PLATFORMA at a Glance

From the Central Nervous System to the Peripheral Nervous System

Launched in October 2020, Platforma is an EU-funded collaboration of partners inspired by the results of the MESO-BRAIN project. Led by Aston University, and joined by MESO-BRAIN expertise from Axol Bioscience and Liebniz University Hannover, supplemented by industrial collaborators Laser nanoFab and StratiCELL, Platforma will extend MESO-BRAIN results from the Central Nervous System to Peripheral Nervous System in the direction of market demand.

Skin-sensory Module - will be a first in class industrial innervated human skin tissue model. Indeed, obtaining an equilibrium between skin cells and sensory neurons is a challenge that has never been achieved before, because it requires two different types of expertise, rarely combined outside of the academic field. The model is to be grown around a specialized scaffold structure, which will ensure the monitoring of functional connectivity. Sensory-skin itself has the potential to mimic neurogenic inflammation (itch), pain and well-being. This model would make it possible to study the interaction between sensory neurons and cutaneous cells and will be used for efficacy testing and study drug candidates.

Muscle-motor module - will be presented as a highly novel and cutting-edge model targeting both industrial and academic institutions. Till this point, no physiologically relevant model capable of mimicking the processes of neuronal control over muscle tissue has been produced at an easily available or even repeatable and distributable level. Providing that motor neurone diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) are becoming ever increasingly of interest to academic, pharmaceutical and other industrial sectors, the muscle-motor-neuron module will offer an unparalleled tool for studying everything from disease mechanisms to potential treatments.

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2PP Processing

3D Scaffolds fabricated using 2-photon polymerisation (2PP)

  • 2PP is a laser fabrication technique for producing micro/nano-scale devices with user defined 3-D geometries

  • 2PP uses femtosecond laser pulses to selectively polymerize material along the trace of the computer controlled movement of  the laser focus

  • Structures with resolutions from tens of micrometers down to hundreds of nanometers can be fabricated.

  • 2PP is compatible with many materials suitable for fabrication of tissue engineering (TE) scaffolds

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iPSC-Derived Sensory & Motor Neurons

Fast Maturation in less than 30 days

Axol Bioscience's cerebral cortical neural stem cells (NSCs) are derived from integration-free, induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) under fully defined neural induction conditions.

Axol Human iPSC-Derived Neural Stem Cells  express typical markers of cerebral cortical neural stem and progenitor cells such as PAX6 and FOXG1. They spontaneously form polarized neural rosette structures when cultured as a monolayer. Additionally, Axol's NSCs can generate cortical neurons that are electrically active and have the ability to form functional synapses and neural circuits in vitro.

Axol iPSC-Derived Sensory Neuron Progenitors are available in large batch sizes for reliable and consistent results in high-throughput screening assays. The cells are also suitable for investigating disorders of the peripheral nervous system and chronic pain as well as drug targets for pain relief.

Multimodal OCT and Fluorescence Imaging

Aston Institute of Photonic Technologies

Photonic Characterisation System

In the PLATFORMA project, we are proposing a photonic characterisation solution that is both compact and affordable. The solution is based on the utilisation of existing photonic components and the integration of commercially available systems harnessed by the development of integration techniques and protocols for full profile assessment of the maturation and viability of 3D printed skin muscle models. Combining two photonic approaches, Optical Coherent Tomography, and Tissue Fluorescence Spectroscopy in one multimodal system will facilitate a compact and cost-effective universal, comprehensive, and reliable approach for monitoring printed tissues in time-course development which can then be used in areas of the tissue/organ printing and transplantology in the future.


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