a VANGUARD workshop titled Ethics of early clinical trials in regenerative medicine in transplantation in February 2022. This workshop brought together 74 participants and experts in the fields of regenerative medicine and ethics to discuss these ethical challenges. The video below shows the full recording of the VANGUARD Ethics workshop held online, Thursday 3 February 2022 from 16:00-18:00.

New publication on the generation of pre-vascularised organoids

The VANGUARD consortium recently published collaborative work in the journal Transplant International on the generation of pre-vascularised organoids.

The authors from the University of Geneva and the University of Eastern Piedmont show that pre-vascularized islet organoids exhibit enhanced in vitro function compared to native islets, improved engraftment and accelerated vascularization in vivo in a murine model.

The paper is available Open Access on the journal’s website.

Registration is open for the VANGUARD workshop on ethics in regenerative medicine

Registration is now open for VANGUARD’s Online Workshop on the topic of Ethics in regenerative medicine. The event will take place on Thursday the 3rd of February 2022 and start at 16:00 CET.

A panel of experts will discuss ethical challenges that arise with the arrival of bio-engineered organs:

  • How can first-in-human clinical trials be conducted in a safe and responsible manner?
  • What are ethical points to consider for early clinical trials of regenerative medicine in transplantation?

You will have the chance to hear from the key opinion leader in the area of ethics in biomedicine, Professor Jonathan Kimmelman from McGill University.

The workshop will also include insights from the three ongoing projects on regenerative medicine:

  • BRAVE – Biomechanics and regenerative medicine for a one-shot treatment
  • OrganTrans – Controlled Organoids transplantation as enabler for regenerative medicine translation
  • VANGUARD – Bioartificial Pancreas to Cure Type 1 Diabetes

To conclude the meeting, a panel discussion moderated by Dr. Emma Massey (Erasmus Medical Centre) will bring together Prof. Kimmelman, Dr. Antonia Cronin (King’s College London), and Dr. Ekaterine Berishvili (University of Geneva) to further discuss ethical aspects in regenerative medicine.

Please note that registration in advance is required.

VANGUARD presented at the SFT Congress

Our coordinator Ekaterine Berishvili took a part in the 2021 Société Francophone de Transplantation (SFT) on December 8 to explain the challenges and to share the progress that was made during the first year and a half of the VANGUARD project.

The SFT congress is now an established event with a 20 years-long tradition. This is the first time after 10 years that the SFT is taking place in Switzerland.

Geneva was a natural choice for the organisation of this year’s SFT Congress, as the Geneva and Lausanne University Hospitals represent a cluster of knowledge with their world-renowned transplantation activities.

We look forward to the next annual Congress in Lyon, on December 13-16 2022.

VANGUARD researchers awarded at the IPITA 2021 Virtual Congress

IPITA is the international pancreas and islet transplant association and the VANGUARD project had the honour to present its research findings at the 2021 Virtual Congress that took place on 20-23 October.

The conference enabled the scientists to connect with experts from both the industry and research. Between other things, the content of the Virtual Congress 2021 was structured around the updates on state-of-the-art research and around the clinical data results. During these three days, the participants had the chance to present their findings, actively discuss, and share their knowledge on diabetes and transplant-related topics.

We are proud to announce that Kevin Bellofatto and Fanny Lebreton (University of Geneva), and Antonio Citro (Hospital San Raffaele) have won the Best Oral Abstract and Best Poster Abstract awards.

We are looking forward to sharing new findings again the next year.

New VANGUARD infographic available

To introduce the VANGUARD project in easier to understand terms we have developed an infographic to explain the complex research happening in VANGUARD in a visual form.

New publications from the UNIGE group

VANGUARD is generating its first scientific outcomes, as seven works from the UNIGE group have recently been accepted and published in various journals such as Transplant International, Current Diabetes Report and Stem Cell Reviews and Reports:

Alibashe-Ahmed M, Berney T, Giovannoni L, Berishvili E (2020). Targeting Toll-Like Receptor 4: a promising strategy to prevent type 1 diabetes occurrence or recurrence. CellR4; 8: e2850.

Berishvili E, Kaiser L, Cohen M, Berney T, Scholz H, Floisand Y, Mattsson J (2020). Treatment of COVID-19 Pneumonia: the Case for Placenta-derived Cell Therapy. Stem Cell Reviews and Reports.

Berney T, Berishvili E (2020). I’ve got you under my skin. Nature Metabolism: News & Views.

Lebreton F, Wassmer CH, Bellofatto K, Berney T, and Berishvili E (2020). Organoïdes sécréteurs d’insuline : des «super-îlots» comme premier pas vers le pancréas bioartificiel. Med Sci (Paris), Volume 36, Number 10.

Wassmer CH, Bellofatto K, Perez L, Lavallard V, Cottet-Dumoulin D, Ljubicic S, Parnaud G, Bosco D, Berishvili E, Lebreton F (2020). Engineering of Primary Pancreatic Islet Cell Spheroids for Three-dimensional Culture or Transplantation: A Methodological Comparative Study. Cell Transplantation.

Wassmer CH, Berishvili E (2020). Immunomodulatory Properties of Amniotic Membrane Derivatives and Their Potential in Regenerative Medicine. Current Diabetes Reports volume 20, Article number: 31.

Wassmer CH, Lebreton F, Bellofatto K, Bosco D, Berney T, Berishvili E (2020). Generation of insulin-secreting organoids: a step toward engineering and transplanting the bioartificial pancreas. Transpl Int. 2020 Aug 27. doi: 10.1111/tri.13721.

The updated list of publications with hyperlinks can be found in the Outcomes section.