The National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) launches its new five-year strategy today (Tuesday) to accelerate progress in cancer research through collaboration. The strategy will help cancer research funders to maximise opportunities to improve the health and quality of life of people who have had, or may one day develop, cancer. It will also ensure research continues to drive improvements in prevention, treatment, and patient care and support.

Cancer survival rates have doubled in the last 40 years and research has been central to this success. However, many challenges lay ahead that are too vast for one organisation to tackle alone. The NCRI Partnership will work together to achieve four goals: to accelerate the translation of cancer research into clinical practice, to improve the quality and relevance of research related to cancer, to address major opportunities and challenges in cancer research and to ensure a coordinated portfolio of cancer research in the UK.

Around 2.5 million people are living with, or have experienced, cancer across the UK and this number is expected to rise to around 4 million by 2030 as the population ages and research develops better treatments to help more people live longer with and beyond cancer.

Karen Kennedy, Director of the NCRI, said: “There has never been a more urgent need for collaboration to fund research that addresses the complex needs of cancer patients at every stage of their journey through and beyond cancer. Research is making life-changing advances in cancer treatments, but the long-term effects of cancer can have a far-reaching impact, affecting people’s health and quality of life.”

The NCRI Partnership enables collaboration between 19 of the biggest funders of cancer research from the UK’s charity and government sectors. It facilitates more than 250 meetings per year, to bring together the right clinicians, scientists, research nurses, patient experts and other specialists to tackle the big issues facing cancer research.

Its activities include co-ordinating a Clinical Trials Unit Group, where trial specialists collaborate to identify needs common to all cancer clinical trials, and its Clinical Studies Groups – a series of advisory groups spanning all cancer types that bring together UK experts to accelerate research to improve cancer treatments, and help those affected by cancer to live well.

One of the NCRI’s strategic goals is to seize opportunities and address challenges in cancer-related research, and as part of this it will encourage research that meets the needs of people living with and beyond cancer. In partnership with the James Lind Alliance, its new initiative in ‘Living with and Beyond Cancer’ will mean people affected by cancer and clinical health care professionals can pose the questions they feel are unanswered about living with or beyond cancer, so they can be addressed through research. People affected by cancer and health care professionals will work together to prioritise the questions in to a top-ten. The NCRI will also be working with researchers to help ensure research proposals to address the top-ten questions are successfully funded.

It’s through this kind of collaboration that NCRI will help improve the health and quality of life of cancer patients and the wider public.

Baroness Delyth Morgan, chair of the NCRI, said: “Collaboration is at the centre of the NCRI’s new strategy, ensuring patients, health care professionals and researchers all have a voice. Working together will ensure the cancer research community overcomes the enormous challenges facing them in this uncertain political and economic environment.”

The NCRI partnership was set up to facilitate collaboration between cancer research funders and to address gaps and challenges in research that wouldn’t be possible for one organisation to tackle alone. It comprises 19 key funders in cancer research across the four UK nations which, collectively, have spent more than £6 billion pounds on cancer research since the partnership was established in 2001.


A high-fat diet and obesity turn “hero” virus-fighting liver immune cells “rogue,” leading to insulin resistance, a condition that often results in type 2 diabetes, according to research published today in Science Immunology.

Using cells from mice and human livers, Toronto General Hospital Research Institute researchers demonstrated for the first time how under specific conditions, such as obesity, liver CD8+ T cells, white blood cells which play an important role in the control of viral infections, become highly activated and inflammatory, reprogramming themselves into disease-driving cells.

Scientists have been trying for many years to discover why the liver continues to pump out too much glucose in people with diabetes. This paper sheds light on the markers of activation and inflammation in CD8+ T cells and the Interferon-1 pathway which helps stimulate their function.

The research is entitled, “Type 1 Interferon Responses Drive Intrahepatic T cells to Promote Metabolic Syndrome,” by first authors Magar Ghazarian, a former graduate student, Dr. Xavier Revelo, a post-doctoral fellow in the lab of Dr. Daniel Winer, and senior authors Dr. Shawn Winer, Laboratory Medicine, St. Michael’s Hospital, Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, University of Toronto, and Dr. Daniel Winer, Diabetes Research Group and the Department of Pathology, Toronto General Hospital Research Institute and the Departments of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology and Immunology, University of Toronto.

“We found that under conditions of obesity and a high-fat diet, the cells that typically strengthen our immune system by killing viruses and pathogens instead increase blood sugar. They become pathogenic and worsen insulin resistance,” explains Dr. Dan Winer. In fact, the normal function of the immune cells becomes misdirected. The pathways they would typically use to fight infection create inflammation, unleashing a chemical cascade which impacts insulin and glucose metabolism.     

