European Researchers Developed the first Biophotonic Implant to Deliver Therapeutic Proteins to Multiple Sclerosis Patients

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European Researchers Developed the first Biophotonic Implant to Deliver Therapeutic Proteins to Multiple Sclerosis Patients

The European Optogenerapy project has developed the first subcutaneous biophotonic implant using optogenetic technology to deliver doses of therapeutic proteins to patients with Multiple Sclerosis.

The device has been pre-clinically validated and features a printed circuit board that activates a light source which controls therapeutic Interferon Beta (IFN-ß) protein production by genetically engineered cells confined within the implant.

Biotza Gutiérrez, the consortium’s coordinator from Eurecat Technology Centre, says the solution “relies on a more personalised delivery of the Interferon Beta protein, with the possibility of a switch on switch off option according to patient’s needs”.

The researchers have developed an innovative industrial manufacturing process for micro-injection and a miniaturised wireless light source that enables autonomous optical performance.

The solution developed “can be applied to other cellular therapies which operate as a platform for delivering the drug required by each patient,” states Gutiérrez.

The device has been tested in vivo in EAE mice model that mimics Multiple Sclerosis in order to validate its biocompatibility and its efficiency.

“The new solution is minimally invasive and aims to avoid the immune reactions patients can get with current injections, as well as reduce associated healthcare costs”, highlights Daniel Canavan, Researcher and Development Engineer at Boston Scientific. This means the innovation “has a positive impact on their quality of life and would cut related healthcare costs.”

“In order to establish the impact that Optogenerapy solution can have on health outcomes and healthcare costs, a cost-effective analysis and research on the reasons behind electing a treatment has been produced”, explains Ken Redekop, Associate Professor at the Erasmus University Rotherham and responsible of the cost-effective analysis.

The outputs from Optogenerapy project include future developments of a human version of the device which could be “an alternative therapy to improve Multiple Sclerosis patient’s quality of life and treatment adherence”, adds Canavan.

The Optogenerapy consortium is led by Eurecat and made up of eleven partners from seven European countries featuring research centres, universities and specialised companies. They include two Eurecat spin-offs, Neos Surgery and Ultrasion, ETH Zurich, Lodz University of Technology and Erasmus University Rotterdam, the firms GeneXplain, ASE Optics Europe and Boston Scientific, research institute INSERM and the Spanish standardisation body UNE.

Optogenerapy has lasted 37 months, had a budget of €6.2 million and been co-funded by €4,777,258 from the European Commission as part of the Horizon 2020 programme.

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