New pre-clinical platforms for precision medicine and drug discovery
Ex vivo organ perfusion has become a possible alternative in the past years to bridge the gap between in vitro and in vivo models. It is on these grounds very well applicable as a preclinical model to reduce and refine animal testing and provide more insights compared to conventional in vitro models. LifeTec Group already has great experience and knowledge with several ex vivo organ platforms which are based on slaughterhouse animal tissues such as the PhysioHeart or the Osteochondral platform. Alicia Ruppelt will focus now on the research of an ex vivo perfused liver platform. The BioLiver platform will be a valuable addition to studies in the preclinical phase. The easy design and ability to keep slaughterhouse organs alive outside the body provides a cost-saving platform with an animal-friendly approach for research with a functional organ that overcomes the challenge of result translation when going from in vitro to in vivo stage. Compared to conventional 2D long-term cultures which show a lack of specific organ functions and cell vitality, the BioLiver maintains the metabolism, functions and complexity of the organ. In in vivo experiments, rodents are the gold standard for drug discovery which allows only limited control over the parameters and comparability to humans. Additionally, they are ethically questionable and expensive. The use of a fully functional large animal organ, as in the BioLiver platform, provides an animal-friendly alternative and reduces the need for animal models. The BioLiver platform will be a great addition to the portfolio of LifeTec Group to offer new services for studies of liver interventions and tissue response to drug treatment.
A multidisciplinary collaboration
Alicia Ruppelt is focusing on the research of an ex vivo liver model as a part of the SINERGIA consortium. SINERGIA (Advanced technologieS for drug discovery and precision medicine: in vitro modelling human physiology and disease) is a project that was started to bring academia and industry together to work on the development of advanced models for the preclinical stage in the drug discovery cascade in a multidisciplinary collaboration. 14 academic and industrial beneficiaries, such as Politecnico di Milano, University of Basel, and Maastricht University to name only a few of the academic partners and Accelera, MTTLab, and LifeTec Group as examples from industry are involved to achieve the project goals. SINERGIA aims to provide breakthrough strategies for the implementation of new in vitro platforms, such as microfluidic devices, bioreactors, 3D bioprinted models or ex vivo models in the effort of bridging the gap between current in vitro and in vivo models. The beneficiaries and partner organizations are working in close collaboration on these different approaches of advanced models by exchanging knowledge and results for the achievement of the research objectives: drug benefit, drug safety, and precision medicine. The collaborations with other early-stage researchers is aiming to validate and analyse the viability and functionality of the BioLiver platform.
Research on the BioLiver
In the first year of the project, the BioLiver platform was minimized to reduce the perfusate volume which allows smaller amounts of additives. A fast and easy assay was established to measure liver functionality and get direct insights into how the liver is doing during the experiment. To assess the potential of the platform as a research platform a steatotic liver model was developed and hepatotoxicity was proven which will be shown in a following publication.
The BioLiver platform enables studies not only for hepatotoxicity or new drug treatments but also for the functionality and feasibility of hepatic medical devices or imaging. With LifeTec Group's longstanding experience in providing R&D services and training, the new platform allows to train users new surgical procedures or device application. Moreover, the BioLiver provides a platform to research liver metabolism, cell delivery and biomechanics of the liver tissue. LifeTec Group not only provides the BioLiver platform but also well supports you with assessing your product or therapy in a relevant environment, while your team can remain focused on the R&D of your product.
BioLiver Research presentation at TERMIS 2021
In November of 2021, we attended the 6th world congress of the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society (TERMIS). Alicia Ruppelt was granted a poster presentation about the research progress she's making on our BioLiver platform and her work within the SINERGIA program. The BioLiver is a living, functional, and metabolically active ex-vivo liver which is highly perfused with oxygen and nutrient-rich blood with physiological flows and pressures. During the poster session, she presented the results of successful perfusion of the liver over 12 hours and the first results from the assessment of the platform as pathology model. Play the video to have an update on the current progress on BioLiver research.
More to come!
Research and experiments are ongoing in our lab and we will share any milestones with you as soon as possible. Keep an eye on this page if you want to be up to date with the latest developments of our work in the Sinergia consortium!