Dutch Organ-on-Chip project receives huge grant to make the leap from lab to fab

NWO, the Dutch Research Council, has awarded a Perspective grant of 4.8 million euros for a Dutch multidisciplinary consortium, led by Eindhoven University of Technology professor Jaap den Toonder to develop much-needed universal standard for the pharmaceutical industry.

A visual representation of one tissue chip of skin and hair and two engineering chips, which are precisely clicked onto the ‘docking’ plate and to each other. Picture: hDMT

Scientists are pushing ahead building ‘organ-on-chips’, small chips with human cells, which are useful, for example, for studying cancerous metastases in the bloodstream or the development of scar tissue, or for testing the effect of drugs or food outside a human body. To make the step to industry, a collective of dozens of research groups, companies and knowledge institutions, brought together by the Dutch organ-on-chip consortium hDMT, are building a universal standard, supported by a NWO Perspective grant of nearly five million euros. The ultimate goal in the future: to link multiple organ chips together to simulate a whole body.

The Dutch organ-on-chip consortium hDMT brought the following partners together for this NWO Perspective program: Amsterdam UMC/VUmc, Delft University of Technology, Eindhoven University of Technology, UMC Utrecht, Leiden University, Maastricht University, Twente University, Wageningen University & Research, 300MICRONS, Applikon, BioLamina, Convergence, Demcon, dsRAT Stichting Proefdiervrij, Galapagos, Genmab, Hy2Care, IBA Lifesciences, ibidi, Life Science Methods, LipoCoat, Micronit Microtechnologies, OnePlanet Research Center/imec, Poietis, PolyVation, provio, Qurin Diagnostics, ReumaNederland, RIVM, Spektrax, TissUse, TNO, Unilever Safety & Environmental Assurance Centre, Ushio INC.

For more information see here

2021 edition of the ‘Putting Science into Standards’ (PSIS) workshop open for registration

Since 2013, the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission (JRC) and the European Standardization Organizations CEN and CENELEC have carried out an annual joint ‘foresight on standardization’ action under the Putting Science into Standards (PSIS) initiative. The PSIS initiative aims to facilitate the identification of emerging science and technology areas that could benefit from standardization activities to enable innovation and promote industrial competitiveness.

The 2021 PSIS edition will be focusing on Organ-on-Chip (OoC). This event aims to facilitate the exchange of views on the future development of this technology, its application areas and stakeholder needs in order to identify how European standardization can support its safe, widescale deployment, and by doing so also:

• facilitate their implementation in the current and future regulatory framework;
• support with reliable methods that are even more critical for use of OoC in emergency situations, when drug/vaccine development and testing procedures are necessary, as in the current COVID-19 drug rush;
• strengthen Europe’s position as leader in the promotion of more ethical use of animals in testing;
• help European OoC start-ups to increase their reliability and their market share.

For whom: Researchers, Innovators, Industry, Standardisers, Policy makers.

Registration: save your seat and register through the event website.

Resources: Download the event programme and brochure.

Hashtag: #Standards4OoC

Organisers:
The European Commission – Joint Research Centre (JRC)
Contact: Andreas JENET, Project Officer, Scientific Development Unit
The European Standardization Organizations: CEN and CENELEC
Contact: Samira NIK, Project Manager – Innovation; Livia MIAN, Project Manager – Innovation

Multiorgan-on-a-Chip: A Systemic Approach To Model and Decipher Inter-Organ Communication

Multiorgan-on-a-chip (multi-OoC) technology has great potential to metamorphose research in biology and medicine by providing holistic and personalized models for understanding and treating multisystem diseases.

Figure: Various Multiorgan-on-a-Chip Combinations as a Model of Human Physiology and Pathophysiology in Different Biomedical Applications. Figure reproduced from Picollet-D’hahan et.al. , Trends in Biotechnology  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tibtech.2020.11.014 (CC BY 4.0)

This paper addresses the need for comprehensive multiorgan models with a systemic dimension ,highlights scenarios in which multiorgan models are advantageous and gives an overview of existing multi-OoC platforms. Also the remaining challenges for the realization of multi-OoC platforms and their worldwide adoption are discussed here.

