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Institute for Research in Biomedicine
Istituto di Ricerca in Biomedicina

Via Vincenzo Vela 6 - CH-6500 Bellinzona
Tel. +41 91 820 0300 - Fax +41 91 820 0302 - info [at] irb [dot] usi [dot] ch

Innovative Enabling Micro-Nano-Bio-technologies for Implantable systems in molecular medicine and personalized therapy (Sinergia 127547)

Hosting organisation:

Integrated Systems Laboratory, EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland

Coordinator: Sandro Carrara
IRB Participants:
  • Fabio Grassi, Group Leader
  • Research area:

    SNSF - sinergia

    Duration: 01.01.2010 to 30.06.2013
    Website: http://p3.snf.ch/project-127547

    A fully mature biochip system capable of continuous monitoring drugs and biomarkers in blood, or in sub-cutaneous districts would constitute a major breakthrough in molecular medicine for personalizing therapy of complex diseases. To this end the following project aims will be pursued: (i) development of innovative sensors towards array drugs detection, including nanotechnology to improve sensor's sensitivity and system level integration to improve sensor's specificity, (ii) implementation of micro-electronic technology to decrease chip size for implantation in experimental animals (mice) as well as for convenient chip remote powering and data transmission, (iii) testing on an experimental model for a specific medical situation in which drugs toxicity and development of new therapies would benefit from the chip application, (iv) investigation of biochemical enzymes-substrates pharmacokinetics to identify the best P450 isoforms over more than 3.000 possible to be integrated onto the biochip to assure the detection of those exogenous and endogenous compounds which are relevant for the considered medical application. The project requires a strong convergence between micro-nano-bio-medical technologies. To address at best all these multidisciplinary demands, the project partnership includes experts on: (i) nano-sensing with special focus on P450 biosensors (S.Carrara/EPFL - Engineering), (ii) chip fabrication with focus on implantable systems (Dehollain's /EPFL- Engineering), (iii) pathophysiology of T-cells for therapy of autoimmune diseases (Grassi's group/IRB- biomedical), (iv) Pharmakokinetics and drugs side effects (von Mandach's goup/Univ. Hospital of Zurich - biomedical) The motivation for this project stems from pharmacological treatments with high risk side effects, e.g. toxicity of commonly used drugs, where direct monitoring of the patient's drug metabolism could dramatically influence pharmacological choices since high variability on a patient-by-patient basis characterizes metabolic pathways , as demonstrated in the literature by the case of nortriptyline. The social relevance of the project is on a better and more reliable diagnostics implantable system to be used also for personalized therapy and for new research in molecular medicine. The Economical Relevance of the project is in the pharmaceutical market. Our fully-electronics implantable biochip will provide a unique tool for industrial advancement in the field of drugs discovery and personalized therapy in Switzerland.