New Microfluidics Platform with embedded Stretchable Microelectrodes for Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and other Neurological and Neurodegenerative Diseases
Phoenix, AZ — BMSEED, a manufacturer of pre-clinical research tools, was awarded a Fast Track Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from The National Institutes of Health (NIH). This grant will support the development of a physiologically relevant pre-clinical drug screening platform for Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). BMSEED’s novel technology will create a 3D in-vitro model for understanding the pathologies of AD, the relationship between AD and a history of TBI, and the effects of TBI in the context of a genetic pre-disposition to AD.
AD is a growing health concern, accounting for 50-75% of all dementia cases, and currently affecting an estimated 5.8 million Americans. In addition to the human suffering, the annual cost of AD is $290 billion. Current FDA approved treatments only help manage the symptoms of the disease. However, there is no treatment to stop or reverse its progression despite hundreds of clinical trials. A major obstacle to successful treatment development is the dearth of suitable preclinical models. In addition, there is substantial epidemiological evidence of an intricate relationship between TBI, longer-term AD pathology, and cognitive decline. However, the exact link between AD and TBI is not known.
This research grant aims to solve both of these problems by developing a novel microfluidics-based 3D in vitro AD model, and merging this chip with BMSEED’s existing in vitro TBI model platform, the MicroElectrode Array Stretching Stimulating und Recording Equipment (MEASSuRE), to meet the needs for pre-clinical AD research. This new platform presents an efficient and physiologically relevant pre-clinical drug screening platform for AD treatments. The platform is also well-suited to investigate the effects of a TBI on a person with or without a pre-existing genetic disposition to develop AD.
The key innovations are the functional assessment of neuronal health in a microfluidics drug screening platform, and the capability to investigate the mechanistic links and similarities between AD and TBI using stretchable microelectrode arrays in a 3D cell culture matrix. This 3D-MEASSuRE platform provides a more realistic in vitro facsimile of the natural in vivo biochemical and biomechanical microenvironment of the cells compared to existing 2D systems. This new technology will advance research on AD, TBI, and other neurodegenerative diseases.
“The goal of this grant is to develop the 3D-MEASSuRE platform for research on the genetic pre-disposition to develop AD and the role of crosstalk between different cell types in the brain in mediating neuronal health after TBI,” explains BMSEED’s Founder and CEO Dr. Oliver Graudejus. “BMSEED’s stretchable microelectrode array technology uniquely enables these capabilities.”
“I am thrilled by the enhanced capabilities of BMSEED’s new technology for pre-clinical research on AD and TBI,” says Dr. Levi Wood at the Georgia Institute of Technology and a co-investigator on this grant. Dr. Zhexing Wen, another co-investigator at Emory University, explains, “it is our hope that our studies will bring novel mechanistic insight into these disorders and provide new therapeutic strategies for these devastating diseases that affect millions of people worldwide.”
The NIH SBIR program awards small businesses to commercialize their technological achievements. BMSEED has raised over $4.25 million through this program to date.
BMSEED (BioMedical Sustainable Elastic Electronic Devices) is a manufacturer of integrated research tools for the development of drug treatments for injured cells. BMSEED’s proprietary stretchable microelectrode arrays and devices replicate the body’s electrical and mechanical environment to study cells in an environment similar to the human body. This is accomplished by integrating multiple modules (mechanics, electrophysiology, and imaging) into one research tool. BMSEED strives to develop products that increase the success rate of clinical trials by eliminating drug candidates early in the pre-clinical stage, thus avoiding the large costs of failed clinical trials. For more information, visit www.bmseed.com.
Dr. Oliver Graudejus
Phone: (609) 532-9744