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Micro-fluidic Biochips for trans-endothelial migration of eosinophils for the study of asthma


Cellix Ltd., a spin-out instrumentation company from Trinity College Dublin, are experts in the area of nanotechnology and microfluidics having developed new and exciting microfluidic based technologies providing cell based assay solutions to advance basic science, medicine and drug discovery. The Academic partner is the Allergic and Asthmatic Inflammation group, School of Medicine, University of Aberdeen (UNIABDN) whose work focuses on the cells and mediators responsible for the initiation and resolution of inflammation in asthmatic and allergic disease.

Asthma is now the most common chronic disease in westernised countries. It is a complex syndrome characterised by a variable degree of airway obstruction in which the fundamental abnormality is airway inflammation. One key area of ongoing work is furthering understanding of how an important pro-inflammatory effector cell in asthma, the eosinophil, selectively accumulates in the asthmatic lung. Central to this is an understanding of how eosinophils transmigrate from the blood vessels of the lung into the surrounding tissues where they exert their pro-inflammatory effects. This proposal combines proven expertise in leukocyte adhesion and transmigration (UA) with expertise in microflow adhesion of high throughput assays (Cellix).

The development of the resulting platform technology will be used to identify therapeutic targets for asthma and to apply these novel technologies to other human diseases with a significant inflammatory component. By identifying those immunomodulators that facilitate/block adhesion and transmigration processes in an in vitro setting, prior to using an animal model, pharmaceutical companies would be able to remove/include such compounds from down-stream processing, thereby eliminating false leads earlier reducing the drug development cycle and cost. The new area of competence to be developed will require a multi-disciplinary effort and this is one of the key benefits of the ToK approach.

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Innovation Centre, O'Reilly Institute, Trinity College, Dublin 2

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