Top Sector Life Sciences & Health (LSH) entails a broad scope of disciplines, from pharmaceuticals to medical technology and from healthcare infrastructure to vaccination. To realise its mission – vital citizens in a healthy economy - the Top Sector builds on the strengths of the Dutch LSH sector to address the biggest societal challenges in prevention, cure and care. By funding multidisciplinary public-private partnerships (PPPs) the Top Sector aims to facilitate innovation. Here we give an overview of  a number of funded R&D projects by Top Sector LSH. The page is updated continuously.

Assessment of pancreatic islet growth by automated imaging

Creation of an automated multiwell technology platform to assess pancreatic islet growth

The project aims to create a multiwell technology platform to asses pancreatic islet growth by imaging techniques. This platform can be used to identify targets and screen compounds that are involved in islet proliferation. The project is a collaboration between the Hubrecht Institute, the Leiden University Medical Center and Ocello BV.

Diabetes mellitus is a huge burden to society with more than 1 million people suffering from diabetes mellitus in the Netherlands. A reduced insulinproducing beta cell mass is a key factor in the pathogenesis of almost all types of diabetes mellitus. While for decades treatment has focused on symptomatic treatment in diabetes mellitus, i.e. reducing glucose concentrations without targeting the underlying pathophysiology, there is a strong rationale for specific treatments in the future focusing on replacement (type 1 diabetes) or in vivo regeneration (type 2 diabetes) of beta cell mass.

While multiwell technology platforms for insulin secretion screening exist (relevant for symptomatic treatment),  there is a lack of technology platforms for screening islet growth. We will isolate pancreatic islets from human pancreas. If these islets cannot be used for clinical transplantation and if research consent is available, the islets will be cultured and plated in multiwell plates. High resolution confocal imaging of the islets in the wells will be performed and analysed by specific software. Relevant imaging parameters will be determined after which compounds that have been shown to modulate islet proliferation will be tested.

The deliverables of the project are the incorporation of islets into gel-loaded multiwells, the assessment of relevant imaging parameters and ultimately in the creation of a technology platform which will enable target finding and compound screening directed at islet growth and thus expansion of beta-cell mass.