Fresenius Medical Care has established a subsidiary focusing on regenerative medicine. Unicyte AG will pursue research into kidney and liver diseases, diabetes and cancer, and will work with additional partners when needed to advance these projects, the company said in a release.
Fresenius Medical Care has collaborated with the University of Turin since 2003. The first result of their joint research under the direction of Prof. Giovanni Camussi, Scientific Director of the university’s Torino Stem Cell Project, was the isolation and characterization of a human stem cell population from an adult liver. These liver stem cells are easy to isolate, capable of being multiplied without limit and transferrable into various other cell types, making them a potential option for regenerative medicine.
Other discoveries were functional pancreatic islets (which mimic the function of pancreatic cells) for the treatment of diabetes, and stem cell-derived extracellular vesicles (particles that support communication between cells) for the treatment of kidney and liver diseases as well as cancer. The first research results were converted recently into preclinical development projects.
The company said it will pursue the development projects up until the stage of clinical studies on humans. The long-term goal is to improve the lives of kidney and liver disease, diabetes and cancer patients.
“This is an outstanding example of collaboration between industry and science,” said Gianmaria Ajani, Rector of the University of Turin. “It is not only driving the development of new technologies, but is providing an educational opportunity for young people. Unicyte will attract more international sponsors and investors, and in this way secure, long-term jobs can be created.”