Neurodegenerative diseases

While the current focus of our services is on Parkinson’s disease we aim at extending this portfolio to other neurodegenerative diseases. In particular, we are interested in Alzheimer’s disease (age associated neurodegeneration) and Batten’s disease (rare childhood neurodegeneration). We aim at creating relevant Brain-on-a-Chip solutions to adequately in vitro model these diseases.

Next generation of human brain organoids 

Bild: Brain Organoid
Brain Organoid (A)
Bild: Brain Organoid
Brain Organoid (B)

 Current brain organoid models, in dynamic (A) or static (B) conditions, still have limitations and therefore not perfectly mimic the human brain. We aim at addressing these limitations and thereby we will generate the next generation of human brain organoids. In particular, we focus on the following aspects:

  • Accelerated in vitro aging.
  • Increased complexity of the organoids with layering, gland formation, connection of the brain nuclei etc.
  • Blood vessel support.
  • Inclusion of microglia to address immune system contributions to disease processes. 

Microfluidics technology 2.0

For providing on-the-chip solution we make use of microfluidics technology. However, together with Dr. Peter Ertl from the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT) we will further develop this technology to allow on-line sensing of disease relevant parameters directly on the chip. Furthermore, we are able to customize our devices towards the investigate parameters and conditions.

Beyond the brain: Human-on-a-chip

In our research and development projects we will use our knowledge about brain-on-the-chip solutions to connect these brain organoids with other tissues and organs-on-a-chip. In particular, we will make use of our ability to generate human peripheral nervous system neurons from iPSCs to connect skin, gut or heart to brain organoids. Eventually, this will allow us to recapitulate in vitro multi-organ processes and to investigate how complex diseases affect multiple organs at the same time. 

Personalized medicine – drug testing & diagnostics

Every human being is different, therefore we all have different susceptibilities to suffer from a particular disease and we all react differently to certain medications. All BTech approaches are based on human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), consequently they are a priori personalized. While we usually make use of a library of available, well characterized human iPSCs, we are very interested in extending our activities to fully personalized approaches. Based on a small skin sample we can generate personalized brain organoids on chips. These might be used for several potential applications:

Personalized drug testing: for any indication where more than one drug is available, pre-testing on our personalized brain-on-the-chip devices is conceivable, so that only the drug which showed maximal effect is then prioritize for the patient.

Diagnostics: neurodegenerative diseases are often diagnosed at a rather late stage of the disease progression. We aim at further developing our brain organoid technology to be able to predict disease susceptibility long before the first symptoms become observable.

Collaboration partners

For our research and development projects, we closely collaborate with leading institutions in the respective fields: