One of the most devastating skin diseases, epidermolysis bullosa, is a genetic disease without cure and with too many variants yet to be fully understood. In Portugal there are around 84 registered cases, and 63% of patients have been diagnosed with a moderate to severe type. Considering that Gene2skin aims to fulfil the gap that UMINHO has regarding systems to perform genetic engineering and/or gene therapy and improve the knowledge on cellular and molecular mechanisms associated to skin diseases, UMINHO have contact Portuguese branch of DEBRA, an international Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB) patient support group in order to understand how skin regeneration strategies can help patients suffering from the disease.
The recent awarding to Alexandra P. Maruqes from the University of Minho was featured on several national news outlets: http://expresso.sapo.pt/sociedade/2016-12-13-Cinco-cientistas-ganham-bolsas-milionarias-do-Conselho-Europeu-de-Investigacao
UMINHO members of Gene2Skin Project participated in CHEM2NATURE first school. CHEM2NATURE is also a Twinning Project and as its main focus is in a different area from Gene2Skin, it is capable of complementing the scientific objectives of the current project.
UMINHO participated in IFATS meeting, which is a conference attended mostly by plastic surgeons and therefore it was highly relevant to present the work that is being carried out to this community. The work that was presented in the three oral communications referred to the use adipose tissue as a source of cells for skin regenerative purposes focusing on the control of the cell signalling, as envisaged by Gene2Skin.
UMINHO participated in this is a heavily industry-driven meeting, where they were able to interact with several research-based companies and understand better the path from the bench to a marketable product.
2016 Gene2Skin conference (Guimarães, Portugal) that was organized back-to-back with the TERMSTEM meeting that is traditionally a more industry-driven meeting. Among the companies invited were Novadip (Belgium), Poietis (France) and Cytograft (US) whose focus coincides with the scientific strategy of UMINHO in the scope of Gene2skin.
Chronic wounds and in particular diabetic foot ulcers have terrible consequences in the quality of life of patients and significantly high mortality associated. It is also a concern of Gene2Skin Project the progress in chronic wounds research towards regeneration. The Portuguese Association of Podiatrists determination and clinical practice in different local hospitals in the Diabetic Foot Ulceration, offers a well-integrated vision of the treatments in this field.
In September 2016, members from TERG (RCSI) put on a display to demonstrate the research being carried out in the group, on the first day of the National Ploughing Championships (Sept 20th – 22nd) in Tullamore, Co. Offaly. The TERG stand was part of the AMBER display in the SFI tent where SFI-funded researchers and centres from all across Ireland were represented. Over 280,000 people attended the event across all three days. Highlighted our research into bone and cartilage tissue engineering and included mentions for DRIVE, AMCARE and Gene2Skin consortiums.
The first Gene2skin progress meeting was held at King’s College London on the 14th and 15th of July of 2016. Professor Fiona Watt and Simon Broad organized the meeting and welcomed all the partners. There were lengthy but productive discussions regarding scientific and logistic ways to achieve the project’s objectives.
The Regenerative Medicine International Symposium on tissue and wound healing held in RCSI Bahrain on May 5th 2016 and featuring keynotes from TERG’s Prof Garry Duffy and Prof Fergal O’Brien appeared on the news in Bahrain: