BrainChip: Brain-mimicking drug-testing platform development
The treatment of conditions and diseases of the central nervous system (CNS) related to aging as well as environmental, genetic and other incidental factors depends on gaining deeper understanding of the brain complexity. Therapeutic drugs development, evaluation and patient’s personalization require realistic test systems able to improve the predicted outcome provided by current animal testing and clinical trials. In vivo tests are labour-intensive and time-consuming processes with high costs, experimental variations and low-throughput. On the other hand, alternative current in vitro systems fail to reproduce the CNS complexity due to their two-dimensional character which restricts cellular shapes and interactions such as those of astrocytes with numerous neurons or those originating from the existence of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) (read “A mini-review on the blood-brain barrier microfluidic models“). When studying how neurological conditions impact connected regions of the brain, it is very important to implement different brain regions into more realistic in vitro models.
Dr. Jérémy Cramer
FOUNDER & CEO
Antoni Homs Corbera
Dr. Thomas Guérinier
CO-FOUNDER & CSO
Cherry Biotech is working in the development of an automated system based in the use of microfluidics, extracellular matrixes and perfused three-dimensional multicellular environments to achieve a better reproduction of in vivo models while improving intercellular connectivity, cellular survival, interconnected cellular niches separation and neuronal differentiation in vitro. The system will be conceived since the beginning as an application-affordable, usable and comprehensive, disposable cartridges -based device for automated and controlled drug-testing using patient specific cells. The overall device will exploit current Cherry Biotech developed temperature control technologies by adding new optical, fluidic and electrical components, as well as information processing and data retrieval capabilities, to achieve a self-standing, or alternatively microscope-adaptable, system applicable to theranostics, to drug development and to fundamental life sciences research.
The resulting system and collateral knowledge will be also applied to target other human organ models with the wider aim to achieve an integrated testing platform for personalized therapeutic molecules and for controlled cell differentiation. The full system is intended to allow accurate spatial control of cells placement and local extracellular matrices in a disposable microfluidic chip as well as automated monitoring of a range of previously defined parameters related to temporally defined infusion protocols. This development will be strongly linked also to the SeCtOR ENABleRs project. Both projects will correlate building internal strong synergies towards the human-on-a-chip Cherry Biotech long-term purpose.
Antoni is a multifaceted scientist and entrepreneur holding degrees in different disciplines ranging from engineering and biomedicine to business administration and with a long research and development experience in the life sciences arena both in public and in private institutions worldwide. He started working in the bioengineering field back in 1997 and is passionate about improving human life holistically while strongly believing in the leading role that IT, microfluidics, 3D printing and nanotechnologies will play in the next medical revolution. He has joined Cherry Biotech in 2017 aiming to bring his experience, creativity and problem-solving capacities to further boost its core I+D strengths and to walk together with this great team to build the best worldwide company in life sciences cutting edge instrumentation. To him science and technologies are hobbies, not only jobs, which he enjoys to explore and combine to solve practical challenges. He also loves to relax by hiking, motorcycling, listening to music and playing martial arts. He also confesses to follow a Buddhist maxima of “Pursue your vision of excellence in whatever you do and leave others to decide whether you are working or playing”. Ichi-go ichi-e!
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 739759