Epigem has secured €716k to play a leading role in the EU’s CoMMiTMenT (Combined Molecular Microscopy for Therapy and Personalised Medication in Rare Anaemia Treatments) project.
Epigem’s main role is to provide multifunctional microfluidic modules for blood sample preparation and multimodal measurements, design for prototyping and manufacturability based on application specifications using biocompatible materials which can be sterilised.
The company will also lead on module design and build for use on opto-fluidics microscope stage. It will design and build for blood sample processing from ml to nl, with development of an integrated multifunctional system for multimodal measurements in clinical diagnostics.
Epigem is highly experienced in separation by particle size, which is a relevant and widely used approach that most commonly uses arrays of micro-structured pillars
CoMMiTMenT aims to develop and validate the technologies of opto-fluidic microscopy and scanning ion conductance microscopy as novel methods to be combined in a device. The individual imaging technologies, and to a larger extent the unique fusion of technologies will allow for the identification and probing of the molecular players that underlie rare anaemia.
In doing so, this innovative technology will provide a novel diagnostic tool, a better understanding of the underlying pathophysiology of rare anaemia, and the possibility for the development of (personalised) treatments for this group of established, emerging, and as yet undiscovered RBC disorders.
CoMMiTMenT will allow for the functional identification of channelopathies on a molecular level, i.e. the identification of malfunctioning ion channels or transporters that cause the disease or the associated symptoms.
This approach is based on two complementary non-invasive microscopic methods. First, the dysfunctional channels will be identified and analysed as potential drug targets. Second step will include application of potential drugs of choice and testing for their efficacy to reverse pathological symptoms in individual patient’s blood samples evaluating their power in personalised treatment.
CoMMiTMenT will develop a novel tool for the detection, selection and complex characterisation of the vulnerable sub-population of red blood cells in the blood of patients with rare anaemia. This objective will be achieved using the novel technique of Opto-fluidic Microscopy-based Cell Sorting (OMiCS), which is based on fluorescent molecular biomarkers, secondary cellular characteristics, such as the cell shape or other alterations of cellular morphology.
Tim Ryan, managing director of Epigem, said: “Anaemia is a truly debilitating disease which affects 1.6 billion people worldwide. This project will help to create new means of detecting the disease and new delivery of treatments. British technology is at the forefront of this exciting, innovative project.”
The project leader, Dr Lars Kaestner, Head of the Centre for Molecular Imaging and Screening at Saarland University, said:
“The individual technologies, and to a larger extent the unique fusion of technologies, will allow for the identification and probing of the molecular players that underlie rare anaemia.”
“In doing so, this innovative technology will provide a novel diagnostic tool leading to a better understanding of the underlying pathophysiology of rare anaemia. This will enable us to develop new (personalised) treatments for this group of established, emerging, and as yet undiscovered red blood cell disorders.”