About the authors
The publication was co-written by two Members of the AMBER lab (University of Twente, NL), Séverine Le Gac and Agnieszka Zukowska and two Members of the CEA Grenoble, France, Nathalie Picollet-D’hahan (Organizing Committee EUROoCS 2021 & Chair EUROoCS 2022) and Iris Lemeunier.

NWA-ORC grant for Organ-on-Chip models with integrated lymphatics

A 5 million Euro NWA-ORC grant was awarded to hDMT researchers to develop immunocompetent human Organ-on-Chip models with integrated lymph drainage for drug discovery and testing (LymphChip). The project is led by Valeria Orlova (coordinator) from Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC), Christine Mummery (LUMC) and Sue Gibbs (VUMC).

The lymphatic system plays a crucial role in our immune system, for example by regulating the immune response to pathogens. Lymphatic dysfunction underlies many diseases and could determine the effectiveness of therapies, whether drug or stem-cell based.

Yet, in the new generation of in-vitro organ models used to study the effect of drugs and therapies, the lymphatic system and the immune cells they transport are notably absent.

Members of this consortium are already studying the effects of drugs and mechanisms of disease on miniature tissue models of heart, skin and gut but will now develop lymphatic and immune systems from stem cells for each of these since they are essential for maintaining tissue health and can cause disease when they go wrong.

The consortium is formed by hDMT researchers and it is envisaged that Organ-on-Chip models with integrated lymphatics they develop, will provide a precision tool in the battle against immune-related diseases.

The LymphChip consortium will receive a total of almost 5 million Euros from the Dutch Research Agenda Research on Routes by Consortia (NWA-ORC) for this purpose. With the contribution from the patient organizations, foundations and companies the total amount comes to 5.6 million Euro.

Envisioned solution

In LymphChip, pioneers of the Organ-on-Chip platform join forces to develop these types of model for the first time. Starting from proven stem cell-derived and primary tissue models of three organ systems (heart, intestine, and skin), they will develop innovative combinations of microengineered biomimetic 3D scaffolds, miniaturized interstitial flow models and on-line sensing, integrating primary and stem cell-derived tissues and corresponding tissue lymphatics. We will thus create powerful models for studying tissue homeostasis via fluid transport (for the heart), small molecule and dietary fat transport (intestine) and immune surveillance (for skin and lymph nodes).

This will provide unprecedented opportunities for studying human disease in which the lymphatic system is defective by providing personalized, patient-specific immune systems in near-native tissue environments with stromal and immune cell components and real-time measures of function.

Our ambition is to provide game-changing technology to address presently intractable conditions of the immune system using three tissues as exemplars that will lead the way towards the identification of novel pathways for these and other organs while reducing animal use.

The LymphChip consortium

The project is led by hDMT PI Dr. Valeria Orlova (coordinator) from Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC), Prof. Christine Mummery (LUMC) and Prof. Sue Gibbs (VUMC). Other hDMT consortium partners include Dr. Hans Bouwmeester (WU), Prof. Reina Mebius (VUMC), Dr. Andries van der Meer (UTwente), Dr. Massimo Mastrangeli (TU Delft), Prof. Roman Truckenmüller (UM/MERLN), Dr. Coen Govers (WR) and Dr. Anne Leferink (UT).

Other consortium partners include IBA Lifesciences GmbH, TissUse GmbH, Nederlandse Brandwonden Stichting, Dutch Society for the Replacement of Animal Testing, BioEC, Cealus health, IMEC (One Planet), PolyVation, Alveolé, Optics11, hDMT, Ibidi GmbH, AIM Biotech, VSParticle, Amsterdam University Medical Center, Red Cross Hospital Beverwijk, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Maag Lever Darm Stichting, The University of Melbourne, Ncardia, Roche, Danone Nutricia Research.

Source: NWO, LUMC

Call for partners Cost Action ‘Advanced Microfluidics Initiative’

Prof. Dr. Peter Ertl from TU Wien (Austria) is looking for partners to build a COST consortium in the field of microfluidics, called Advanced Microfluidics Initiative (AMI). Interested? Please contact the proposal coordinators as soon as possible!

