The Biotechnologies Centre is a structure dedicated on clinical and experimental research, in service of the A.O.R.N. “A. Cardarelli”, a highly specialized hospital environment. Therefore the experimental activity is constantly connected with the clinical necessities, giving rise to a reality continuously in evolution . The research in the hepatic field, started in 1992, on rat first and on pig later and regarding the usage of hepatocytes allo/xenogenetics for acute and chronic hepatic failure, leaded to the realization of a prototype of a bioartificial liver, experimented in a Multicentric trial authorized by the Ministry of Health. 14 patients affected with acute hepatic failure and waiting for liver transplantation were enrolled to this study. The financing, got with MIUR, leaded to the technical and engineering evolution of bioartificial liver that, miniaturized and loaded with human and pig hepatocytes (the latter coming from hepatic resections or livers discarded for transplantation), can be used as cellular biosensor. In the end, the know-how acquired in the last years about isolation, preservation techniques and cultivation of hepatocytes, permitted to develop the method of cryopreservation of these cells in liquid nitrogen . This will create a bank of human hepatocytes available to international and national research groups experimental needs . From 2001 the Centre collaborates with the Harvard Medical School of Boston, for the studying of cytoprotective, anti-inflammatory and anti-apoptopic properties of new molecules.
Three models have been realize on big size animals, that imitate the inevitable damage caused by ischemia and by the following reperfusion during the procedures of organ implant and explant.
In the end, from 2006 the Centre of Biotechnologies is active in the realization of human Islets of Langerhans isolation techniques , with the intent to realize transplantations for the diabetes mellitus type 1 therapy. In nowadays the Islets of Langerhans transplantation represents a new alternative to insulin therapy. Nevertheless, the limits connected to the complexity of isolation and purification procedures, to the loss of a big number of Islets in the immediate post-transplantation as a consequence of impressive inflammatory phenomena, impeded until now the applicability on large scale. The Centre works on animal models of Islets transplantation to test the cytoprotective action of innovative molecules and to examine the intracellular mechanism connected to that effects.