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NWO Take-Off Grant for organ-on-a-chip development

Thursday, 17 August

A team of PhD candidates Cinzia Silvestri, William Quiros Solano and Nikolas Gaio (start-up company Biond ) and Ronald Dekker (TU/e) have recieved an NWO Take-Off Grant (Phase 1) for organ-on-a-chip development. NWO Take-off focuses on facilitating and encouraging commercial and entrepreneurial activities initiated at Dutch universities and the research institutes recognised by NWO. It concerns the creation of innovative new commercial activities that emerge from knowledge development and utilisation by academic entrepeneurs.

Project aim

BIOND developed an innovative microfluidic system for OOCs that provides a dynamic micro-environment suited to highly predictive cell culture models, that allows real-time recording of a comprehensive set of data of the cell culture with a user-friendly interface. In particular, this project will aim at improving the user interface focusing on three main aspects: Usability, Functionality and Versatility.

Background

In vitro screening is a fundamental step during drug development. A crucial need of pharmaceutical companies is to assess drug safety at the early stage of the pipeline to identify and eliminate compounds that exhibit a potential for adverse drug reactions. However, at least 462 medicinal products were withdrawn from the market between 1953 and 2014, with consequences for patients, regulatory systems and pharma companies. Therefore, the traditional screening approach, based on in vitro static cell culture assays, is considered not predictive enough. This limitation has increased the interest in more realistic models: Organs-on-chips (OOCs). Organ-on-Chips are micro-fluidics devices designed to simulate in vivo human physiology by promoting cell and tissue growth in vitro.

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