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BioMed X to research autoimmune diseases and drug delivery with Janssen

Published on 02/08/21 at 10:20am

BioMed X Institute is to start two new research programs in the field of autoimmune diseases and drug delivery in collaboration with Janssen.

The new research groups in Heidelberg will examine protective tissue factors in autoimmune diseases and the translocation of complex macromolecules across the intestinal epithelial barrier.

The new research group PTA (‘Protective Tissue Factors in Autoimmune Diseases’) is led by Mojca Frank Bertoncelj, who is joining BioMed X from the University Hospital Zurich in Switzerland.

Her research group will develop new approaches to combat chronic inflammatory diseases.

The aim is to identify protective factors in the tissue microenvironment of patients with auto-inflammatory diseases with the overall goal of discovering and validating novel drug targets in these diseases.

Dr Bertoncelj said: “We aim to develop a 3D human joint-in-a-dish platform that closely mimics the inflamed joints of patients with rheumatoid arthritis utilising diverse methodologies including single-cell omics, gene-editing, bio-scaffold manufacturing, and stem to adult joint cell differentiation.

“This innovative platform will enable high-throughput testing and discovery of novel joint-protective therapeutics.”

The second research group TMI (‘Translocation of Complex Macromolecules Across the Intestinal Epithelial Barrier’) led by Kyungbo Kim, aims to discover novel transport mechanisms in the human intestinal tract that could be used for oral delivery of various macromolar therapeutic modalities.

Dr Kim said: “Our mission is to characterise the human intestinal epithelial barrier and thereby gain insights into how macromolecular therapeutics may be orally delivered.

“The biology of the barrier will be explored at the cellular and molecular level.”

Lilly Subbotin

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