At a Glance

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Personalized medicine proposes the customization of healthcare, with decisions and practices being tailored to the individual patient by use of patient-specific information and/or the application of patient-specific cell-based therapies.

The BioBlood project aims to deliver personalised healthcare through a “step change” in the clinical field of haemato-oncology. BioBlood represents an engineered bio-inspired integrated experimental/modelling platform for normal and abnormal haematopoiesis that receives disease & patient input (patient primary cells & patient/disease-specific data) and will produce cellular (red blood cell product) and drug (optimal drug treatment) therapies as its output.

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Blood supply to meet demand (through blood donation registries) is the primary challenge for blood banks internationally and requires significant resources to avoid shortages and ensure safety. An alternative, practical and cost-effective solution to conventional allogeneic donated blood is essential to reduce patient morbidity and mortality, stabilise and guarantee the donor supply, limit multiple donor exposures, reduce risk of infection of known or as yet unidentified pathogens, and ensure a robust and safe turn-around for blood supply management. BioBlood aims to meet this engineering & healthcare challenge by developing a novel in vitro platform for the mass production of red blood cells (RBCs) for clinical use.

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More than $50b (£32b) is spent annually by large pharmaceutical companies to develop and bring new drugs to market, a process which on average takes 13.5 years (in 2007). Most patients diagnosed with leukaemias are unable to tolerate traditional chemotherapy treatments and would particularly benefit from novel agents coming to market – a long, complex and expensive process in its current form. There is therefore a need to optimise current treatment schedules for cancers such as AML to limit toxicities and to improve clinical trial pathways for new drugs to enable personalised healthcare. BioBlood’s integrated (in vitro & in silico) platform would be a powerful tool for clinicians to tailor treatments in a patient-specific and leukaemia-specific chemotherapy schedule by taking into consideration the level of toxicity to the specific individual and treatment efficiency for the specific leukaemia a priori. It would facilitate the systematic design of optimal chemotherapy protocols and enable pharmaceutical companies developing drugs to bring novel therapies to market quicker by expediting clinical trials.

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