World Conference in Regenerative Medicine 2015
Francesca Lake discusses her attendance at the WCRM 2015 in Leipzig, October 2015.
Following my attendance at WCRM this year, I wanted to say thank you to everyone I met at the conference - it was incredibly interesting to see the diverse range of research going on in the field, and to meet everyone, from established researchers to those just starting out in their career.
I wasn't able to attend all of the talks; however, on day 1 I had the opportunity to attend the opening talk by O Bruestle, who discussed modelling neurodegenerative diseases in vitro, including the notrious problem of getting the neuronal transplant to integrate into the tissue - a problem seemingly caused by autoattraction between stem cells and their progeny.
My highlight from day 2 was the talk on manufacturing & automation given by G Schmeideknecht, who covered the challenges in manufacturing ATMPs for clinical trials. As expected, cost is a major challenge, with high manufacturing costs posing a major barrier to cell therapies crossing into the clinic. Some of his proposed solutions included a paradigm shift from autologous to allogeneic, use of closed systems, and partial or even complete automation. Other challenges include the ability to access raw materials of sufficient quality; the various challenges inherent in process validation such as ethics and donor diversity; difficulties in analytical method validation, whereby it is not easy to define criteria and labor costs are high; and comparability.
Day 2 also saw the poster presentation - there were a number of excellent posters being presented, and I thank those who talked me through their research thus far. Good luck to everyone!
Finally, my highlight of day 3 was the talk on 3D laser printing by B Chichkov. This talk covered the applicability of laser printing to 3D cell models, tissue engineering, organ replacement/repair, etc, and took us through printing of nanoparticles and LIFT (laser-induced forward transfer). The reported advantages of this include precision, lack of damage, observability and the ability to perform 3D free-form fabrication - the talk went on to consider 3D printing of skin tissue and cardiomyocytes. Concluding, Chichkov theorized that it could be possible, if we had the technology, to print an average-sized man in under 3 hours, and a heart in 30 seconds.
The conference was ended by a city tour of the beautiful Leipzig, and a meal at the Hotel de Pologne - a breathtaking venue.
Overall, I commend all of those who were at the conference for their efforts in this area of research, and I look forward to reading the discussion and posts from those who are now on RegMedNet - welcome!