Skip to main content
European Commission logo print header

MAssive intracellular REcording for Pharmacology

Project description

Measuring action potentials in thousands of cells at once streamlines cardiac safety testing

High-throughput screening has revolutionised drug discovery and toxicity testing. However, determining the cardiac safety of potential drugs still remains a time-intensive and costly endeavour beginning with tests on cell lines, followed by computational simulations and lastly human trials. The EU-funded MAREP project plans to deliver a fast, automated and affordable alternative. Scientists have developed a platform that enables simultaneous recording of action potentials from thousands of cardiac cells in culture in response to drug application. It could significantly streamline the drug development process and enhance patient safety.


Due to the vital role of the heart, cardiac safety assessment has become one of the major gatekeepers in all stages of the drug development process, increasing costs and resources required for new drugs. Despite the recent advancements of the Comprehensive In vitro ProArrhythmia (CiPA) initiative, there are still important obstacles related to chronic cardiotoxicities and to unreliable cell models. Thus, there is a strong need for new solutions that can improve the efficacy of drug development processes.
The MAREP project aims at tackling this problem by demonstrating a novel automated system for the comprehensive pharmacologic investigation of drug effects on in-vitro cardiac cell cultures. The novel approach combines laser excitation of novel metamaterials with high density multielectrode arrays (HD-MEA), providing high quality and high throughput recording of cardiac cells activity and offering an unprecedented and affordable method for the global study of drug effects on the heart. The outcome of the project is the prototype of a system that combines electrical recording of action potentials of thousands of cardiac cells with laser-based cell poration and intracellular recording. In essence, cardiac cells can be investigated in physiological conditions while drugs are administered and their effects studied in details on a large and reliable biological sample. The MAREP technology will boost the development of new drugs through the establishment of a novel, affordable, cost-effective and automated experimental procedure.
This project intends to exploit a research innovation born, though not exploited, in the parent ERC project Neuro-plasmonics.
This innovation may bring the laser-based bio-nanotechnologies developed in Neuro-plasmonics closer to commercialization
by introducing a novel interface that is fully compatible with standard CMOS technology and with large scale production.

Host institution

Net EU contribution
€ 150 000,00
16163 Genova

See on map

Nord-Ovest Liguria Genova
Activity type
Research Organisations
Total cost
No data

Beneficiaries (1)