COST action: Advanced Microfluidics Initiative (AMI)

Proposal coordinators:
Dr. Helene Zirath (Technische Universität Wien-TUW)
Univ. Prof. Dr. Peter Ertl (Technische Universität Wien-TUW)

Project idea:
The ADVANCED MICROFLUIDICS INITIATIVE (AMI) sets out to give the diagnostics community more weight at the international level and gain competitive visibility at the European level by means of superregional cooperation. Another essential aspect of the initiative is continuous education and training of the next generation of researchers, analytical chemists, biomedical engineers and bioengineers for the microfluidic job market. AMI intends to bundle complementary expertise ranging from microfluidics, biosensing and diagnostic assays optimization to offer the European research and development landscape a communication/ networking platform that (a) fosters exchange of ideas between academic, industry and regulatory stakeholders, (b) enables network building for young scientists, (c) encourages industrial to academic partnerships, and (d) provides training and continuous education opportunities for next generation of skilled workers. The added value of our COST-AMI initiative is the synergetic use of existing European infrastructures, expertise and technologies that covers the entire value chain from idea to design and via rapid prototyping from functional prototype to scale-up production. We strongly believe that only by engaging in direct technological exchange and collaborations, rapid implementation and translation of projects is possible in half the time and with significantly reduced costs. In other words, new ideas and diagnostic concepts in medical/clinical, food, life style and environmental testing can be quickly realized by academic partners to demonstrate feasibility and translated by industrial partners into commercial applications. This means that AMI will actively contribute to the UN’s Sustainable Development GOAL #3 (Good health and well-being) and GOAL #6 (Clean water and sanitation). More importantly, the COST AMI platform will increase the readiness level of the European academic and industrial key players to respond to future pandemic outbreaks. Additionally, AMI initiative focuses on intensifying cooperation with diagnostic start-ups to aid in the development marketable products under GMP and ISO certification on an industrial scale.

We are looking for partners to complete the AMI consortium for the following activities needed to go from idea via rapid prototyping to functional prototype and pilot system to production and product.

Working Group WG1: Materials & (bio)interfaces
Topics of this working group involves the application of novel functional and multi-functional materials as well as smart materials. The aim of WG1 is the evaluation of material properties needed for POC devices and establishment reliable and robust functionalization strategies.

WG2: Bioassay miniaturization & biosensor integration
Topics of this working group involves the evaluation and optimization of biosensor performance and system periphery as well as bioassay miniaturization. The goal of this working group is the integration of single-and multi-cell cultures and the establishment of functional readouts of optical, electrical and magnet biosensors.

WG3: Rapid Prototyping & manufacturing technologies
Topics of this WG includes the combination and harmonization of device fabrication technologies. This includes CAD, device simulation, and the generation of guidelines from prototyping to scale-up production. The goal of this WG is the establishment of on-chip proof-of-concept studies and the assessment of feasibility of the developed biomaterials and integrated bioassays for industrial mass production.

WG4: Regulatory aspects & data security/IT
Topics of this working group includes the incorporation of regulatory guidelines as well as the standardization according to national, international and institutional regulations (GMP, ISO certification). Further, the WG takes care of the key aspects in data assessment, accessibility and security of generated knowledge. The goal of this WG involves state-of-the-art data acquisition, storage and documentation (Telemedicine) as well the analysis of the diagnostic device and POC market.

About COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) in short:
Main objective: COST Actions help connect research initiatives across Europe and beyond and enable researchers and innovators to grow their ideas in any science and technology field by sharing them with their peers. COST Actions are bottom-up networks with a duration of four years that boost research, innovation and careers.

Duration: 4 years
Deadline: November 13th, 2020
Web link: www.cost.eu

Why should you join such a project?
• The project is a perfect opportunity to connect Europe wide and share knowledge on top scientific level
• Find partners for further collaborations and publications
• Enable short term scientific missions for your Early Stage Researchers

Contact:

Univ.Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Peter Ertl, peter.ertl@tuwien.ac.at
Dr.techn. Helene Zirath, MSc., helene.zirath@tuwien.ac.at
Nikolaus Ladenhauf, nikolaus.ladenhauf@bnn.at

 

Special issue Call for Papers: Organ-on-Chip and microphysiological systems

To highlight the new alliance with EUROoCS, Stem Cell Reports is seeking manuscripts on innovative studies incorporating stem cells or their derivatives into Organ-on-Chip and microphysiological systems for publication in an upcoming special issue of the journal.

