Description of the Action
Biomedical research has significantly advanced in the recent years thanks, in part, to the discovery of human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs), the development of CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing and the possibility of generating specific differentiation systems and more complex in vitro organ-like structures called organoids. These technologies have become key players in investigating disease modelling, embryology and for novel regenerative therapeutic approaches that currently enter first clinical trials.
Core facilities in European research centers and universities providing services in these fields are becoming a reference hub for know-how for these technologies. Furthermore, they establish initial quality control standards and homogenize procedures to enhance reproducibility in biomedical research. However, one of the major challenges for core facilities is to keep track of all advancements in cutting-edge technologies.
New protocols, reagents and tools continuously develop and need to be tested. Isolated technical platforms cannot follow the fast-moving technology pace. Therefore, there is an urgent need to join forces and link these core facilities to harmonize methodologies used to increase the overall reproducibility of the results produced in different labs, from different institutions within Europe and to increase their impact.
CorEuStem is composed of experts in stem cell, differentiation, organoids and gene editing technologies with the aim of joining forces and establishing the first European network for harmonizing procedures and protocols, to organise joint training schools for implementing new cutting-edge technologies emerging in the field and to become a reference point in stem cells, differentiation, organoids and gene editing in Europe and beyond.
The Core objective of the CorEuStem consortium will be to establish a validated set of protocols, procedures and tools to provide efficient benchmarking, quality control and intensive training.
Human PSC technologies have advanced rapidly over the past 20 years. Currently, in Europe, core facilities and laboratories with expertise in these technologies are concentrated in a few countries. It is predicted that in the next few years, most of the European countries will establish laboratories and core facilities focused on hPSC technologies.
One of the major challenges for core facilities is to keep track, evaluate and implement cutting-edge technologies. There is therefore a need to link core facilities and laboratories together to develop consensus methodologies to be adopted as best practice by the stem cell community to increase the overall reproducibility and comparability of outputs from laboratories in Europe.
The network will work towards delivering these objectives. Challenges that Core facilities working with stem cells, organoids and gene editing face and that the network will be able to address are:
In the past 12 years, experimental approaches used in biomedical research have been reshaped by the discovery of human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), the development of CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing technology and the possibility of generating in vitro organ-like structures called organoids.
A challenge in the adoption and execution of these complex technologies lies in the Action’s ability to design robust protocols in these areas, establish quality control standards and provide specific training. The iPSC core facilities are at the forefront of these dependencies. The value of iPSC cores comes from their skillsets and purpose:
- cores have to implement, optimize and establish robust protocols and quality control standards that will work on every pluripotent cell line they are required to work with and
- cores have to train their own staff and staff in research labs, often with no prior knowledge for work with pluripotent-stem cell-based projects.