“The immune system in the liver represents a key missing link in our understanding of how the liver malfunctions in obesity to dysregulate sugar levels,” adds Dr. Revelo.

In the study, researchers fed mice a high-fat diet, 60 per cent of which was saturated fat, for 16 weeks. Compared with normal chow diet-fed mice, the high-fat diet mice showed worsened blood sugar, increased triglycerides, a type of fat (lipid) in the blood, and a substantial increase in the numbers of CD8+ T cells in the liver.   

Instead of responding to viruses or other foreign invaders in the body, the activated CD8+ T cells launch an inflammatory response to fat, and to bacterial components that migrate to the liver from the gut through the blood.

The activated T-cells divide rapidly, pumping out increased numbers of cytokines, proteins that assist them in an active and excessive immune response.  This pro-inflammatory response in turn interferes with normal metabolism in the liver, specifically jamming up or blocking insulin signaling to the liver cells.

Since the liver stores and manufactures glucose or sugar depending upon the body’s need, the hormone insulin signals whether the liver should store or release glucose. This system keeps circulating blood sugar levels in check. If that signal is disrupted or blocked, the liver continues to make more sugar, pouring it into the bloodstream. If the liver is over-producing glucose, it becomes difficult to regulate blood sugar.

“This response never manifested itself until humans started to eat high-sugar, high-fat, high-calorie diets,” says Magar Ghazarian, now a medical student in Ireland.

Adds Dr. Shawn Winer: “We’re moving from studying diabetes as a metabolic syndrome – a combination of nutritional and hormonal imbalances – to include the role of the immune system and inflammation. That’s the developing link. Inflammation is emerging to be a major mediator of insulin resistance.”

Insulin resistance is a pathological condition linked to obesity, in which cells fail to respond normally to the hormone insulin which helps the body metabolize glucose. This results in poor absorption of glucose by cells, causing a buildup of sugar in the blood. Long-term insulin resistance eventually leads to diabetes.

The findings were confirmed in genetically-modified mice, as well as in human liver cells.

The researchers found that in genetically-modified mice lacking Interferon-1, who were also fed a high-fat diet, the CD8+ T cells did not produce an inflammatory response, and the mice had near normal blood sugar levels.

In further investigations of human liver cells from nearly 50 donor tissues of humans with varying degrees of body mass index (BMI) and liver fat, higher levels of CD8+ T cells were linked with higher levels of blood sugar or more advanced fatty liver disease. Donor tissues were obtained from Saint Louis University Hospital, Washington University School of Medicine and Mid-American Transplant Services from St. Louis and University Health Network.

The researchers note that CD8 + T cells could potentially be used as markers for the progression of fatty liver disease, which is expected to become the leading indication for liver transplantation within the next one or two decades. 

Type 2 diabetes is one of the fastest growing diseases in Canada with more than 60,000 new cases yearly. Nine out of 10 people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes. Being overweight or obese is an important risk factor for diabetes. It is estimated that 3.5 million, or about 9 per cent, of Canadians have diabetes.

The study was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Canadian Diabetes Association, the J.P. Bickell Foundation, and the Ontario Ministry of Research, Innovation & Science.

Nemera announces its participation in the European Project Cupido (Cardio Ultraefficient nanoParticles for Inhalation of Drug Products)

The nano-revolution reaches the heart: the EU-funded project Cupido will foster the translation of nanomedical applications toward the cardiac field

Cardiovascular diseases, such as myocardial infarct and heart failure, represent a societal burden, accounting for more than 30% of deaths globally and spending yearly ~190 billion € in European healthcare. The chronic treatment of patients leads only to short-term benefits since the conventional therapies show several weak points.

The available drug-delivery methods, oral and intravenous, allow the drug to circulate systematically in the blood stream causing several side-effects and reducing its efficacy. Later, during the end-stages of the disease, the administration might become even more invasive, employing catheters or implantable pumps.

This highlights the urgent need to develop new patient-friendly therapeutic strategies that are more efficient, safe and heart-specific.

Nemera is proud to contribute to the EU-funded project Cupido, started in February 2017. It proposes an innovative solution: the application of nanotechnologies to the cardiovascular field. Cupido aims to hit the core of the cardiovascular disease, developing inhalable nanoparticles that can deliver as simple as breathing a therapeutic directly to the diseased heart. Nanoparticles are extremely tiny, almost 1 million times smaller than a grain of sand in size and far too small to see with conventional microscopes. Exploiting such a tiny system as a route of administration can revolutionize the cardiovascular field, becoming the first non-invasive and heart-specific therapeutic approach.

