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BLOC project

Benchtop NMR for lab-on a-chip

Technology and objective

Recent advances in tissue engineering offer new approaches to metabolic disease modelling and drug discovery by providing biologically relevant models of tissues and organs in vitro integrated with sensing technology. This technology has the potential to revolutionise the pharmaceutical industry by enabling reliable and high predictive in vitro testing of chemical compounds. The capability to miniaturise microfluidic systems and advanced tissue fabrication procedures have enabled researchers to create multiple 3D in vitro models with a high degree of control over experimental variables for high-content screening applications. BLOC objective is to develop a benchtop spectrometer based on magnetic resonance spectroscopy and imaging using dynamic nuclear polarisation (DNP-MR). The integration of this technology with tissue engineering systems will be applied to monitor disease and evaluate responses to different stimulus. As a proof-of-concept, this project will fabricate a biomimetic model composed of liver spheroids and pancreatic islets and develop the necessary DNP-MR hardware and software to study metabolic diseases.

Applications and impact

The technology derived from this project will have a direct impact in the society and the public opinion since it will allow a significant reduction on the use of animals for experimentation purposes, minimizing ethical issues related with this topic. Moreover, the use of human engineered tissues will bring pre-clinical experiments more accurate and efficient, facilitating the extrapolation of results to humans.

The idea is to create a standardized and small device which can be easily installed in any laboratory. Besides being used in the biomedical field, the equipment developed in this project will be an easy-to-use and low-cost system with potential applications in other areas, as environmental control and chemical industry.

Consortium

INSTITUTE FOR BIOENGINEERING OF CATALONIA (IBEC)
 Spain
Carrer BALDIRI REIXAC 10-12
08028 Barcelona

OXFORD INSTRUMENTS
United Kingdom 
TUBNEY WOODS
Abingdon OX13 5QX

 

MULTIWAVE
 Switzerland 
3 CHEMIN DU PRE FLEURI, Geneva 1228

 

INSTITUT D’INVESTIGACIONS BIOMEDIQUES AUGUST PI I SUNYER (IDIBAPS)
 Spain
Carrer ROSSELLÓ, 149 Barcelona 08036

News

BLOC experts: interview with Matthew Fallon

Matthew Fallon is a mechanical engineer  with experience in several engineering fields as draughtsperson, CAD engineer and project engineer. Few months ago, he joined BLOC Project, where he brings all his knowhow working as a junior designer at Oxford Instruments. For sure an important piece for the project!

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Innovative bioengineered spheres might help treating diabetes

Researchers led by Javier Ramón from BLOC project, in collaboration with IDIBAPS research center in Barcelona, have developed nontoxic small spheres able to respond to variations in glucose levels, and producing insulin in vitro. These biomimetic spheroids containing pancreatic β-cells were prepared based on 3D bioprinting. This approach might help in the future improving clinical outcomes of β-cell transplantation strategies for diabetes treatment, as well as for in vitro drug screening platforms.

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