PlaqueTec and the Institute’s Flow Cytometry facility have announced a collaboration to develop a bespoke cell phenotyping assay for human blood. The development of this technique will provide data on the types of cells accumulating at coronary disease sites. By combining this information with multi-omics and imaging data, it may be possible to improve the personalised treatment options for managing coronary artery disease (CAD).
PlaqueTec, a commercial bioscience company on the Babraham Research Campus, focuses on understanding the biological mechanisms of CAD to advance the development of precision medicine.
CAD, where the arteries that supply blood to the heart are narrowed or blocked by atherosclerotic plaques, is a leading cause of death globally, resulting in around 68,000 deaths per year in the UK1. Current treatment approaches are general rather than tailored and therefore ineffective for many patients. To address this, PlaqueTec has developed a proprietary technology and data analysis platform to categorise patients and uncover potential biomarkers of coronary vascular function and plaque progression.
“At PlaqueTec, we are committed to improving prospects for patients with CAD. Through this collaboration with the Flow Cytometry Facility at the Babraham Institute, we aim to gain further novel insights into the pathobiology of CAD by identifying and characterising the different cell types accumulating at or near coronary disease sites.” Dr Diane Proudfoot, Chief Scientific Officer, PlaqueTec commented. “We anticipate these studies will help us to better understand CAD on an individual patient level, informing the development of precision medicine approaches to improve the outcome for patients.”
The Institute’s Flow Cytometry facility is one of the UK’s leading facilities and a pioneering hub of the latest flow cytometry technology and expertise. The facility’s agile, responsive, and experienced team provide flow cytometry and cell sorting services to meet the needs of the Institute’s researchers and also support a portfolio of commercial users. As part of the facility’s commitment to remaining at the cutting edge, the team are active in trialling and adopting new technologies and provide training for both technical specialists in other facilities and researchers using flow cytometry.
The collaboration with PlaqueTec is supported by UKRI-BBSRC Campus Collaboration funding awarded by the Babraham Research Campus to support academic-commercial exchange between the Babraham Institute and the commercial research taking place on site, where expertise is combined to accelerate research progress and impact.
The collaborative project aims to utilise the assay to perform cell phenotyping analysis on coronary artery samples obtained from patients in PlaqueTec’s BIOPATTERN trial using the company’s unique sampling device, the Liquid Biopsy System™.
Dr Rachael Walker, Head of the Flow Cytometry Facility at the Babraham Institute added: “We are delighted to collaborate with PlaqueTec to develop a unique cell phenotyping assay that will support its BIOPATTERN trial. The assay validation studies have already supported our teaching courses and staff development, and we look forward to adding this service to our flow cytometry offering at the Babraham Institute.”
Derek Jones, Chief Executive of Babraham Research Campus, said: "The UKRI-BBSRC Campus Collaboration Fund was initiated last year to give individuals and companies on Campus access to a unique tranche of funding not available elsewhere. We are therefore delighted to see the collaboration of PlaqueTec and the Flow Cytometry Facility at the Babraham Institute come to fruition supported by an award from this fund and look forward to seeing their research unfold.”
1 Source: British Heart Foundation UK Factsheet, January 2024. Data referenced is for coronary heart disease figures. Coronary heart disease is another term for ischaemic heart disease and coronary artery disease.
For PlaqueTec: Esmé Walters, Zyme Communications, +44(0) 7377 543244, firstname.lastname@example.org
For the Babraham Institute: Dr Louisa Wood, Head of Communications, email@example.com
Image description 3D illustration of red blood cells flowing in a blood vessel. Shutterstock.
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