To achieve the goal, the Cupido consortium is working to develop biocompatible and biodegradable nanoparticles that can self-assemble and encapsulate drugs (novel or available) in a suitable format for the treatment of cardiovascular disease. The nanoparticles, once inhaled, will translocate through the lungs and fast reach the heart, where the drug will be finally released on the site of interest. The heart-specificity will be ensured thanks to chemical and magnetic guidance, reducing the chances of adverse side effects and lowering the required amounts of therapeutic compound.

The role of Nemera in this consortium will be the development of the devices for the administration of the nanoparticules by inhalation to the heart.

The EU-based consortium, composed of 6 academic research groups, 5 SMEs, 2 industries, and 1 pharmaceutical company, gathers a vast array of expertise and joins cutting-edge research with pre-clinical experience and industrial manufacturing. The 4-year project, funded with 6M € under the EU Horizon 2020 Framework Programme, aims to proof the preclinical feasibility of the nanotherapy, preparing the way for future clinical trials.


  • Nemera
  • CNR – National Research Council of Italy
  • Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin
  • Simula Research Laboratory AS
  • Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine
  • BET solution IN S.r.l
  • Cambridge Innovation Technologies Consulting Ltd
  • Sanofi-Aventis Recherche & Developpement
  • FIN-CERAMICA Faenza S.p.A.
  • L.I.F.E. Corporation S.A.
  • PlumeStars S.r.l.

Find CUPIDO on the web at

Plastic injection for innovative Medical Devices

Specialized in manufacture of thermoplastics medical device, Faiveley Plast’s Pharma division continues to grow by cultivating its policy of innovation and co-development. In particular, the division developed a single-use operating kit for foot surgery for Novastep Company.

Faiveley Plast Pharma relies on Eudica plant, based in Annecy, to support the development of its clients in orthopedics and implantology (knee, hip, shoulder or foot prostheses …). The company draws new know-hows from the wide range of solutions already offered by the Faiveley Plast group, in terms of processes such as overmoulding or the integration of electronics adapted to the medical environment, as well as plastics Innovations such as PETG, Ixef, etc.

Innovation and co-development are deeply ingrained in the company, which has resulted recently in the success of a single-use surgical kit for foot surgery for Novastep. Faiveley Plast Pharma has also accompanied another company for its range of special PET tubes and caps and several other components.

This constant quest of search for technological excellence also concerns quality with the recent addition of new services of sealing control by hyperbaric chamber and laser engraving.

The year 2017 will see new innovative applications such as the overmolding of implantable probes for medical imaging. A project that combines constraints of biocompatibility, sealing and reliability of the electronic part of the device.

To be seen on D12 booth at Intermeditech 2017.

Almac Group Announces Further Global Expansion as it Secures New Premises in Republic of Ireland

Craigavon based global contract pharmaceutical development and manufacturing organisation, Almac Group, has secured new premises in Dundalk, County Louth to support its ongoing global expansion plans in response to increased client demand.

Almac will make a £ multimillion investment in the new facility at IDA Business Park.  The expansion has been supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through IDA Ireland, Ireland’s inward investment promotion agency.

The facility will be utilised by Almac Pharma Services and Almac Clinical Services, both of which are registered to operate in the Republic of Ireland. The new premises increases the Group’s European footprint by 32,000sq ft and provides continued presence within the European Union in the long term.

This investment comes just weeks after Almac confirmed ambitious plans to expand its operations at its global Headquarters in Northern Ireland with the construction of a new laboratory and additional office facilities. The company simultaneously announced investment at its North American site creating an additional 300 new, full time jobs. These investments will see an increase of Almac’s global headcount to over 5,000 by the end of 2017.

Alan Armstrong, CEO Almac Group commented:  “This latest investment in Dundalk is a further example of Almac’s ambitious global expansion plans and will deliver up to an additional 100 new jobs within the first two years. This news comes in addition to our recent announcement of a £27m investment at our global Headquarter site in Craigavon, our US operations and our European facility in Athlone. All of this is evidence of Almac’s commitment to provide best-in-class products and services to our clients across the world and we would like to thank all those who have supported us to date.”

Welcoming the investment by Almac, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor said: “This is a very exciting project for Dundalk and builds on the strong cluster of multinational companies who have very successfully located in that town in recent years and who have found it a great base from which to promote their sales into other EU Member States.  Ireland’s expertise in the Pharma sector is unrivalled, with virtually all the major international players having operations here, thus generating synergies and opportunities for new companies investing with us. These additional 100 jobs to be provided are very welcome and we look forward to a long and mutually beneficial engagement with Almac into the future”.

Martin Shanahan, CEO, IDA Ireland said “Almac’s decision to expand into Dundalk provides the company with certainty of access to the European Union in the long term– this certainty of access is an increasingly important selling point for Ireland as we look to win business for Ireland.  IDA Ireland will continue to promote Ireland as an ideal location for companies from a range of sectors including pharmaceuticals, IT and financial services that are looking to ensure that they have a presence in the European single market.”   

