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Behind the Scenes With Dr. Daniela Marino

5/1/2021
“Cell therapy is revolutionizing modern medicine.”

​​

Dr. Daniela Marino's passion is helping people: specifically, meeting the unmet medical needs of severely burned patients.

The doctor and chief executive officer of CUTISS is one of those featured in a new series that examines the impact of medical technologies on the diverse lives of patients. The Connecting the Dots series is produced by BBC STORYWORKS, the commercial content division of BBC Global News, and presented by MedTech Europe, an industry group.

Dr. Marino helps tell the story of using automation to grow human skin in the lab to treat a patient with very serious burns.



Switzerland-based CUTISS' tagline is "personalized skin." Dr. Marino explains: "Cell therapy is revolutionizing modern medicine. At CUTISS, we want to contribute to that revolution by developing cell-based skin tissue therapy to treat primarily severely burned patients, but we also can treat many more patients in need due to other conditions such as tumors or traumas."

An estimated 11 million people suffer severe burn injuries each year, according to Dr. Marino. Her company aims to use automated technologies to help "grow" personalized, new human skin using a patient's very own skin cells. Cell manufacturing is a complex process, and automating steps helps enable scalable and reproducible results – these are key ingredients in fabricating human skin for burn patients.

Cell and tissue therapies hold a lot of promise, Dr. Marino says, but they have struggled due to affordability and accessibility on a larger scale. Devices that can automate the cell manufacturing process, like the Quantum®​ Cell Expansion System1, which is shown in the video, are available now and can be one way to overcome these struggles because they allow larger-scale production more quickly and reliably. Quantum uses a "closed" process that lessens the chance of contamination when compared with a manual, or "open" method, of growing cells. A severely burned patient may only have a little unburned skin that can be used to process new bioengineered skin tissue – adding to the complexity and challenge.

We need to make sure these types of complex, personalized therapies can be produced affordably and with precision. Automation seems to be an answer to those challenges, Dr. Marino says.

"I really hope scientists and companies watching this video are inspired to think big together and collaborate to achieve grand goals," she says. "Bringing these therapies to the mainstream requires industry and science to work hand in hand. I was inspired to participate in the video series because it is a compelling way to raise awareness. But I won't be quitting my day job any time soon to take up acting."

She says it was an interesting experience taking part in the video – the set-up, getting the camera angles right and the video shooting all takes time. "I love my coffee in the morning, and it didn't look so good for me to be drinking it in the video shoot," she says, while laughing. "I could only smell my coffee there beside me on the scene. It was real torture."

Within the Connecting the Dots series, Terumo Blood and Cell Technolo​gies has two films – one with Dr. Marino focused on emerging burn treatments and the other looking at sickle cell disease management.


Watch all the videos in the series at www.medtechconnectingthedots.com.

 

1The Quantum®​ Cell Expansion System may be used to grow adherent and suspension cells in laboratory, clinical, and manufacturing environments.

 

Performance varies by user and is dependent on customer processes and materials. 

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