top of page

New collaboration launched to find treatments of the future

Southampton researchers have launched a new collaboration to speed up progress in 3D cell modelling.

The models they develop will be used to expand respiratory disease research. This could lead to new drugs and therapies being identified.

SoCRATES is driven by experts from the NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre (BRC). It brings together scientists from the University of Southampton, other academic centres and industrial partners.

They are exploring how new treatments for respiratory diseases can be developed in a shorter time frame, with higher success rates.

Modelling human disease

Cell and tissue models are grown from human cells. They are an essential tool for understanding, preventing and treating disease.

These models have conventionally been grown in flat, two-dimensional layers.

In contrast, cells in 3D environments can grow or interact with their surroundings in all three dimensions. This means they are more representative of the human body.

Dr Mirella Spalluto and Professor Paul Elkington are colleagues in the NIHR Southampton BRC’s Respiratory and Allergy theme. They led the development of the new working group.

SoCRATES is short for Southampton Cellular Research And Tissue Engineering Systems.

Dr Spalluto said: “SoCRATES is like our headquarters where we bring our unique skills to the table. Together, we are trying to understand diseases armed with the latest tools and techniques.

“But we're not just sticking to the old playbook. We're shaking things up with cool 3D models that mimic the real deal. This gives us a better shot at identifying new treatments for diseases with the maximum chance of success.”

Pioneering research

Researchers at Southampton General Hospital have access to clinical samples from patients.

They can be used to create 3D cell models for a wide range of medical conditions.

This includes Primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD) - a rare genetic disorder that affects several organs and gets worse over time. Dr Claire Jackson, who is part of the NIHR Southampton BRC, has developed a model to test the effects of drugs and infections.

The techniques are also being used beyond lung disease, such as to understand infection, cancer and other important diseases.

Discover more on the SoCRATES website.


bottom of page