SynVivo-BBB is a new in vitro blood-brain barrier model offering real-time visualization of drug delivery and cellular interactions under physiologically realistic conditions.
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. June 21, 2012 - CFD Research Corporation (CFDRC) has been awarded a $1.3M grant from the National Institutes of Health to further develop their novel in vitro Blood-Brain Barrier model. Building upon CFDRC’s patented and commercially available SynVivo platform, SynVivo-BBB is a cell-based microchip which allows co-culture of endothelial cells under physiological flow with neuronal and glial cells mimicking the in vivo environment.
Delivery of protective or therapeutic agents to the brain poses a major challenge, largely due to the presence of the blood-brain barrier. Current in vitro BBB models lack real-time visualization and do not reproduce critical micro-environmental features such as anatomical size and blood flow-induced shear stress. In contrast, CFDRC‘s SynVivo-BBB permits real-time visualization of transport and permeation of drugs across the BBB under physiologically realistic microcirculatory conditions.
“Developing neurological therapeutic agents for the brain presents an added complexity because the drugs not only have to be effective for target use, but also have to be capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier.” said Prabhakar Pandian, Ph.D., the principal investigator. “Recent advances in nanotechnology promise new ways to cross the blood-brain barrier but they need to be evaluated under realistic and dynamic conditions. Our technology, for the first time, allows rapid screening of drug candidates in a physiologically relevant in vitro environment.”
“The SynVivo-BBB platform,” said Kapil Pant, Ph.D., director of CFDRC’s biomedical technology division, “offers greater throughput, increased library coverage, lower cost, rapid turnaround times and increased mechanistic knowledge, all of which benefit drug discovery and efficacy efforts.”
As part of this National Institute of General Medical Sciences grant, CFDRC will optimize the platform to enhance physiological fidelity, add label-free monitoring, implement dysfunctional BBB and further validate the in vitro platform against in vivo studies. This study brings together scientists and engineers from CFDRC with Michael Aschner, Ph.D., from Vanderbilt University, and Clinton Stewart, Pharm.D. from St. Jude Children’s Hospital, Memphis, to develop the platform and demonstrate the technology.