Optogenetic Protein Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis
A collaborative RIA (Research and Innovation Action) project funded by the European Union Horizon 2020 Programme (H2020) under H2020-EU.2.1.3. – INDUSTRIAL LEADERSHIP – Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies – Advanced materials.
The aim is to develop and validate a new bio-electronic cell based implant device to be implanted subcutaneously providing controlled drug release during at least 6 months. The cell confinement within a chamber sealed by a porous membrane allows the device to be easily implanted or removed. At the same time, this membrane acts to prevent immune rejection and offers long-term safety in drug release while overcoming the adverse effects of current cellular therapies. Wireless powered optogenetics – light controlling the cellular response of genetically engineered cells – is used to control the production of IFN-β.
Replacing standard intravenous IFN-β delivery by subcutaneous delivery prevents short and long term side effects and efficiency-losses related to drug peaks and discontinuation, while saving non-adherence costs.
- Polymeric biomaterials with strong optical, biocompatibility and barrier requirements, to build the cell chamber and to encapsulate the optoelectronics.
- Optoelectronics miniaturization, autonomy and optical performance.
- Optimal cellular engineering design, enhanced by computer modelling, for stability and performance of the synthetic optogenetic gene pathway over long-term implantation.
- Micro moulding enabling optoelectronics and membrane embedding for safety and minimal invasiveness.
The innovation potential is so huge that a proof-of-concept was listed by Scientist Magazine as one of the 2014’s big advances in science.
In this top-class consortium, industrial pull meets technological push, ensuring that the preclinically validated prototype obtained at the end responds to market demands.