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We live in an era when the further development of technical progress and humankind as a whole depends on new scientific discoveries. It has been estimated that investment in science in the amount of EUR 7 billion / year in the beginning of XXI century may cause an increase in GDP of 200 billion euro / year already in 2030′s. But for the effective solution of complex scientific problems as well as for the implementation of high-tech projects the integration of scientists worldwide is necessary.

Association of cryobanks of the umbilical cord blood, other human tissues and cells, established in 2013 in Ukraine, brings together leading biotech companies and licensed clinical cell therapy clinics to develop jointly this innovative industry and improve the effectiveness of treatment of serious diseases with the use of cell and gene technologies. One of the strategic directions of the Association is to strengthen international cooperation between national and foreign medical research institutions and companies working in the field of biotechnologies.

Aimed at promotion of research and international scientific cooperation in the European Union so-called framework programs were created, funding strategically important transnational projects in the field of health. The European Union grants for research projects, contributing to significant advances in medicine, are awarded on a competitive basis. In 2013, a grant of 6,1 million euro was awarded for the implementation of the international research project THYMISTEM under the 7th Framework Programme of the European Union.

Institute of Cell Therapy and Institute of Genetic and Regenerative Medicine of the National Academy of Medical Sciences of Ukraine is involved in the realization of this project from the side of the Association of cryobanks.

At present, the problem of immunodeficiency disorders is extremely important in developed and developing countries. It is known that the central immunity organ thymus plays crucial role in the restoration of normal function of the immune system. However, this is the first organ that degenerates in adults and in addition to that the thymus gland is extremely sensitive to a number of cytotoxic factors, such as chemotherapy, the action of various toxins, unfavorable environment. It was revealed that neonatal thymic tissue transplantation can lead to the restoration of immune function, but limited availability of tissue grafts of this organ does not allow the wide spread of this therapeutic approach and its introduction into clinical practice. However, it was shown that epithelial cells of the thymus are able to reproduce all subpopulations of thymic epithelial cells. But for now, in the world no protocols for the laboratory cultivation of thymic tissue were developed.

ThymiStem_PMS_RubineRedTherefore, the aim of the project THYMISTEM is to develop robust protocols for long-term cultivation of human thymic cells «in vitro» and to create approaches to the use of these cells in immunocompromised patients. The aim of the project also includes the creation of optimized protocols for the cryostorage of thymic stromal cells.

THYMISTEM combines a strong pan-European team of cell biologists and immunologists, specialists in the field of tissue engineering and cells and tissues banking.

6 countries — Estonia, Croatia, Turkey, Czech Republic, USA and Ukraine are participating in this project. Coordinator of the program is the University of Edinburgh (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland).

For the implementation of the project the Ukrainian participants create the Ukrainian Scientific and Research Center of Immunology and Biomedical Technology.

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The Ukrainian institutions involved in the project are: Open International University of Human Development “Ukraine”, Institute of Genetic and Regenerative Medicine of the National Academy of Medical Sciences of Ukraine Institute Heart, Institute of Cell Therapy.

Thus, successful implementation of the international research project THYMISTEM will create a pre-clinical fundamental for the development of a new direction of cell therapy – transplantation of thymic stem cells organoid for the restoration of thymus and the immune system of patients.