MECHANO

Main Area
Nanotechnologies

Acronym
MECHANO

Project Name
From the mechanobiology of the glial to the management of multiple sclerosis

Reference
UTAP-EXPL/NTec/0057/2017

Team


 

Ana Pêgo
Principal Investigator
in Portugal

 

 

Laura Suggs
Principal Investigator
in Austin

Keywords
Nanomedicine
Molecularly designed hydrogels
Mechanobiology
Bioprinting

Abstract
With over 700,000 affected patients in the EU, Multiple Sclerosis (MS) represents the most frequently occurring demyelinating disease of the central nervous system (CNS). Remyelination can be observed in MS plaques. But as disease progresses this regenerative capacity of oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) stops. There is growing evidence that matrix rigidity plays a key role in the process of OPC differentiation by unbalancing the intra/extracellular forces. To understand when/how the changes in a brain lesion environment occur and how these condition the progress of disease we propose the use of a nanomaterial-based “tool box” by constructing a three-dimensional (3D) tissue engineered model of the scar to mimic the pathological environment at different stages of the disease. This innovative approach will allow: (1) a systematic evaluation of the impact of the mechanical properties on the progress of the disease, and (2) the high-throughput screen for OPC differentiation inhibitors/enhancers. Ultimately, contributing to the development of new therapeutic approaches to treat MS.

Leading Institution
Instituto Nacional de Engenharia Biomédica (INEB Porto)

Participating Institutions
Instituto Politécnico de Leiria (IPLeiria)
Nanohmics (Nanohm)

Duration
12 months