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Press release - for immediate release

26 January 2012

TAP Biosystems’ Project to Manufacture 3D Tissue Equivalents - Develops Potential Cell Therapy for Corneal Surface Disease

TAP Biosystems, a leading supplier of innovative automation and consumables for life science applications, is pleased to announce that its Technology Strategy Board funded project with UCL scientists has made a significant advance towards developing a tissue-engineered, biomimetic cornea as a therapy.

Since 2008, TAP has been collaborating with two teams of scientists at UCL led by tissue engineer, Professor Robert Brown at the Tissue Repair and Engineering Centre (TREC) and by Professor Julie Daniels at the Institute of Ophthalmology. Research undertaken by Professor Brown and TAP has demonstrated that RAFT can also be used to create a wide range of different human tissues, quickly and reproducibly. Professor Daniels’ work and two subsequent projects have shown that RAFT creates biomimetic corneal tissue which is structurally and functionally very similar to normal human cornea and has the potential to significantly improve the success rates of cornea repair surgery.

These ground-breaking research projects used an innovative method of tissue production (RAFT™) to create tissue equivalents that closely mimic the cells’ in vivo environment. This patented process, developed by Professor Brown at UCL, uses collagen (the major component of extracellular matrix) to produce tissue equivalents, simply and rapidly.

Professor Daniels explained: “This project has advanced our understanding of what is required to engineer a tissue in the laboratory for patient transplantation. This is exciting because it provides a real prospect for treating patients with blinding corneal surface disease using a stem cell populated tissue equivalent that is simply, quickly and reproducibly prepared.”

Dr Rosemary Drake, CSO at TAP Biosystems stated: “This is a very successful conclusion to our Technology Strategy Board collaborative projects. In addition to the grant funding they have provided, TAP is investing significantly in this innovative, new process and has licensed the RAFT technology. Going forward we are excited about the impact RAFT will have on developing novel regenerative medicine therapies and realistic tissues for drug discovery.”
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