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On May 17, the yearly biotech conference Knowledge for Growth takes place. VUB TechTransfer participates together with the 5 Flemish university tech offices, known as TTO Flanders, to showcase innovations in biotech. For VUB the In Vitro Toxicology and Dermato-cosmetology (IVTD) research group will present their innovative skin-derived hepatic cell technology to showcase applications relevant for clinical biotechnology companies.


Liver disease represents a serious public health concern due to a high worldwide prevalence combined with poor long-term clinical outcomes, including premature death from liver cirrhosis and liver cancer. Several types of liver diseases, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and drug-induced liver disease (DILI), can potentially affect a large proportion of the population. In particular, the global incidence of NAFLD, which can develop to NASH, is rising at an alarming rate in conjunction with the global prevalence of metabolic and obesity related syndromes.

IVTD’s liver relevant cells are derived from human post-natal skin stem cells and represent a sensitive in vitro model for DILI prediction, applicable for broad pre-clinical drug development programs. In addition, the hSKP-HPC display unique properties, ideal for the modelling NAFLD and NASH. In this context, the cells are applicable to both mechanistic investigations and anti-NASH/NAFLD drug discovery. The cell technology has been shown to compare favorably against a number of gold-standard hepatic cell models currently used by industry, and is being developedfurther towards high throughput screening (HTS) compatibility. 

Want to know more on this top-notch research? Visit us at the TTO Flanders booth or check out IVTD’s website.