Topics include applications for functional genomics and disease modeling, and basic studies of cell interactions in tissue microenvironments during development or adult life, including the assessment of the influence of the physical environment on cell behavior.

Submission
To inquire about the suitability of a potential submission, please email stemcellreports@isscr.org.

Authors who have never submitted a paper to Stem Cell Reports (SCR) need to register on the SCR website and follow the standard submission process. Please mention your interest in this special issue in the cover letter. All manuscripts will go through the standard peer review process and will be evaluated on the journal’s standard criteria for novelty and impact. The final decision about acceptance will be taken by the guest editors:

Guest editors

Benefit for EUROoCS members
EUROoCS members benefit from a discount for publication of their manuscript in Stem Cell Reports. They will be charged the ISSCR-member rate of $3300 (the non-member rate is $3800).
Sign up to become a member.

Stem Cell Reports is the ISSCR’s peer-reviewed, open-access, online journal communicating fundamental discoveries in stem cell research, translational and clinical studies since 2013. Specifically, Stem Cell Reports is interested in publishing innovative studies incorporating stem cells or their derivatives into Organ-on-Chip and microphysiological systems for applications to functional genomics and disease modeling, or to basic studies of cell interactions in tissue microenvironments during development or adult life, including the assessment of the influence of the physical environment on cell behavior. Studies focused mainly on engineering of Organ-on-Chip and microphysiological systems, or those reporting the outcomes of pharmacological or toxicological screens, are outside of the journal’s scope (except where the endpoint of such screens relates to stem cell growth or differentiation). For more information, please visit the Stem Cell Reports website and the Aims and Scope.

Moore4Medical kicks off to bring open technology platforms in organs-on-chip

Last June, 2020 the ECSEL Joint Undertaking Moore4Medical kicked off with the overarching objective to accelerate innovation in electronic medical devices.

Led by Philips and masterminded by prof. Ronald Dekker (Philips Research, and ECTM group TU Delft), Moore4Medical (https://moore4medical.eu/) will run for three years and will address emerging medical applications and technologies that offer significant new opportunities for the Electronic Systems & Components (ECS) industry. These include: bioelectronic medicines, organs-on-chip, drug adherence monitoring, smart ultrasound, radiation-free interventions and continuous monitoring. The new technologies will help fighting the increasing cost of healthcare by reducing the need for hospitalisation, helping to develop personalized therapies, and realising intelligent point-of-care diagnostic tools.

Moore4Medical brings together 66 selected companies, universities and institutes from 12 European countries who will develop open technology platforms for those emerging fields to help them bridge “the Valley of Death” in shorter time and at lower cost. An essential concept at the core of Moore4Medical, open technology platforms used by multiple users for multiple applications with the prospect of medium-to-high volume markets represent an attractive proposition for the European ECS industry. The combination of typical MedTech and Pharma applications with an ECS style platform approach is at the heart of the vision and mission of the Health.E lighthouse (https://www.health-lighthouse.eu/). Open technology platforms will enhance the competitiveness for the emerging medical domains. With value and IP moving from the technology level towards applications and solutions, defragmentation and open technology platforms will be key in acquiring and maintaining a premier position for Europe at the forefront of affordable healthcare.

Within Moore4Medical, the second workpackage is dedicated to the development of open technology platforms for organs-on-chip. Led by Dr. Massimo “Max” Mastrangeli (ECTM, TU Delft), the organs-on-chip workpackage involves 25 partners (see also full list at the bottom) and aims at the development of three advanced platforms:

1) an autonomous smart multi-well plate, which will have the familiar shape of a standard titer plate, and will contain micropumps and microfluidic infrastructures to provide perfusion and electronics to drive the micropumps, integrated readout sensors and wireless data transfer;
2) a high-definition electrophysiology multi-well plate to bridge the gap between advanced high electrode count integrated circuits and the world of biology and pharma by means of advanced microfluidic fan-out technologies integrated into the well plate;
3) a non-disposable smart multi-well lid, useable in combination with standard plates as well as the smart multi-well plates, which will contain micropumps and sensors that monitor in situ and in a parallel fashion monitor the medium of cell cultures in incubators.

