NUCEL (Cell and Molecular Therapy Center): A Multidisciplinary Center for Translational Research in Brazil

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Abstract

Social and economical development is closely associated with technological innovation and a well-developed biotechnological industry. In the last few years, Brazil's scientific production has been steadily increasing; however, the number of patents is lagging behind, with technological and translational research requiring governmental incentive and reinforcement. The Cell and Molecular Therapy Center (NUCEL) was created to develop activities in the translational research field, addressing concrete problems found in biomedical and veterinary areas and actively searching for solutions by employing a genetic engineering approach to generate cell lines over-expressing recombinant proteins to be transferred to local biotech companies, aiming at furthering the development of a national competence for local production of biopharmaceuticals of widespread use and of life-saving importance. To this end, mammalian cell engineering technologies were used to generate cell lines over-expressing several different recombinant proteins of biomedical and biotechnological interest, namely, recombinant human Amylin/IAPP for diabetes treatment, human FVIII and FIX clotting factors for hemophilia, human and bovine FSH for fertility and reproduction, and human bone repair proteins (BMPs). Expression of some of these proteins is also being sought with the baculovirus/insect cell system (BEVS) which, in many cases, is able to deliver high-yield production of recombinant proteins with biological activity comparable to that of mammalian systems, but in a much more cost-effective manner. Transfer of some of these recombinant products to local Biotech companies has been pursued by taking advantage of the São Paulo State Foundation (FAPESP) and Federal Government (FINEP, CNPq) incentives for joint Research Development and Innovation partnership projects.

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