What is BeCAT?
The Berlin Center for Advanced Therapies (BeCAT) creates the structural and spatial prerequisites for developing innovative ATMP therapies with high scientific and technological quality.
The development starts with basic research. The goal is clinical application testing in patients.
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Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products (ATMP)
In the past, medicines have been developed that were often designed to fight the symptoms of a disease rather than the actual cause of the disease.
Advanced therapies are unlike any conventional medical product. Instead of alleviating symptoms with the help of synthetic ingredients, these new biological drugs have the potential to restore patient´s health. Often referred to as "living drugs", they break with the principles of the classical drug development and are groundbreaking new opportunities for the treatment of previously incurable diseases.
Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products (ATMP) represent a new class of medicines for curative therapies. They are often patient-specific and more complex to manufacture and use than traditional medicinal products. ATMP include gene therapeutics, somatic cell therapeutics and tissue engineered products. They usually contain or consist of living cells or tissues, that are processed biotechnologically.
Classified as medicinal products, ATMP are subject to good manufacturing practice (GMP) requirements and need to be approved in a centralized authorization procedure. Although the number of approvals is steadily increasing, it is still low. The reasons are many. One hurdle is the complex manufacturing process, but also the biological origin, the short life and the long-term effects of the products pose challenges.
The development of ATMP on the way to patient application is still a trial. The expectations of this new field of knowledge, however, remain high.
"Whether cancer, hereditary diseases or regenerative medicine - the hopes of what ATMP Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products may bring are high" (Prof. K. Cichutek, President Paul-Ehrlich Institut, the Federal Institute for Vaccines and Biomedicine).
The Development of ATMP in the context of BeCAT
BeCAT combines the Berlin-based expertise in technology and clinical development of ATMP. It deals with the development of ATMP of all classes in four clinical subject areas for diseases with a high medical need.
Oncology, Immunology, Molecular Biology, Genetics,Ttransplantation Medicine, Nephrology, Cardiology/Cardiac Surgery and Traumatology are the special fields of the Charité being involved in BeCAT. They are composed of scientists with medical, scientific, engineering and biotechnological backgrounds.
The heart of BeCAT will be a new research building with a state-of-the-art modular GMP laboratory unit, in which the production of all ATMP classes will also be possible in combination with biomaterials up to 3D bioprinting. The construction of the building is supported by the federal government and the state of Berlin.