Panaxea to investigate cost-effectiveness of innovative stem cell treatment for osteoarthritis

News 13 Oct 2020 |

As part of the international consortium of the AutoCRAT (Automated Cellular Robot-Assisted Technologies, grant no. 874671) project, Panaxea is evaluating the cost-effectiveness of an innovative robot-assisted platform to manufacture stem cells that can be used to treat osteoarthritis (OA) and possibly, in the future, also other diseases.

Osteoarthritis is a disease affecting millions of people across the world. It is a progressive disease damaging the joints of e.g. the hands, knees, and hips. Currently, no effective treatment is available, and patients suffer from joint pain and difficulties to move. Current treatment involves analgesics and other medication to manage symptoms but does not treat the actual cause, leaving many patients severely impacted by their symptoms and with a great unmet medical need.Stem cell treatment is considered a treatment option with the potential to offer a curative treatment in the future. Currently, producing the stem cells for therapies is expensive, requiring the use of sterile GMP facilities, and therefore only available for a small number of patients. The aim of AutoCRAT is to identify next-generation therapies for OA and cartilage repair and to develop stem cell products in a fully automated platform at scale, making them available for a larger group of patients. The project is financed by the European Union´ programme Horizon 2020 with €7.45m and is led by NUI Galway’s Regenerative Medicine Institute.Within AutoCRAT, Panaxea is evaluating the expected cost-effectiveness of the platform in an early stage of development over the course of the four-year project. The results of the cost-effectiveness analysis aim to demonstrate the value-for-money of the platform to society, taking all changes in treatment and societal costs into account in comparison to the current standard of care, as well as the expected treatment results. The analysis will provide insights for decision-makers in hospitals, health insurers, and health technology assessment agencies, and be of value for guiding the further development of the platform.The proposition is that, from a societal point of view, treatment with the cell products produced in the automated platform will be a cost-effective treatment option. Moreover, with an effective treatment, we will be able to reduce long-term health care costs for pain medication and joint replacements, increase the health-related quality of life of arthritis patients, allow patients to keep working or return to work, and reduce the dependency on (informal) caregivers. As part of our role in the project Panaxea will explore and analyse this proposition.

Panaxea´s team is led by Dr. Bert Vrijhoef and Dr. Janne Mewes. Panaxea is a research consultancy based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, which supports informed decision-making on innovations in the health sector. For more information, please see: can find out more about the AutoCRAT Project here: project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 874671. The materials presented and views expressed here are the responsibility of the authors(s) only. The EU Commission takes no responsibility for any use made of the information set out.

Image with permission of NUI Galway

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