Excellent Plenary meeting in Galway, 12 April 2017

The NEPHSTROM consortium travelled to Galway for our most recent plenary, on April 12th. Hosted by NUI Galway at the Galway Bay Hotel, the meeting took place between 0900 and 1800. Partners travelled down on the evening before, and returned (mostly via Dublin Airport) on the 13th. A lucky few remained for a couple of days, exploring the beautiful west of Ireland. Astonishingly, there was little rain.

The project is making excellent progress on several fronts. A major highlight is the successful approval of our Voluntary Harmonisation Procedure, the process required to secure regulatory approval for our clinical trial across all the clinical trial sites (in the UK, Ireland and Italy). This success followed Herculean labours by Nadia Rubis, Norberto Perico, and the regulatory team at IRFMN in Bergamo.

Moving forward, there is strong focus on cell production, on local ethical and regulatory approvals, and on planning for the recruitment of our first patients.

Following the meeting, the entire team enjoyed an excellent dinner, hosted by NUI Galway, and a series of musical interludes from talented team members, led by Martino Introna.


Martino at the piano

Martino at the piano

The consortium at Galway

NUIG researchers present on Diabetic Kidney Disease at the 2016 Irish Endocrine Society Annual Conference

NEPHSTROM researchers based at the National University of Ireland, Galway presented two posters on Diabetic Kidney Disease at the recent Irish Endocrine Society 40th Annual Conference in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

martinIn one poster entitled “Influence of chronic kidney disease aetiology on outcomes of multi-disciplinary diabetic renal clinic attendance”, Dr Liam Martin presented evidence that attendance at a multi-disciplinary diabetes renal clinic (DRC) at the Galway University Hospitals improved the rate of loss of kidney function of people with type 2 diabetes and chronic kidney disease. In contrast, those with type 1 diabetes and chronic kidney disease did not have improvement in kidney function loss but did benefit in terms of better blood glucose and cholesterol levels.

griffinIn the other poster, entitled “Pilot study of biomarkers in diabetic kidney disease”, Dr Tomás Griffin reported the results of assays for several different biomarkers in serum samples from Galway University Hospital outpatients with mild, moderate and severe diabetic kidney disease. He concluded that serum levels of the proteins leptin, adiponectin, fibroblast growth factor-21 (FGF-21), soluble tumour necrosis factor receptors-1 and 2 (sTNFR-1 and 2), neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL) and interleukin-8 (IL-8) correlate with current kidney function and are promising biomarkers for tracking responses to novel therapies during clinical trials such as the forthcoming NEPHSTROM Phase 1b/2a clinical trial of allogeneic Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) (product ORBCEL M®) in diabetic kidney disease.

The abstracts are published online by the Irish Journal of Medical Sciences (http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11845-016-1482-y).

The NEPHSTROM team meets in Liverpool


The NEPHSTROM consortium met for their third project plenary on September 22-23. The meeting was hosted by NHS Blood and Transplant in Liverpool. The team enjoyed productive discussions about GMP stem cell production, and planning and preparation for the forthcoming clinical trial.

STEM CELL REVOLUTIONS documentary screening, NUI Galway

Featuring beautiful hand-drawn animations and interviews with leading stem cell scientists, STEM CELL REVOLUTIONS charts the history and scientific evolution of stem cell research – from the earliest experiments that first revealed stem cells in the body, to leading current scientific and clinical developments. Watch the trailer here

Question & answer session to follow led by Profs Tim O’ Brien and Matt Griffin

Clinical Science Institute (CSI) Lecture Theatre – Costelloe Road NUI Galway, H91 YR71 Galway – View Map

For more details and to book tickets click here.

NUIG researchers publish on ‘The Promise of Mesenchymal Stem Cell Therapy for Diabetic Kidney Disease’

Matthew GriffinNEPHSTROM researchers based at the National University of Ireland, Galway have published a review paper entitled “The Promise of Mesenchymal Stem Cell Therapy for Diabetic Kidney Disease” in the journal “Current Diabetes Reports”. The review is listed on PubMed (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27007719) and published online at the journal website (http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11892-016-0734-6). Senior author, Prof. Matthew Griffin of the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway’s School of Medicine comments: “In this article, we have summarised the current state-of-the-art regarding the potential value of MSC infusions in people who are losing kidney function as a result of progressive diabetic kidney disease (DKD). The key messages that come across are that there has been a consistent set of observations in various animal models to indicate that infusion of MSCs favourably modulates the pathological course of DKD through anti-inflammatory and other mechanisms. In some but not all published studies, an added benefit of improved blood glucose levels was also observed. However, while the safety of MSC infusion in humans is now well documented in a range of acute and chronic diseases, there has been very little clinical trial activity to date in DKD and other diabetic complications. Thus, the central aim of NEPHSTROM to conduct a Phase 1b/2a clinical trial of the allogeneic MSC product ORBCEL M® will significantly advance our clinical knowledge in this area. Another aspect of the field that we emphasise in our review is the urgent need to identify measurable factors (biomarkers) in blood or urine that track with the rate of progression of DKD and can serve as early indicators of response to MSC therapy. Ideally, such biomarkers will also provide a quantifiable link to the specific mechanisms of action of the administered cells in the human body. Within the NEPHSTROM project, our research team is developing a panel of candidate biomarker assays with a view to longitudinally tracking these in biological samples from clinical trial subjects at 4 leading European centres.”

Productive NEPHSTROM meeting at Leiden

The NEPHSTROM consortium enjoyed a constructive meeting at the end of May, hosted by Prof. Wim Fibbe and his team at theLeiden University Medical Centre in Leiden. Over the course of the two day meeting, progress was reviewed, plans were refined and preparations for the next six months of collaboration were made.

The photo shows the consortium in the University of Leiden’s historic Pieterskerkplein.

NEPHSTROM Leiden Meeting


NEPHSTROM registered on ClinicalTrials.gov

The NEPHSTROM project has registered its clinical trial on the open-access public clinical trials repository, ClinicalTrials.gov. This is an important step, and ensures that any scientist or member of the public can identity NEPHSTROM and its aims, approach and results. This is valuable for researchers who want to review all trials in a particular disease, or using a particular type of therapy. See the online information here

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