The antler story
We are Antleron, a nimble team of innovators within the advanced therapy space. We envision personalised regeneration, with a focus on cell therapy and tissue engineering. Within this therapeutic field Antleron co-creates living therapies using cells as raw material, either to be transformed into a medicine or into a functional tissue. Our moonshot is to make organ manufacturing a reality.
The word ‘antler’ is part of Antleron’s company name and logo for a specific reason. An antler is a stunning organ which exhibits a tremendous regenerative capacity. Therefore, antlers are seen as examples to learn from as part of our company’s R&D efforts.
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.
Different types of regenerative processes can be found in different types of organisms. It is useful to study the overall phenomenon and understand the regenerative potential in greater detail. However, before we start to dream big about limb regeneration or even organ regeneration, there are still some knowledge gaps and translational obstacles that need to be overcome.
When 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.
The antler as a symbol
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 science and technology, we are venturing into new areas to further investigate, co-create and deliver the healthcare of the future.