ECR Proof of Concept grant for Christine Mummery for Triple Transient Measurement System

Tuesday, 4 February

The European Research Council has awarded hDMT chair Christine Mummery of the Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC), an ERC Proof of Concept grant to further develop research funded from her ERC Advanced Grant. Proof of Concept grants, worth €150,000 each, help ERC grantees to explore the innovation potential of their scientific discoveries and bring the results of their frontier research closer to market.

Together with Berend van Meer (Anatomy and Embryology), she will further develop the Triple Transient Measurement (TTM) system, which they recently published in Nature Communications, for application by other researchers and pharmacists.

The TTM system can be used to study the interaction between excitation and contraction of myocardial cells. In this way, the effect of diseases or drugs on the human heart can be predicted. The system is now used for myocardial cells differentiated from induced pluripotent stem cells, but will also be applied to other types of cells.

Source: LUMC
More about the ERC Proof of Concept fair and the laureates of this round can be found on the de ERC-website.

Abstract ERC Proof of Concept project "ACQUIRE"

Academia and industry urgently need reliable models to study heart failure and toxic effects of drugs on the heart. While new models based on human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (hiPSC-CMs) are now emerging, accurate readouts of cardiomyocyte function fall short of needs. Apart from improving the models biologically, more sensitive, informative and accurate readouts are needed to detect abnormal cardiomyocyte behaviour. Several tools have proven their ability to assess electrical changes or calcium handling in hiPSC-CMs, but they are typically incompatible with 3D tissue models and moreover, there is paucity of appropriate tools to quantify the most important function of myocardium: contraction.

Our ERC Advanced Grant STEMCARDIOVASC entailed the development of improved tools for cardiac functionality. One of the most important bioassays developed as an outcome of STEMCARDIOVASC was the Triple Transient Measurement (TTM) System. The TTM System quantifies electrical activity, intracellular calcium flux and contractility simultaneously and is our answer to the challenge of pharma in understanding when and how drugs or diseases affect cardiac contractility using hiPSC-CM models.

In this ERC Proof of Concept project "ACQUIRE", we strive to bring the TTM to a commercial applicable service, and later product. To reach this goal we have set out four aims to come to a Minimum Viable Product: i) increase the flexibility of the system to accommodate a larger variety of optical probes, ii) increase the throughput of the system to compete with current measurement systems, iii) increase user-friendliness by integrating software modules for running and analysing measurements and iv) define a route for commercialisation. Resulting from "ACQUIRE" the TTM System can be commercialized as a human cardiac based 3-in-1 assay for cardiotoxicity testing and a novel tool for providing mechanistic insight in the EC coupling for disease modelling and drug discovery.

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