German-Canadian partnership

German-Canadian partnership to develop game-changing bioprinted models of tissue contraction

News / 13.12.2017

Three strong partners have joined forces in a research collaboration aimed at developing novel in-vitro test systems with muscle cells from different tissue regions: Aspect Biosystems Ltd. (Vancouver, Canada), InSCREENeX GmbH (Braunschweig, Germany), and Fraunhofer ITEM (Hannover, Germany). The collaboration is supported by the Canadian National Research Council – Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy – Central Innovation Program for SMEs (BMWi-ZIM).

© Fraunhofer ITEM

To validate the novel 3D models, Fraunhofer ITEM scientists will analyze, for example, bronchoconstriction of viable peripheral airways in precision-cut lung slices – a human tissue model used for different purposes at Fraunhofer ITEM, including preclinical testing of candidate drugs.

Muscle cells are involved in numerous processes in the body. Especially smooth muscles and the myocardial muscle are involved in many severe pathological conditions with high and still increasing incidences. Development of new medications is hampered by a very high drop-out rate (over 90 percent) in clinical trials. There is thus an urgent need for relevant in-vitro test systems to enable more efficient development of new medications. These systems should be scalable and able to map both healthy and pathological physiological states. The three partners will bring in their respective expert knowledge: InSCREENeX will establish the corresponding functionally immortalized muscle cell lines from healthy and diseased donors. Aspect Biosystems will use these cell lines of unlimited availability to establish human 3D tissue models of consistent quality by means of their bioprinting technology. Fraunhofer ITEM will eventually perform comprehensive functional validation of these bioprinted 3D tissue models using the current state-of-the-art models.

“Valid preclinical testing of new therapeutic drugs requires predictive and available test systems.  Three-dimensional bioprinting enables the generation of human and physiological functional tissue in almost unlimited quantities and in standardized quality,” said Prof. Armin Braun, Division Director of Preclinical Pharmacology and In-vitro Toxicology at Fraunhofer ITEM.