Advanced in vitro physiological models: Towards real-scale, biomimetic and biohybrid barriers-on-a-chip
This project is focused on the design, the production, the characterization, and the proposal for future commercialization of the first 1:1 scale 3D-printed realistic model of the brain tumor microenvironment with its associated blood neurovasculature. The proposed biomimetic dynamic 3D system, characterized by microcapillary diameter size and fluid flows similar to the in vivo physiological parameters, represents a drastic innovation with respect to other models well-established in the literature and available on the market, since it will allow to reliably reproduce the physiological environment and to accurately estimate the amount of drugs and/or of nanomaterial-associated compounds delivered through a modular length of the system. At the same time, in vitro 3D models are envisioned, allowing more physiologically-relevant information and predictive data to be obtained. All the artificial components will be fabricated through advanced lithography techniques based on two-photon polymerization (2pp), a disrupting mesoscale manufacturing approach which allows the fast fabrication of low-cost structures with nanometer resolution and great levels of reproducibility/accuracy. The proposed platform can be easily adopted in cell biology laboratories as multi-compartmental scaffold for the development of advanced co-culture systems, the primary biomedical applications of which consist in high-throughput screening of brain drugs and in testing of the efficacy of different anticancer therapies in vitro.
SEM image of the fabricated microfluidic BBB Magnified SEM image of the fabricated microfluidic BBB
Confocal image of the microfluidic BBB (Nuclei: Blue, ZO-1: Green, Actin: Red)
This project is funded by the ERC under the Grant agreement number: 832045