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FC Barcelona, through the Barça Innovation Hub, the club’s research and innovation laboratory, is one of the 12 organisations that make up the TRIANKLE consortium, an ambitious European research project that was presented today and which aims to develop regenerative therapies in the form of implants for the regeneration of ankle joint tissues, injuries that have a major impact on the quality of life of different segments of the population and on the economy of health systems in countries all around the world. Barça is participating in this project, which forms part of the European Horizon 2020 program, the most important in the field of innovation, after winning a European call for public funding by presenting the best offer in its field of activity.
The TRIANKLE project receives an overall budget of €5.9 million and will be starting next January and over four years the companies and institutions that form part of the consortium will aim to create innovative personalized collagen and gelatin-based implants manufactured with 3D technology for patients with tendinopathies as common as Achilles tendon partial ruptures and articular and osteoarthritis cartilage injuries.
Tendinopathies and osteoarthritis are extremely common, especially among the elderly, women, and professional sportspeople, and both have a substantial impact on their quality of life and on healthcare systems of economies worldwide. It is estimated that osteoarthritis entails €76.5 billion every year, while tendinopathies have an estimated expenditure above €140,000 million.
The TRIANKLE project aims to fill the critical gap of proper treatments as to date. None of the existing surgical or non-surgical alternatives have provided a successful long-term effect, and often the treated tissues do not restore their complete strength and functionality. In this context, TRIANKLE’s objectives will be to reduce the time of recovery down to 50% and to increase the functionality ratios of the injured tissue up to 10-15%.
A project to benefit society
Barça is taking part in the project through the health area of the Barça Innovation Hub, after having presented the best offer in its field of activity in the call for public funding of the project. The club’s main role will be to perform preclinical assessments of these implants and offer evaluations of patient groups such as its amateur athletes and the FC Barcelona Players Association, as well as contribute to the dissemination and promotion of the program. It all fits perfectly with one of the principles of the BIHUB, for its projects contribute not only to improving the club, but also the world of sport and society at large.
FC Barcelona forms part of the TRIANKLE consortium together with eleven other organizations from five different European countries (Germany, Spain, Sweden, Netherlands, and United Kingdom) covering a broad spectrum including highly-skilled private companies in biomaterials, 3D bioprinting technology, research centres, universities, sports clubs, foundations and healthcare institutions, namely: Naturin Viscofan GmbH, industry partner and project coordinator; the companies Cellink AB, Cambridge Nanomaterials Technology and Gradocell SL, two research centres: Fraunhofer Gesellschaft Zur Foerderung Der Angewandten Forschung E.V. and Acondicionamiento Tarrasense Associacion (LEITAT); three universities; University of Sttutgart, Universidad del País Vasco and Eindhoven University of Technology, and two non-profit organisations; Osteoartritis Foundation International and Fundació Clinic per a la Recerca Biomedica.
The TRIANKLE project will contribute to unlocking the potential of innovative 3D printing technology for regenerative medical applications and ultimately enable the commercialization of 3D printing personalized regenerative solutions. Furthermore, the project will launch a Technological Platform that will enable the development of future regenerative therapies of joint tissues in weight-bearing joints.
This is not Barça’s only involvement in the European H2020 program, for the Barça Innovation Hub, in association with the Barcelona Supercomputing Centre, is also part of its through IOTwins, an innovative system that applies the Internet of Things to Artificial Intelligence and that is used to analyse and predict the way people move inside and outside of the club’s stadium and hence optimise its management. This new participation via the TRIANKLE consortium further positions Barça as a major laboratory for innovation on an international scale.
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