Feasibility of a secretome factory to treat paediatric interstitial lung disease

Duration: April 1st 2023 – September 31st, 2024 – Funded by ERC-2022-PoC1 – G.A. nr 101068512

Project abstract

Despite their astonishing clinical success on adults, there are still no mesenchymal stem cell (MSC)-based products approved for paediatric use. Preclinical studies support a potential beneficial role of MSCs therapy to prevent progression of diseases called childhood interstitial lung disease (ChILD). However, MSCs still suffer from the cost of culturing and storage and lack of cell populations standardization for quality and quantity, donor-related factors, protocols for isolation, in vitro expansion, and lastly delivery procedures and dosing. Our goal is to standardize and automatize the production of MSCs secretome and validate it for its translation to paediatric use to treat ChILD. We will explore the feasibility of a “secretome factory” based on (1)  expansion of MSCs in a micro scaffold called nichoid and (2) long-term culture of MSC for secretome production in an optically monitored bioreactor called MOAB-nichoid.

To achieve these goals, in this PoC we will validate the main key performance indicators of the production process and prepare a go-to-market strategy for the secretome biodrug. Our outcomes will be: 1) a MOAB-nichoid production line, with total costs compatible with its industrial production and marketing by a pharmaceutical company; 2) standard operating procedures (SOP) for the production process in full compliance with the GMPs in the sector of cell and tissue therapy products (PTC); 3) secretome quality parameters obtained through a comprehensive characterization; and 4) demonstration in vitro of the safety and therapeutic efficacy in the pathologies studied. The outcome of this project will provide a national and international reference point for the industrial production of MSCs secretome to treat ChILD and then extending this approach to other pathologies, also affecting adult patients, including chronic intestinal disease and osteoarticular diseases.

Press, January 20, 2024



Donnaloja F,  Raimond MT, Messa L, Barzaghini B, Carnevali F, Colombo E, Mazza D, Martinelli C, Boeri L, Rey F, Cereda C, Osellame R, Cerullo G, Carelli S, Soncini M, Jacchetti E. 3D photopolymerized microstructured scaffolds influence nuclear deformation, nucleo/cytoskeletal protein organization, and gene regulation in mesenchymal stem cells. APL Bioeng. 1 September 2023; 7 (3):036112. Repository link: