3D conducting polymer devices for hosting and monitoring human gut models with integrated fluidics

Lead Research Organisation: University of Cambridge
Department Name: Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology


Organ-on-chip (OoC) technologies have the potential to revolutionise the drug testing and toxicology industries, not just by stream-lining early stages of pre-clinical testing and reducing costly (and sometimes irrelevant) experimentation on animals, but also by offering real hope for personalised medicine. Despite this promise, current OoC models fail to fully capture human physiological complexity and suffer from lack of integration of monitoring technology into the platforms. Recent progress in the IMBIBE ERC consolidator project has shown that 3D porous electrodes can be used to host and monitor tissues representative of the human gut. These devices are capable of hosting multi-cellular models of the human gut, including microbiota, now shown to be an integral part of human biology, particularly in the gut. Cells, human and microbe, are hosted within a sponge-like electrode that mimics the in vivo environment. As they grow, cells are dynamically monitored by the electrode, whose electrical properties change due to cell attachment and tissue differentiation. We have established a collaboration with CN Bio Innovations, a leading bioengineering company specialising in single and multi-organ OoC platforms and innovative lab technologies, to adapt our device to their state of the art fluidic platform. The PhysioMimix Organ-on-Chip (PMX-OOC) developed by CN Bio is a flexible and simple to use OoC system which uses a range of different multi-well consumable plates to develop single and multi-organ in vitro models. The result will be a sophisticated bioelectronic device capable of hosting and monitoring a complex human model of the gut (under flow conditions). We anticipate that the result will be a predictive, accurate and high throughput platform which will be very attractive to the pharmaceutical industry for cost-effective and efficient drug discovery, toxicity testing, post market surveillance and development of live biotherapeutics.


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