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Development of scalable microfluidic device for drug testing using humanized adipose tissue spheroids

Project description

Tissue-engineering microfluidic device for drug development

3D cell cultures for medical research and regenerative medicine are critical for more accurate and ethical medical innovations. Tissue-engineered scaffold-free 3D models that mimic functional characteristics of native tissues support biomarker search, drug development and toxicology studies while providing an alternative to animal use in drug testing and research. Funded by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions programme, the SMD-SPH project is developing a microphysiological system comprising a 3D cell culture model with controllable perfusion for continuous contact with growth factors, with the aim of creating a functional native tissue and monitoring the crucial physiological parameters. For the first time, human adipose tissue-derived stem cells will be used to build adipose tissue as a scalable microphysiological system.


In regenerative medicine, in vitro tissue engineering products (3D cell cultures) for in vivo therapy are critical for more accurate and more humane medical innovation. Tissue engineered scaffold-free 3D models that exhibit functional hallmarks of native tissues improve our search for biomarkers, drug testing/development and toxicology with more accurate models, while supporting the development of alternative methods to animal use in drug testing, as stated by the Directive (2010/63/EU) established the European Centre for the validation of alternative methods (ECVAM). To replace animal testing, it is important to develop microphysiological systems and ‘body-on-chip’ approaches that allow to account for organ-to-organ interactions in vitro, at a reasonable cost. Yet, most current bioreactors are expensive, designed for organ transplant (thus focused on a single organ) and poorly designed for miniaturization and scale-up. In SMD-SPH, we will develop a microphysiological systems with the following design requirement: a 3D cell culture model, with a continuous and controllable perfusion system for continuous contact with morphogens (growth factors) to obtain a functional native tissue and monitoring crucial parameters of cell physiology, compatible with scale-up manufacturing. To the best of our knowledge, it is the first time in scientific literature that human adipose tissue-derived stem cells are used to build human white adipose tissue in a novel and scalable microphysiological system. This project meets the convergence of microfluidics and scaffold-free 3D culture models offering a reliable alternative for drug and toxicology assays, besides offer a scalable and reproductible system for future integration into a human-on-a-chip and high-troughput assays. Once an initial prototype is obtained, we will start dissemination to stakeholders and seek early adopters, cosmetic industries.


Net EU contribution
€ 196 707,84
75015 Paris

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The organization defined itself as SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) at the time the Grant Agreement was signed.

Ile-de-France Ile-de-France Paris
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Total cost
€ 196 707,84