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  • Writer's pictureAntleron NV

The antler story

Antlers – the wonder of cells’ regenerative capacity and inspiration behind Antleron’s name

We are Antleron, a nimble team of innovators within the advanced therapy space. We believe patients will ultimately say goodbye to the 'one-treatment-fits-all' approach of today and receive fully personalized care. We are on a mission to fast track regenerative medicine innovations and personalized advanced therapies from lab to patient through co-creating manufacturing 4.0 solutions. We co-develop end-to-end solutions with our partners to accelerate the engineering of advanced therapies, vaccines and innovative diagnostic solutions.

Elk photo adapted from Andrew Russell’s “Elk in Rocky Mountain National Park."

Cell-based products are a key aspect of personalized regenerative medicine, but they are still costly and tricky to manufacture at scale. We adopted the antler as our symbol, and part of our name, for its stunning regenerative capacity. This organ regrows, in its entirety, every year in various species from the deer family. This is certainly something inspiring to the regenerative medicine industry!

What is special about antlers?  

Antlers, the unique and imposing appendage of male deer, are proof that regeneration of large (bony) organs is possible. Deer are the only mammal capable of regenerating such a large body part. In contrast, humans already face difficulties when trying to regenerate digit tips. Indeed, the speed and efficiency of the annual regeneration of an antler is very intriguing. The antlers of deer can grow up to 2 centimetres per day and reach 30 kilograms in weight.(1)

Nature provides examples of various regenerative processes, the study of which can help us understand the underlying mechanisms. However, to start implementing the findings on an industrial scale, knowledge gaps and translational obstacles need to be overcome.

Supersize antlers

If you are impressed by antler growth as seen today, you certainly would be flabbergasted about the impressive size of antlers during the Pleistocene (the Ice Age, between 2.3 million and 10.000 years ago).

An extinct deer-like creature, the Irish ‘elk’ or Megaloceros giganteus, annually renewed an antler that could weigh up to 40 kg. The tip-to-tip span of these antlers could reach 3.6 meters, the length of a small car. Think Fiat 500. Unfortunately, the Irish elk became extinct during the Pleistocene along with other animals like woolly mammoths, cave lions, and woolly rhinoceros. (2)

The antler as a symbol

For us, the antler symbolizes many aspects – strength, renewal, network, branching/growing ideas, etc. At the same time it reminds us that there are still many mysteries in nature to unravel. In this particular case, resolving the antler’s mystery and harvesting its capabilities can open up unprecedented possibilities in the field of regenerative medicine. And this is exactly what we are targeting at Antleron. Together with other ecosystem partners, at the cutting edge of (bio)science and technology, we are venturing into new areas to further investigate, co-create and deliver the healthcare of the future.

1. Zhang W, Ke CH, Guo HH, Xiao L. Antler stem cells and their potential in wound healing and bone regeneration. World J Stem Cells. 2021 Aug 26;13(8):1049-1057. doi: 10.4252/wjsc.v13.i8.1049. PMID: 34567424; PMCID: PMC8422928.

2. The Editors of Encyclopaedia Brittanica. Irish Elk. Encyclopedia Britannica. 2009 Nov 17; url: Accessed 18 August 2022.


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