D2 – Advanced devices for electrophysiology
Demonstrator leader: Nikolas Gaio (TU Delft)
 
Introduction
Ion channels are an increasingly important target class in pharmaceutical research. Today, more than 10% of all released drugs or drugs under development target ion channels. In addition, all new drugs must be shown to be safe for use. Drugs that influence cardiac ion channels can increase the risk of cardiac arrest. As a consequence, FDA guidelines require drugs to be tested against adverse effects of ion channels. Moreover, the last few years various new cell types are subject to electrophysiological investigations. Not only the standard hERG type of cells are investigated. Stem cells, neurons, primary cardiomyocytes amongst others can give much more information and will cause a significant diversification in research yielding more drugs available in the next decennium. Testing equipment and its platforms will change accordingly.
 
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Cytocentrics offers innovative solutions for in-vitro cell electrophysiology based on State of the Art MEMS technology. The photograph shows the CytoPatchTM Patch Clamp device based on a micro-fabricated quartz pipet.
 
In this demonstrator two new types of devices for advanced electrophysiology will be developed which will allow more complex drug safety testing and at an earlier stage of drug development, partially replacing animal testing. The first device is based on automated multi-pipette patch-clamping which mimics the “gold-standard” manual patch clamping, while the second device combines induced pluripotent human stem cells with a stretchable multi-electrode array to mimic the physical in-vivo environment.
Both devices herald a new generation of micro-fabricated devices which incorporate living cells and tissue to mimic human organs to as disease models for the development of new generations of drugs. These devices, which in literature are also referred to as “Organs-on-Chip,” are expected to revolutionize the pharmaceutical industry and to create new opportunities for growth in micro-fabrication.
 
 
Approach
Proof-of-principles and preliminary designs for both patch clamp chip and multi electrode arrays will serve as a start to define processes needed for pilot and volume production. With the first prototype products the equipment design and first prototype instruments will be tested. In parallel new processes yielding better, more robust and manufacturable chip products, are validated and implemented in the design and process flow. At the end of the project several new techniques will be available as well as prototype chips and measurement equipment.
 
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Innovation pipeline
 
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Schematic project overview
 
 
Partner Role
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