Published: 29-05-2024 13:12 | Updated: 30-05-2024 15:30

Karolinska ATMP Center offers researchers and clinicians new opportunities

Researcher in lab environment working with a test tube.
Research in lab environment on campus Flemingsberg. Photo: Erik Flyg.

During an open meeting on 17 May at KI campus Flemingsberg, employees from KI and Karolinska University Hospital could hear more about the Karolinska ATMP Center and what it offers researchers or clinicians working with drugs for advanced therapies. Matti Sällberg, Dean of KI South and acting director of the center, answers three questions about the opportunities available.

Why was Karolinska ATMP Center established?

"Karolinska Institutet and Karolinska University Hospital have been at the absolute forefront of ATMP (Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products) treatments for both children and adults for several years. Our collaboration on cell and gene therapies has a long tradition and we are so far the only ATMP center in Sweden in having the entire chain from basic research, process development, production and clinical application in place, where a large part of the activity consists of clinical trials. However, the links between the parts are not entirely optimal. The center aims to create the best possible conditions for all parts of the chain. This will facilitate the translation of basic research and the implementation of new cell, gene and tissue therapies."

What do KI and Karolinska University Hospital want with the center?

Matti Sällberg
Matti Sällberg. Photo: Erik Flyg

“Our focus is to develop new treatment principles in ATMP through basic research to treat both rare diseases and common diseases such as cancer. We will develop and establish technologies for production of advanced therapies and further advance those therapies that are already close to clinical use in phase I and phase II studies,” says Matti Sällberg.

"The projects range from DNA vaccines developed in less than three years, to perinatal treatment of osteogenesis imperfecta with mesenchymal stem cells that took between ten and fifteen years to develop, and NK cell-based therapies based on world-leading research from KI."

"Karolinska University Hospital already offers treatment with both market-approved ATMPs and ATMPs within the framework of clinical studies sponsored by both academia and pharmaceutical companies, but the ambition is that this will increase in the future to benefit more patients."

"The key is to be able to offer patients cell, gene and tissue therapies to improve their quality of life despite disease, and in some cases even cure diseases that previously could not be cured with traditional treatments. We are also part of the national ATMP research school where we are responsible for the course All steps from research to GMP (good manufacturing practice) and we will host internships for several of the PhD students."

When should I contact you at the Karolinska ATMP Center?

Portrait of Ewa Ellis.
Ewa Ellis. Photo: Nazanin Jannesarahmadi.

"You can contact us if you want to get involved in any part of the ATMP process, if you are writing an application, starting a study or just want more general information and support along the way. We can guide you through the process and advise you on, for example, what permits are needed. On our website, which we are currently building, you can find contact details for ATMP coordinator Ewa Ellis, for the operational management team consisting of those responsible for R&D, production and clinical application, and for me as acting director,” concludes Matti Sällberg.