Neurological diseases: between research, immunotherapy with Cart-T and transfer technology

The Besta Neurological Institute and the Polytechnic of Milan will bring together different labs to work on neurological diseases. Also involved in research for immunotherapy on CAR-T and transfer technology

A new research platform will bring together three laboratories that will work on joint projects of the IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta Foundation and the Polytechnic of Milan to accelerate knowledge on neurological diseases and discover new therapies. It was recently launched by the regional councilor for University, Research and Innovation, Alessandro Fermi, who also outlined the balance of the Agreement between the Lombardy Region and 4 Lombard public IRCCS. Fermi explained: “Since 2020 there has been a collaboration agreement dedicated to the topic of technology transfer which has seen the Lombardy Region, the IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Carlo Besta Foundation, the IRCCS Ca’ Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico Foundation, the IRCCS Istituto Nazionale Fondazione of Tumors and the IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo Pavia Foundation”.

Joint industrial research in life science and transfer technology office

The Agreement, referred to by Fermi, has a total value of 4 million euros, and was co-financed by Lombardy Region with 2 million, from POR FESR 2014-2020 funds.

The Agreement activated two projects: one for industrial research activities, FORCE4CURE – Cellular platforms for the research and development of advanced therapies in life science. The other one, TTO4IRCCS, to establish a joint technology transfer office between the 4 IRCCS. The office aims to translate research results into patents and from these, thanks to industrialization processes, into innovative services and products for citizens. The Joint Office constitutes the starting point for synergies with other entities, and laid the foundations for the establishment of the Foundation for Innovation and Technology Transfer on Life Sciences (FITT) at MIND – Milano Innovation District. Among the results of the TTO4IRCCS project there are the adoption of shared standard regulations and procedures, training on TechTransfer for researchers, 12 proposals for new patents evaluated by the Joint Patent Commission, 7 new standard contractual models and 8 innovative technologies valorised with the identification of potential industrial partners.

The Besta and the international “Lombardia è Ricerca” award

One of the industrial research lines developed involves CAR-T cells for the treatment of solid tumors and chronic pathologies with fibrosis. Within the project financed by the Agreement with the Lombardy Region, a first product has reached the preclinical validation phase. But other gene therapy products are in the running for patent applications. The aim is to achieve the clinical use of CAR-T cells for the solid tumors treatment.

CAR-T cells for the treatment of solid tumors is one of the most promising areas of development of new forms of immunotherapy, which can open up previously unknown avenues of treatment. This is also demonstrated by the awarding of the Lombardia è Ricerca 2023 Prize to two pioneers of these treatments, such as Steve Rosenberg and Carl June, who chose to dedicate 70% of the Prize (700,000 euros) precisely to the development of an alliance with those who, like Besta, is carrying out advanced research on these new cell therapies in our area.

The operation of the new joint TTO was activated precisely on the patent protection procedure of the results achieved during the CAR-T project’s implementation.

The three Besta-PoliMI laboratories: what they do

As regards specifically the projects of the IRCCS Besta and the Polytechnic of Milan, here are the three laboratories involved, presented for the Besta Institute:

LEARN lab – Laboratory of E-Health Technologies and Artificial Intelligence Research in Neurology, will create digital solutions for decentralized evaluation and monitoring of patients suffering from neurological diseases.

MIND lab – Laboratory of coMputational multI-omics of Neurological Disorders, will apply innovative computational approaches for the integration of data originating from genomic analyzes useful for the innovative classification of patients with neurological disorders.

BraiNs Lab – Brain-targeted Nanotechnologies, will develop new advanced therapeutic approaches for the treatment of neurological diseases using nanotechnologies for the transport of drugs, genes and cellular organelles in the nervous system.

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