UCL and Pharmidex partnership leads to advances in synthetic organs

15 June 2012

The UK Nanotechnology Knowledge Transfer Network has announced details of a partnership between two of its members that has recently led to the synthesis of artificial organs including an ear, nose and trachea. The trachea was recently the first synthetic organ to be successfully transplanted into a patient.

UK Company Pharmidex and University College London (UCL) established the partnership at a NanoKTN event in 2009 after being introduced by Healthcare & Life Sciences Theme Manager, Dr Mike Fisher.

Professor Alexander Seifalian at UCL’s Centre for Nanotechnology and Regenerative Medicine, and Mohammad Alavijeh, Managing Director at Pharmidex, are working on a joint venture with funding from the UK Technology Strategy Board and EPSRC to develop synthetic human organs.

Seifalian and Alavijeh have developed and synthesised a family of non-biodegradable and bioabsorbable nanocomposite materials for biomedical applications. The materials with bioactive peptides has been manufactured as a multichannel, biodegradable conduit for nerve regeneration and are also developing stents capable of self-endothelisation in the human body.

These nano-based materials were also used to produce the world’s first synthetic trachea which was successfully transplanted into a patient in June 2011. By using Pharmidex’s intelligence and solutions, Professor Seifalian and his team have developed replacement organs and body parts using synthetic materials and the patient’s own cells, meaning the risks associated with rejections have been minimised.

“Attending Nano4Life provided me with excellent networking opportunities as well as a forum to bounce ideas back and forth with potential partners. Presentations by leading professionals enabled me to explore applications and potential market opportunities to take our technology one step closer to commercialisation. There is no doubt that without this event I would not have met Professor Seifalian and we wouldn’t be where we are now making the fantastic discoveries and advances we have made in recent years,” commented Mohammad Alavijeh, Manager Director at Pharmidex Ltd.

Professor Seifalian adds, “The NanoKTN has an excellent working relationship with professionals and academics within the nanotechnology and life science community and the wealth of knowledge provided by its Theme Managers has been invaluable to us. The NanoKTN’s staff understood our needs and requirements immediately and by introducing me to Pharmidex we have been able to form this fantastic partnership.”

“The work being carried out by Pharmidex and UCL is life changing and is revolutionising healthcare. It has been an honour to work closely with both Professor Seifalian and Mohammad Alavijeh and see this partnership develop. I look forward to following the revolutionary work this partnership is carrying out,” concluded Dr Mike Fisher, Healthcare & Life Sciences Theme Manager at the NanoKTN.“


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