Femke de Vrij (Erasmus MC), in collaboration with the private partner Core Life Analytics, has received funding from ZonMw for the development of an animal-free human 3D cortical network platform for screening myelination and inflammation phenotypes (3D Myelination & Inflammation Cortical network platform (3D MICro-brains). The project focuses on developing an animal-free 3D model with human brain cells that will contribute to drug development and research. ‘Especially for complex brain diseases that are difficult to investigate in laboratory animal models, it is vitally important to do research with human material’, says de Vrij.
This project will provide a solution for Challenge 2 of the Create2Solve call of ZonMw, the problem defined by the consortium consisting of Charles River Laboratories and Danone Nutricia Research: Need for human mini-brains as screening tools to assess efficacy of pharmacological or nutritional agents for neurological disorders characterized by white matter issues. The design of the project is regarded as promising for medical applications. By combining in-depth academic knowledge with the input of the application-oriented industry, models will be created that could be used for the successful development of new drugs. The collaboration with industry opens new doors as well. ‘The scaling up of experiments and large-scale data analysis are now possible, whereas usually, an academic research group does not have the capacity for this’, says de Vrij.
Femke de Vrij (Erasmus MC)