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Development of a high throughput 3D microphysiologicalplatform for rapid automated assessment of human brain organoids response to drugs targeting neurological disorders

Principal Investigator:
  • Thomas Durcan, Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital, McGill University
Team Members:
  • Edward Fon, McGill University
  • Margaret Magdesian, ANANDA Devices
  • Christopher Moraes, McGill University
  • CQDM (MEI)
  • CQDM (Merck)
  • McGill (HBHL)

Project Overview

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Parkinson’s disease (PD) are the most common and devastating neurological diseases, with over 750,000 AD patients and over 100,000 PD patients in Canada. Drug development remains a slow, expensive and inefficient process. The biopharmaceutical industries need alternative models that better predict the human response to drugs and that are easily scalable to enable High-Throughput Screening (HTS) of small molecules and biologics that now include CRISPR, allowing the rapid interrogation of genetic targets and hundreds of thousands of small molecules in disease-relevant assays. Brain organoids offer a promising avenue for the development and validation of drugs to treat brain-related diseases, due to their capability to recreate the 3D structure of the brain and clinical translatability. Our overall objective is to develop a suite of three complementary devices by applying microfabrication and microfluidics to miniaturize and standardize the generation of human brain organoids. These devices will reduce the costs for generating and maintaining neuronal organoids, reduce the overall time and cost of labor by decreasing the amount of manual handling, and improve the quality of our organoid cultures by reducing their stress from undue media changes and handling, with the development of a microfluidics device for effective delivery and removal of media and reagents. These devices will be patented and commercialized by Ananda Devices and McGill. All results obtained with brain organoids produced by the MNI in these devices will be shared in an open manner, aligned with the MNI open science strategy to put all data in the public domain in a freely accessible manner.