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Healthy innovation awarded

30 April 2010

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A University collaboration which has helped reconstruct the cells of human lungs for research into respiratory diseases like asthma has been recognised in the University’s annual Innovation Awards.

The 2010 Innovation Award recognises the successful collaboration between the School of Biosciences and Q Chip, a University spin-out company, which developed a ‘micro-lung’ using human waste tissue retrieved during lung and heart surgery.

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Dr Kelly BéruBé, School of Biosciences, who leads the research said: "I am delighted that the research we’ve developed has been recognised in this way.

"This research, working alongside Q Chip, has enabled us to develop a novel method of growing cells to help generate environments that more closely resemble those experienced in the body, so we can generate conditions that correlate with the results we would expect to see in humans."

The development offers an alternative to the use of animal research. A European Directive that comes into effect in 2013 will ban testing on animals and the marketing of such products and ingredients.

Dr BéruBé added: "There is an urgent need for non-animal alternatives to inhalation. This new solution has a potential to make a huge impact not only into research into respiratory disorders and respiratory toxicology, but also on all areas of research that require realistic and human organ models."

Dr Kelly BeruBe and Ms Claire GibsonDr Kelly BéruBé, School of Biosciences (left) pictured with PhD student Ms Claire Gibson

For Q Chip, the collaboration has carried over to their ongoing programme of Research and Development.

Head of Q Chip’s Research and Development, Dr Daniel Palmer said: "As a result of this project, Q Chip is now able to offer bespoke development programmes to suit the specific needs of other client companies."

A University spin-out company, Q Chip was funded in the initial stages by Cardiff Partnership Fund and in its early development by Finance Wales, Fusion IP and others.

The University Innovation Awards, now in their eleventh year, are an opportunity to celebrate the links and successful collaborations forged between the University and industry.

The 2010 awards are sponsored by Geldards Law Firm, Fusion IP and Finance Wales.

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