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New €2.0m PLATFORMA project for tissue engineering

PLATFORMA: Peripheral nervous system tissue engineering for various testing applications

A new EIC Pathfinder project, called PLATFORMA, will focus on innovative method for screening cosmetics, pollutants and therapeutics. DLM Consulting Services Limited is a partner in a new 2.0M EUR project which commenced on 1st October 2020. The PLATFORMA project is a commercially driven collaboration to produce novel high-content phenotypic platforms for screening cosmetics, pollutants and new therapeutics. It proposes to create purpose-built, 3D modular human tissues supported by laser-printed bio-compatible scaffolds from which electro-physiological status of the cells can be monitored.

The project builds on the results of the Pathfinder (FET-Open) project, MESO-BRAIN, which developed functional 3D human-stem-cell-derived neural networks of defined and reproducible architecture, based on that of a brain cortical module that will display in vivo connectivity and activity.

PLATFORMA wants to present a world-first commercially available innervated human skin tissue model, allowing studies and testing of peripheral nervous system responses to external stimuli in a physiologically relevant context. Such a model can be useful for various application – e.g. in peripheral neurotoxicity testing of cosmetics, pollutants and transdermal delivery of new therapeutics, or in development of wound healing assays and wound healing therapeutic strategies. Last, but not least, it allows further studies of interactions of human sensory neurons and dermal tissue.

Another outcome of the project will be an innovative motor neuron-skeletal muscle tissue model. It allows non-invasive recordings of neuromuscular transmission in real time, which can be used e.g. for investigation of human neuromuscular junction formation and signal transmission upon administration of therapeutic agents. It also allows long-term monitoring and analysis of drug effects (toxicity and efficacy) with live 3D imaging and electro-physiological recordings.

PLATFORMA starts in October 2020 and will run until September 2022. The participating institutions are from the United Kingdom, Germany and Belgium. The project is coordinated by Aston University in Birmingham.

PLATFORMA was selected among 28 proposals submitted for the 2019 the EIC Transition to Innovation Activities call (FETPROACT-EIC-06-2019). The call sought for promising technologies as they were at the end of a typical FET-Open or FET Proactive project (i.e., TRL 2/3) to a level of development, validation and demonstration where they became a credible basis for entrepreneurship, business creation, investment and, ultimately, economic and/or societal returns. The call invited applications to further develop results from previous or on-going FET projects in the 5 areas: micro and nano-technologies, artificial intelligence and advanced robotics, technologies for the life sciences, health and treatment (where PLATFORMA had applied), low-carbon energy and climate change technologies and interaction technologies.

Background information FET-Open and FET Proactive are now part of the Enhanced European Innovation Council (EIC) Pilot (specifically the Pathfinder), the new home for deep-tech research and innovation in Horizon 2020, the EU funding programme for research and innovation.

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