SBIR Phase II: In Vitro 3D Tissue Model for Toxicity Screening and Drug Discovery

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1127551
Agency Tracking Number: 1127551
Amount: $500,000.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2011
Solicitation Year: 2011
Solicitation Topic Code: Phase II
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
7000 Fannin Street, suite 2140, Houston, TX, 77030-3875
DUNS: 827741336
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Glauco Souza
 (832) 472-8128
Business Contact
 Glauco Souza
Title: PhD
Phone: (832) 472-8128
Research Institution
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project will use in vitro three-dimensional (3D) cell culturing enabled by the magnetic levitation method (MLM) as an improved tool for toxicity testing. This work will probe the effects of common agents on the lung, liver and kidney, three organs that play a central role in drug metabolism and are predisposed to toxic injury. 2D cell culture, commonly utilized for testing the cytotoxic effects of drugs, displays limited accuracy in predicting toxicity in vivo due to fundamental differences in the cellular microenvironment. While better representations of the 3D architecture of in vivo tissue are provided by animal models, they fail to accurately reflect whether or not drugs will cause cellular damage in humans as a result of biological differences between species. Our preliminary data shows that magnetic levitation maintains cells in culture in an arrangement that allows the cells to develop and communicate in a manner that is much closer to the in vivo environment than other in vitro systems. The broader impacts of this research are to improve assessment of drug toxicity and chemical hazards, reduce the use of animals, and advance the fields of in vitro toxicology testing and drug discovery. Commercial potential includes expansion of the device into high-throughput screening, generation of a prototype of a gas delivery system with capabilities to perform live cell microscopy, and development of a label-free viability assay for drug discovery and toxicity testing.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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