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The National Research Council of Canada and Aspect Biosystems Work toward New Ways to Deliver Therapeutics to the Brain, the Holy Grail of Biopharmaceutical Sciences

By February 18, 2019No Comments

As diseases of the central nervous system, such as Alzheimer’s disease, continue to impact the lives of Canadians, the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and Aspect Biosystems are working to develop new therapeutic models that could lead to improved treatments in the future and better outcomes for patients suffering from brain disease.

As one might expect, the brain is a highly protected organ. The function of the blood-brain barrier is to keep harmful substances that may circulate in the blood, such as toxins or pathogens, from damaging the brain. Unfortunately, this barrier also prevents the majority of therapeutics from reaching their target, which means there are few effective treatments for brain diseases. Moving medication through the blood-brain barrier is one of the largest unmet needs in the pharmaceutical industry, and remains a key challenge in discovering and developing treatments for neurological diseases and disorders.

The NRC has already developed a groundbreaking human 2D model of the blood-brain barrier that allows researchers to better predict which therapeutics could potentially cross to the brain. The core of the 2D model involves using specialized stem cells that are capable of generating any of the cell types in the human body, including brain cells.

Now, by collaborating with Aspect Biosystems and taking advantage of their unique microfluidic 3D bioprinting technology, the NRC is working to create a 3D model that will make it possible to better understand the blood-brain barrier and develop treatments that will more reliably reach the human brain.

This collaboration presents an exciting new opportunity to contribute to pioneering research towards creating a drug-testing platform that will be critical to developing treatments for neurological diseases.

About the National Research Council of Canada

The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) is the Government of Canada’s largest research organization. It is a key part of the Innovation and Skills Plan and of Budget 2018’s commitment to supporting Canada’s researchers to build a more innovative economy. To help position Canada as a global leader, the NRC is increasing its collaboration with regional ecosystems and with universities, polytechnic institutions and colleges, and establishing collaboration centres across the country.

About Aspect Biosystems

Aspect Biosystems is a privately held biotechnology company pioneering microfluidic 3D bioprinting of living, human tissue. The company’s proprietary technology is enabling advances in understanding fundamental biology, disease research, development of novel therapeutics, and regenerative medicine. In addition to its internal programs, Aspect is focused on strategically partnering with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, as well as academic researchers, to enable the creation of living, human tissues for medical research, therapeutic discovery, and regenerative medicine products.