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.

Creating an optimal source for human liver cells

CAR4BAL: Creating an optimal source for human liver cells by overexpressing the constitutive androstane receptor in human liver cell line HepaRG

In the CAR4BAL project the Academic Medical Center (AMC) has joined forces with the companies Hep-Art Medical Devices B.V. and Biopredic International in a public-private partnership to generate a source for safe and highly functional human liver cells.

Human liver cells are highly needed for testing medicine toxicity to the liver, scientific research to combat liver diseases and infections, like malaria, and as biocomponent in bioartificial livers (BALs). BALs consist of bioreactors with liver cells that are temporarily connected to liver failure patients for liver support. The currently applied human liver cells are either functional, but scarce, or highly available, but low in functionality, and therefore the medicine safety testing, and scientific research of liver diseases are not optimal and BALs are still not available. Currently this costs many lives. For instance, liver toxicity of prescribed medicines is responsible for 5% of all hospital admissions and 50% of all acute liver failures.

The CAR4BAL project will produce a new cell line with DNA encoding a regulator of liver maturation, the constitutive androstane receptor (CAR) at a defined position in the DNA of the human liver cell line HepaRG. The performance of the new HepaRG-CAR cell line will be optimized and evaluated for drug safety testing and BAL application. Furthermore regulatory demands for clinical BAL application will be evaluated, and a commercialization strategy will be delineated.

The result of the CAR4BAL project will be a HepaRG-CAR line with improved safety, functionality and economic profile, which establishes a foundation for exploiting HepaRG-CAR cells as source for human liver cells. We expect that this will significantly improve health-related quality of life of citizens, and strengthen the position of the involved companies and their academic and commercial partners.