The proposed platforms will be validated in a realistic setting with relevant cell cultures. The universal and fit-for-purpose nature of the smart multi-well plate will be demonstrated with three different organ-on-chip devices from three different manufacturers. In an additional innovation track, novel sensors and organ-on-chip devices will be developed to ensure continuous innovation by bringing advanced sensing and complex organ and disease models to future smart multi-well plates. Furthermore, the DEPArrayTM technology by Menarini Silicon Biosystems for the isolation of 100% pure single live cells from heterogeneous samples will be improved by a dedicated sensing platform for the detection and classification of rare cells, such as, but not limited to, circulating tumor cells.

Topping this off, Moore4Medical’s introduction of open technology platforms in organs-on-chip, as well as the specific attention dedicated to manufacturing and biotechnological aspects related to standardization, automation and ease of use of organs-on-chip, directly implement explicit and important recommendations for a fast and efficient progress of the field. These important recommendations were outlined by the prior ORCHID H2020 CSA project (https://h2020-orchid.eu/) in documents and workshops that laid the foundation of the European roadmap for organs-on-chip development and of the European Organs-on-Chip Society (https://www.euroocs.eu/).

Partners in the Moore4Medical’s WP2 (Organs-on-Chip):
Delft University of Technology (TU Delft, the Netherlands – leader)
Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e, the Netherlands)
Philips Electronics Netherlands (PEN, the Netherlands)
TNO/Holst Centre (TNO, the Netherlands)
BI/OND (the Netherlands)
Besi Netherlands (BESI-NL, the Netherlands)
Micronit Netherlands (MIC-NL, the Netherlands)
Imec Belgium (Belgium)
Multi Channel Systems (MCS, Germany)
Fraunhofer EMFT (FEMFT, Germany)
Microfluidic ChipShop (MFCS, Germany)
Menarini Silicon Biosystems (MSB, Italy)
BEonChip (BEOC, Spain)
Institute for Health Research (IISA, Spain)
University of Zaragoza (UNIZAR, Spain)
Institute of Telecommunication (ITAV, Portugal)
Institute of Engineering and Computer Engineering (INESC-MN, Portugal)
Besi Austria (BESI-AT, Austria)
EV Group (EVG, Austria)
Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology (CSEM, Switzerland)
InSphero (Switzerland)
National Institute for R&D in Microtechnologies (IMT, Romania)
MicroLIQUID (Spain)
Center for Energy Research (CER, Hungary)
Aedus (AED, Hungary)

Last steps towards an Organ-on-Chip Journal

EUROoCS is proud to announce that, in partnership with ISSCR (The International Society on Stem Cell Research), a subsection of Stem Cell Reports (published by Cell Press; IF June 2020 6.0) will be dedicated to Organ-on-Chip.

The scope is Organ-on-Chip models combined with stem cells and derivatives. Currently the editorial Board is being formed, and guidelines for authors and call for papers are in preparation. There will be a discounted publication fee for EUROoCS members, and shared revenue for each article published. A trial period of 3-5 years has been agreed.

ISSCR 2020 Goes Virtual

The International Society for Stem Cell Research has transformed its annual scientific meeting ISSCR on 23-27 June, into a virtual experience, bringing the global stem cell community together to share knowledge, collaborate, and network.

Join ISSCR and your colleagues for The Global Stem Cell Event – and take part in live Q&A, connect in networking hubs, browse the digital poster hall, explore a vibrant, virtual exhibit floor, and enjoy on-demand viewing of all sessions 24 hours a day. One low registration price now includes workshops and special sessions. The virtual event format means you will now have unprecedented access to world-renowned stem cell scientists and educational and professional development sessions.

Learn more about the full program, high-caliber speakers, and explore the workshops and special sessions that are incorporated into the virtual meeting this year.

New (Reduced) Meeting Registration Rates

Trainee member: $65 USD
Full/affiliate member: $150 USD
Non-ISSCR member: $400 USD

Full access to the ISSCR 2020 Virtual Meeting includes:
•Tuesday Workshop Sessions
•Plenary Scientific Sessions
•Concurrent Scientific Sessions
•Virtual Tradeshow
•Networking Opportunities
•Poster Presentations
•Panel Discussions

For more information see the website www.isscr2020.org