This investment strengthens Almac’s existing presence in the Republic of Ireland following the acquisition of Arran Chemical Company facility in Athlone in 2015. The facility has expanded the company’s biocatalysis services, which is part of Almac’s Sciences Business Unit.

Catalent Expands Kansas City Clinical Storage & Secondary Packaging Capabilities To Meet Growing Demand For Cold Chain Services

Catalent Pharma Solutions, the leading global provider of advanced delivery technologies and development solutions for drugs, biologics and consumer health products, announced that it had completed an expansion project at its Kansas City, Missouri, facility to significantly increase controlled-temperature storage capabilities for its clinical supply business.

The expansion has added 70,000 cubic feet of storage (2-8 degrees Celsius) at the site, representing a five-fold increase in controlled-temperature capacity. This is made up of a combination of both pallet and high density storage options to increase flexibility. In order to support growing customer demand, two secondary cold packaging areas have been added, with the option to add more as needed.

“Customers have benefitted from our Kansas City campus’ integrated analytical, oral solid manufacturing, and clinical supply services, and now we can offer them expanded cold storage and packaging services as well,” commented Tom Moon, General Manager of Clinical Supply Services at the site. “In the past 18 months, we seen an increase in the numbers of both large and small customers, and to meet this growing demand have nearly doubled our clinical supply workforce, as well as introducing additional shifts in both packaging and distribution.”

Catalent’s 450,000 square feet Kansas City facility provides a range of fully integrated support services, from development and analytical support through to packaging and distribution. In 2015, the site completed an investment project that expanded its high-potent and cytotoxic clinical drug packaging capabilities.

Catalent has also recently announced investment and expansions to its workforce in its clinical supply network at Bolton and Bathgate in the U.K., and in Singapore.

Sanner passes 60 million Euro mark in 2016

“Once again, 2016 was a very successful year for Sanner. Compared to the previous year, we were able to increase our total turnover by 6.9 percent,” says Dirk Mähr, Managing Director of Sanner GmbH. “This continuous growth, as well as the numerous developments and investments show that we are well prepared for the future”, says Ralf Tiemann, Managing Director Sanner Kunshan China.

Investments included an exchange of most machines for Sanner products in Bensheim, Germany. “The increase in automation and the acquisition of new production machines contribute to an increase in capacity and efficiency,” says Mähr. In the coming years, Sanner will consistently expand its portfolio for capsules and desiccant packaging.


The company has also strengthened the range of services and developments of customer-specific products with the Sanner Atmo Guard System® and the IDP-Process®, which was recently introduced at Pharmapack Europe. The IDP-Process® meets the growing need for customized, holistic packaging concepts for pharmaceuticals and medical devices. Customers receive individual packaging solutions with a design that not only meets the highest requirements, but which is also suited for large-scale serial production, while fulfilling all technical and regulatory demands.

The expansion of the cleanroom capacities in Kunshan, China, focused on efficiency and product safety. Since February 2017, 200 additional square meters of production space are available at the site. However, Sanner does not rest on its laurels: “The past years’ successful business results and our excellent future prospects in Asia will require continuous capacity expansions over the coming years,” says Ralf Tiemann. Upon completion of the second construction phase at the end of the first half-year, the company will be able to produce in 2,700 square meters of cleanroom space.

A great deal has also happened at the production site in Hungary: on one hand, new employees could be recruited to strengthen the team. On the other hand, the sites in Bensheim and Budapest are cooperating more closely to establish a broader platform for future growth projects in Europe. “With these numerous portfolio and capacity expansions, we are sustainably investing in the future of our production sites”, Dirk Mähr summarizes. “This way, Sanner is well positioned for further growth.”

Aptar Pharma is delighted to welcome delegates to RDD Europe 2017, which they’ve co-organized with RDD Online since 2005.

In addition to the high-quality scientific program at RDD Europe, Aptar Pharma will be hosting a joint workshop with Propeller Health on Wednesday, April 26. Entitled “Using Connected pMDIs to Monitor Inhaler Use and Drive Better Quality of Care,” they will discuss the findings of recently conducted user studies with their integrated connected pMDI. Three 60-minute interactive workshops will be held from 2:00-6:00 pm.


Photo Courtesy of Aptar Pharma

During the conference, stop by Exhibit Table #25 and experience first-hand why Aptar Pharma is your trusted partner in connected health. Speak to their experts and discover Aptar Pharma’s proprietary portfolio of electronic and connected inhaler devices, moving from drug delivery devices to improved healthcare outcomes. Demonstrations of their technology will be available subject to schedule availability.