PLATFORMA: Peripheral nervous system tissue engineering for various testing applications

Wednesday, 8 July, 2020
Colored neural network
A new EIC Pathfinder project, called PLATFORMA, will focus on innovative method for screening cosmetics, pollutants and therapeutics.

The PLATFORMA project will produce novel high-content phenotypic platforms for screening cosmetics, pollutants and new therapeutics.

The project builds on the results of the Pathfinder (FET-Open) project, MESO-BRAIN, which developed functional 3D human-stem-cell-derived neural networks of defined and reproducible architecture, based on that of a brain cortical module that will display in vivo connectivity and activity.

PLATFORMA wants to present a world-first commercially available innervated human skin tissue model, allowing studies and testing of peripheral nervous system responses to external stimuli in a physiologically relevant context. Such a model can be useful for various application – e.g. in peripheral neurotoxicity testing of cosmetics, pollutants and transdermal delivery of new therapeutics, or in development of wound healing assays and wound healing therapeutic strategies. Last, but not least, it allows further studies of interactions of human sensory neurons and dermal tissue.

Another outcome of the project will be an innovative motor neuron-skeletal muscle tissue model. It allows non-invasive recordings of neuromuscular transmission in real time, which can be used e.g. for investigation of human neuromuscular junction formation and signal transmission upon administration of therapeutic agents. It also allows long-term monitoring and analysis of drug effects (toxicity and efficacy) with live 3D imaging and electro-physiological recordings.  

PLATFORMA starts in October 2020 and will run until September 2022. The participating institutions are from the United Kingdom, Germany and Belgium. The project is coordinated by Aston University in Birmingham. The project coordinator, Prof Rafailov, concludes:

PLATFORMA is a commercially driven collaboration to produce novel high-content phenotypic platforms for new therapeutics. This project will help us to create purpose-built, 3D modular human tissues supported by laser-printed bio-compatible scaffolds from which electro-physiological status of the cells can be monitored.

PLATFORMA was selected from the 2019 the EIC Transition to Innovation Activities call (FETPROACT-EIC-06-2019), in the area of technologies for the life sciences, health and treatment. 

Background information

FET-Open and FET Proactive are now part of the Enhanced European Innovation Council (EIC) Pilot (specifically the Pathfinder), the new home for deep-tech research and innovation in Horizon 2020, the EU funding programme for research and innovation.