A new study of AxoSim’s Nerve-on-a-Chip technology shows that the platform accurately provides key physiological readouts that could help speed the development of drugs to treat neurological disorders.
The study also shows that Nerve-on-a-Chip technology is the first all-human in vitro model that can measure critical factors that were formerly only available using live animal models. These include robust axonal outgrowth, myelination of human stem cell-derived neurons by primary human Schwann cells, and evaluation of nerve conduction velocity, according to the New Orleans-based company.
The clinically relevant electrophysiological and histological metrics generated by Nerve-on-a-Chip can help elucidate how new drugs work and uncover the basic mechanisms driving nerve pathologies, such as toxicity, demyelination and other neurodegenerative conditions, according to the study, published in Nature Scientific Reports. The authors conclude that this human peripheral nerve model could accelerate human disease modeling, drug discovery and toxicity screening.
Michael J. Moore, professor of biomedical engineering and head of the neural microengineering laboratory at Tulane University, is a co-author of the new study and an inventor of the Nerve-on-a-Chip technology.
“Development of organ-on-a-chip systems for neuroscience applications has lagged. Yet there is great need for tools to accelerate the slow pace of new drug R&D for neurological disorders,” Moore said in a news release. “We developed the Nerve-on-a-Chip technology to give researchers and drug developers a biomimetic model that would provide human data much earlier in the process, thereby saving time and money and allowing researchers to focus on candidates with greater potential. This study confirms the success of our work with our collaborators at AxoSim in creating a powerful tool for human neurology translational and clinical research.”
“We believe that our Nerve-on-a-Chip platform is the first fully functional biomimetic microphysiological model of myelinated human peripheral nerves,” added AxoSim CEO Lowry Curley. “Myelination is critical for proper neuronal functioning and impaired myelination is implicated in many neurological diseases.”
AxoSim is working with a number of major pharmaceutical and biotechnology partners to conduct studies using the platform, according to Curley. The company raised $1.1 million in a round of equity financing, according to SEC filings posted in March.