New technologies aim to find revolutionary ways to diagnose, treat and prevent diseases. The second InFLAMES Flagship Corporate Corner of 2023 will focus on the topic from the perspectives of both researchers and companies. The InFLAMES Corporate Corner will take place on 11th May from 12 to 16 at the Visitor and Innovation Centre Joki in Turku. The event is open to all.
The event will be chaired by InFLAMES PI and Academy Research Fellow Maija Hollmén from the University of Turku. She is also one of the founders of Faron Pharmaceuticals. She has recently been appointed Chief Scientific Officer at Faron.
Maija Hollmén says that researchers are not very familiar with the collaboration opportunities offered by companies, new technologies present in them, and how they can make researchers’ job easier. That's why the presenters of the Corporate Corner have been chosen to be researchers and companies whose work may not be familiar to everyone.
- Development of new technologies has the potential to offer huge benefits to the way we conduct research and influence how we diagnose, treat and prevent diseases. Continued research and development of novel technologies broadens our view of the complexity of the human body and helps us in developing more effective treatments for a wide range of diseases," says Hollmén.
Researchers and companies have been invited to the Corporate Corner to share their solutions beneficial to both basic research and drug development. These companies include Brinter, Finnadvance, Suomen Veripalvelu, Gilead, ImaginAb and Olink, among others.
Hollmén considers Corporate Corner to be one of the most important events bringing the academic and business worlds closer together for new collaboration opportunities. Shared understanding of both university-based research and industrial operations facilitates mutually beneficial collaborations.
Stem cell research is moving ahead at a fast pace
Adjunct Professor Elisa Närvä from University of Turku Department of Biomedicine leads a research group studying non-specialized and extremely adaptable cells present in early human development known as pluripotent stem cells. Pluripotent stem cells are capable of differentiating into any cell type of the body, so they have an extremely wide range of medical, industrial and research applications.
- Stem cell research is currently progressing at a very fast pace and new applications are launched almost daily. I hope that my talk will inspire new ideas in the audience for how stem cells could be used for innovative solutions in a wide range of research questions.
Elisa Närvä says that they collaborate with several Finnish and foreign research groups. Interest in stem cells is growing all the time and inquiries about their use are frequent. Närvä stresses that they are constantly looking for new partners and hopes to discuss the possibilities of collaborations with other Corporate Corner participants.
Active research and product development in blood services
The role of the Blood Service as a manufacturer and supplier of blood products to hospital patients is familiar to many, and the most visible part of the Finnish Red Cross Blood Service is indeed its blood donation activities. However, Blood service had been active in research throughout its 75-year history, bringing forth a significant number of innovations and new treatments. Blood Service has a responsibility to conduct research and it is involved in multiple national and international networks in the various areas of blood service operations.
Blood cell research is part of the Blood Service's research activities. Dr. Saara Laitinen is the principal investigator of this strategic priority. She is also the responsible leader of large national Extracellular Vesicle Ecosystem (EVE) consortium. Laitinen is a part of GeneCellNano flagship, which researches and develops, among other things, cell-based treatments.
- The main objective is to determine whether extracellular vesicles (EV) can be used in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases degenerating the central nervous system and cancers. The project involves 13 partners of both research groups and companies. The aim of the Blood Service has been to boost the development of Finnish research in this area, as blood is the most EV-rich body fluid, but to also explore the role of EVs produced by blood cells in existing commercial products - including in potential new ones, says Laitinen.
One of the goals of the research project was to form permanent networking support in Finland and as a result FISEV (Finnish Society of Extracellular Vesicles) has been established. Laitinen is the chairman of the society.
InFLAMES is a joint Flagship project of University of Turku and Åbo Akademi, supported by the Academy of Finland. It aims at identifying new drug development targets and drug development together with biotech and pharmaceutical companies. The Flagship also promotes diagnostics, which help in tailoring appropriate targeted treatments for patients.