OxSyBio hosts Tomorrow’s World

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OxSyBio scientists with Maggie Philbin during the tour of the lab for BBC’s Tomorrow’s World.

23 November, 2018

OxSyBio was featured on a one-off live show of Tomorrow’s World which aired at 9pm on BBC Four on Thursday 22 November. 

When the production team first expressed an interest in featuring 3D printing for medical diagnostics, we jumped at the chance to get on board. It was an honour to give Maggie Philbin OBE and the crew a tour of OxSybio’s biofabrication laboratory on the Harwell Campus in Oxford.

The feature was introduced as part of a long-standing tradition of “breaking new medical stories” on Tomorrow’s World.

Sam Olof, Chief Technology Officer, was able to explain OxSybio’s vision for supporting medical diagnostics and treatment for long-standing chronic and critical illnesses:

“You’re in a hospital environment for, say, cancer and a tiny bit of your tissue gets put into your machines. We make hundreds of replicates and we can tailor the treatments.  Essentially, we take all the cutting-edge therapies and peronsalise to an individual.”

This could mean you don’t have to be given chemotherapy because it’s the first mode of treatment. You would be given it because your body responds.”

Maggie Philbin concluded by saying: “The future of this technology is potentially very, very exciting.”

You can view the whole programme by following this link (the feature on OxSyBio is at 22 minutes).

Tomorrow’s World is such an iconic British programme. For many of our senior scientists – now pursuing careers at the forefront of British biotechnology – it was their first exposure to science on mainstream TV. Thinking back to when they watched the show growing up, our team recall some of their favourite memories:

 

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World Diabetes Day 2018 Q&A

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To commemorate World Diabetes Day on 14 November 2018, we talked to Roger D. Cox Ph.D, who leads the research into the Genetics of type 2 diabetes at MRC Harwell Institute.

What has been your path into MRC Harwell? 

I started out working on somatic cell genetics during my PhD at the Institute of Neurology in London, mapping human muscle cell antigens and then did a postdoc in skeletal muscle contractile protein gene regulation at the Pasteur Institute in Paris. I then moved into genome mapping in a second postdoc at the ICRF, Lincoln Inns Fields. After that I led the physical mapping and gene ID group at the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics in Oxford, during which time I first worked on the genetics of diabetes. I came to MRC Harwell in 1999 to set up a group working on the genetics of type 2 diabetes using the mouse as a model system.

Why have you dedicated research to diabetes and genetics?

Diabetes affects almost 4.7 million people in the UK with 1 million of those being undiagnosed. Diabetes has the potential to have a significant effect on an individual’s health and quality of life and can lead to increased mortality in those affected. Genetics offers a powerful way of identifying the underlying mechanisms that lead to increased risk of developing the disease.

How important is that to helping tackle the disease?  

Human genome wide association loci mapping has generated a tremendous resource of loci that alter the risk of developing diabetes in the human population and opens the way to understanding new biology. Basic research on these loci will lead to understanding of disease mechanisms. In the longer term these approaches should lead to the identification of new targets for the development of therapeutic approaches.

Are you focused on cure or managing the disease? 

We are focused on mechanisms and this should, in some loci, lead to treatments in the longer term.

What role does synthetic biology play in tackling the disease? 

We are exploring the potential of synthetic biology in studying mechanisms in fat tissue. Fat is important for the storage of energy and also secretes hormones and has an important role in type 2 diabetes, a multiorgan disease. We hope to be able to model some of the processes important in adipose tissue function and carry out mechanistic studies using synthetic biology.

How important are partnerships between MRC Harwell and OxSyBio in helping to understand and tackle diabetes? 

The partnership is enabling us to do experiments that would not have been possible alone. The technology and expertise are opening new avenues of research that we will apply to the genetics of type 2 diabetes. The ability to generate highly reproducible 3D cultures at scale also offers the possibility of carrying out large scale screens which will be useful for looking for compounds that may alter cell function in order to understand how these work and potentially offer future therapeutic benefit in the long term.

ENDS

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OxSyBio and MRC Harwell Announce Partnership to develop 3D Printed Tissues for Diabetes and Obesity Research

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OxSyBio, has announced a formal collaboration agreement with MRC Harwell to develop 3D printed tissues for basic research into disease biology.  The partnership aims to bring these tissues to external researchers and partners in 2019, and help to increase the understanding of metabolic diseases such as diabetes and obesity.

The combination of OxSyBio’s 3D printing methods and MRC Harwell’s deep knowledge of mammalian models of disease will make characterised and reproducible 3D printed living tissues available affordably and on-demand.

The partnership will prioritise metabolic diseases, with 3D models that will aid the study of diabetes and obesity. The joint team is creating a range of artificial tissues that can be used in conjunction with, and ultimately, in place of ‘gold standard’ animal derived tissues. These are created as ready-to-use 96-well format plates.

Hadrian Green, CEO of OxSyBio, commented: “We are delighted to enter into this partnership with MRC Harwell, which supports our goal of making radical changes in the way diseases are treated and managed.  As a business we rely on collaboration and partnership to bring our transformative science into the hands of the wider scientific community. We’re based in the heart of the Harwell Campus so it is great that we can be involved in this kind of innovative partnership right on our doorstep.”

The creation of these novel 3D models was facilitated and supported by the Harwell HealthTec Cluster Proof of Concept Grant Scheme earlier in 2018. This enabled researchers on both sides to explore whether automation of all the stages of production of the models was possible. The resulting technology indicates that could save decades every year in terms of laboratory time, freeing up scientists from exacting repetitive tasks, allowing them to accelerate other areas of their research.

Figure 1: describes the fabrication process involved in creating artificial 3D tissues developed by OxSyBio with MRC Harwell.

Professor Roger Cox from MRC Harwell commented: “This exciting collaboration with OxSyBio will allow us to develop and validate new 3D culture systems for the investigation of metabolic and other diseases.  OxSyBio brings the expertise in developing the technology and large-scale reproducible production of printed tissues, while MRC Harwell can supply the biological and genetic expertise and material from models. Being near each other on the Harwell Campus is a tremendous benefit.”

Dr Barbara Ghinelli, Director, Harwell Campus and Cluster Development at STFC said: “Today’s announcement between MRC Harwell and OxSyBio is excellent news. Collaborating to develop 3D tissues for use in researching disease biology has far reaching implications for how we understand and better manage human health. As two key members of the Harwell HealthTec Cluster this development perfectly represents what we want to achieve with the Proof-of-Concept calls which is to kick-start innovation through private/ public collaboration in the Life Sciences sector.

“Looking ahead we will announce more Proof-of-Concept calls that will also encourage cross sector collaboration with the space and energy sectors to discover further innovative solutions that can be applied to address Life Sciences problems.”

ENDS

For more information or to find out more about our early access programmes please contact info@oxsybio.com.

 

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Dr Mike Evans DPhil appointed as Chairman of the OxSyBio board

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OxSyBio are delighted to welcome Dr Mike Evans as chairman of the board.
Mike bring a long history of delivering shareholder value from Biotechnology businesses. Prior to joining OxSyBio, Mike was CEO of Oxford Gene Technologies which was spun out from the lab of Prof Sir Ed Southern at the University of Oxford. Previous experience also includes a number of senior positions at GE Healthcare/Amersham Biosciences and Ascot plc, as well as several non-executive directorships. He was also chairman of TAP Biosystems Group plc until its sale to Sartorius Stedim Biotech. Mike holds a BA, MA and DPhil from the University of Oxford.

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OxSyBio platform now able to 3D print cells into tissues

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A brand new way to 3D printing of live cells to produce living tissues with very high resolution, viability and cell density.

See www.ox.ac.uk/news/2017-08-15-new-method-3d-printing-living-tissues for more detail on the team and their accomplishments

Alexander D. Graham, Sam N. Olof, Madeline J. Burke, James P. K. Armstrong, Ellina A. Mikhailova, James G. Nicholson, Stuart J. Box, Francis G. Szele, Adam W. Perriman & Hagan Bayley, High-resolution patterned cell networks by 3D droplet printing. Sci. Rep. , 7, 7004, (2017). DOI:10.1039/c7mb00192d

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