InSphero Joins Global Consortium Dedicated to Enhancing Safety Testing of Engineered Nanomaterials
Nanosafety experts from more than 30 institutions convene in Swansea, Wales, for PATROLS project kick off meeting.
Schlieren, Switzerland – February 1, 2018 InSphero AG, the leading supplier of assay-ready 3D cell culture models for accelerating drug discovery and development, today announced that it is participating in a new €12.7m global project under the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 initiative and led by Swansea University that will address the need for safer and more effective testing of nanomaterials, an area that is of crucial and growing importance to billion-pound markets including cosmetics, electronics, medicine and food.
The Physiologically Anchored Tools for Realistic nanOmateriaL hazard aSsessment (PATROLS) project involves 24 partners, across Europe, the USA, and Asia with representatives from academia, industry, and Government. The project is coordinated by Shareen Doak, Professor of Genotoxicology & Cancer at Swansea University Medical School, UK, and over the next 3.5 years, the PATROLS scientists aim to establish a battery of innovative, next-generation safety testing tools that more accurately predict adverse effects caused by long-term ENM exposure in humans and the environment. PATROLS launched on January 1, 2018, and on January 29-30, the international consortium, which includes academic, industrial, government, and risk assessment partners involved in the project, attended a conference at the Waterfront Museum, Swansea, Wales, UK to discuss developments and plans.
The Nanotechnology industry promises significant scientific, economic and societal benefits, but commercialization and growth are threatened by safety uncertainties. Exposure to some engineered nanomaterials (ENM) can pose a risk to human and environmental health. However, at present, the test methods used to assess this risk are inadequate and unrealistic. Current test systems utilize scientific models that lack the detail and complexity of the environment and the human body, and only consider the effects of short-term ENM exposure which does not reflect realistic extended or repeated exposure scenarios.
PATROLS aims to address current issues surrounding nanosafety testing by:
- Producing realistic and predictive cultured 3D tissue models of the lung, gastrointestinal tract and liver for ENM safety assessment
- Developing innovative methods for safety assessment in ecologically relevant test systems and organisms, selected according to their position in the food chain.
- Characterizing ENM under relevant experimental conditions dictated by the advanced human and environmental models developed.
- Creating robust computational methods for ENM exposure, dose modeling and hazard prediction.
Professor Doak said, “The cutting-edge models, hazard reporter tests and computational methods developed through PATROLS will allow ENM to be categorized based on their human and environmental risk. The improved predictivity of the tools generated will help to minimize uncertainty in ENM safety. Furthermore, the PATROLS toolbox will provide effective data to support and enhance the current ENM safety evaluation.”
As a PATROLS partner, InSphero is using 3D InSight™ Human Liver Microtissues to test toxic effects of engineered nanomaterials. This liver model has already been extensively validated for the assessment of drug induces liver injury (DILI) caused by chemicals and pharmaceuticals. The work performed in the context of PATROLS will further validate the suitability of 3D InSight™ Human Liver Microtissues for liver-related risk assessment of ENMs, which possess a wide variety of different physical, chemical and pharmacodynamic properties. Dr. Wolfgang Moritz, InSphero Head of External Collaborations and IP, said, “PATROLS is an important project with great potential for improving safety testing. We are looking forward to working with the extraordinary team of scientists and nanosafety experts Professor Doak and her team have assembled.”
Dr. Frank Junker
Chief Business Officer
Phone +41 44 5150490
Dr. Wolfgang Moritz
Head of External Collaborations and IP
Phone +41 44 5150490
InSphero sets the standard for in vitro testing of novel drugs in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry with comprehensive solutions that provide greater confidence in decision making. Its robust and highly physiologically relevant suite of 3D InSight™ Microtissues and Services are used by major pharmaceutical companies worldwide to increase efficiency in drug discovery and safety testing. InSphero patent-pending technologies and methods enable large-scale, reproducible production of scaffold-free 3D microtissues driven solely by cellular self-assembly. The company specializes in delivering assay-ready and custom 3D models derived from liver, pancreas, and tumor tissues, to provide unrivalled biological insight into liver toxicology, metabolic diseases (e.g., diabetes and liver diseases), and oncology (with a focus on immuno-oncology). All InSphero microtissues are thoroughly validated to ensure the highest quality, certified for use in a variety of assays, and shipped globally to customers in a patented, easy-to-use spheroid-optimized platform, ready for research. Field application scientists and research staff with expertise in working with 3D models help ensure efficient integration and onsite training as needed. For customers who prefer an outsourcing strategy with fast turnaround, InSphero also offers contract research services utilizing their 3D microtissue models.
InSphero 3D InSight™ solutions drive significant findings in peer-reviewed journals, through collaborative projects such as EU-ToxRisk and HeCaToS, and have gained validation in the world’s largest government institutions and pharmaceutical, chemical and cosmetics companies.
Founded in 2009, the privately held company is headquartered in Schlieren, Switzerland with subsidiaries in the United States (Brunswick, ME) and Waldshut, Germany. It has been recognized for its scientific and commercial achievements with a number of national and international awards.