Life expectancy has increased dramatically in industrialized countries, making us more vulnerable to many age-related diseases. Glial cells play an important role in Alzheimer’s disease and chronic neuropathic pain, affecting more than 500 million people worldwide. In the US, Europe and Switzerland, this leads to annual costs of CHF 450 billion to the health care system. Conventional pharmacological treatments are only partially effective and are associated with significant side effects. There is an urgent need for the development of a safe, non-addictive, non-opioid-based therapy that also possesses disease-modifying properties. Recently, there has been growing excitement around treating neurological diseases using neuromodulation techniques. Flickering strobe lights at gamma-frequency of 40 Hz have shown very promising results in mouse models where microglia immune cells could be activated and contributed to degradation of amyloid-proteins.
What is special about the project?
Using the NENI® technology, one can replace animal experiments and quantify the effect of stimulation protocols on glia and glia/neurons co-cultures in-vitro. This fully complies with the 3Rs rules: Replace, Reduce, Refine. By this, one can not only replace animal experiments but also massively shorten development cycles of potentially beneficial electrical stimulation protocols.
We have developed and patented a plant-based NENI® platform technology: the NENI®-Matrix and NENI®-Fabrics technology allow to measure and quantify in-vitro the effect of electrical stimulation protocols on glia/neurons. This is due to both its softness, which obviates fibrotic encapsulation, and its drug-bearing capabilities, the patented NENI®-Matrix technology. Within the recently founded spin-off Bottneuro AG, we will apply selected electrical stimulations obtained from NENI® stimulation protocols completely non-invasive. The patient’s device consists of a personalized, 3D printed headset with embedded electrodes and a control tablet. The therapy will be custom-made and specific for each patient targeting only regions of interest (ROI) in the brain. The first series of 100 devices will be ready for clinical trials by the end of 2022. Bottneuro will advance its NENI® neuromodulation platform technology to further develop and fine-tune stimulation protocols.
B. Osmani, H. Schift, K. Vogelsang, R. Guzman, M. Kristiansen, R. Crockett, A. Chacko, S. Bucher, T. Töpper, B. Müller, "Hierarchically structured polydimethylsiloxane films for ultra-soft neural interfaces," Micro and Nano Engineering 7, 100021 (2020).
B. Osmani, T. Töpper, B. Müller, "Conducting and stretchable nanometer-thin gold/thiol-functionalized polydimethylsiloxane films," Journal of Nanophotonics 12(3), 033006 (2018).
B. Osmani, H. Deyhle, T. Töpper, T. Pfohl, B. Müller, “Gold layers on elastomers near the critical stress regime,” Advanced Materials Technologies 2, 1700105 (2017).
B. Osmani, G. Gerganova, B. Müller, “Biomimetic nanostructures for the silicone-biosystem interface: tuning oxygen-plasma treatments of polydimethylsiloxane,” European Journal of Nanomedicine 9(2), 69-77 (2017).
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, Basel Area, 2.11.2021 Bottneuro treibt personalisierte Alzheimer-Therapie voran
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Persons involved in the project
Dr. Bekim Osmani
, Project leader, Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Basel
Prof. Dr. med. Raphael Guzman, Department of Neurosurgery, University Hospital Basel
Alois C. Hopf, MSc ETH Zürich, PhD candidate at the Department of Biomedicine, University of Basel:
Dr. Helmut Schift, Laboratory for Micro- and Nanotechnology, Paul Scherrer Institute
Prof. Dr. Per Magnus Kristiansen, Institute of Polymer Nanotechnology (INKA), FHNW Windisch
Prof. Dr. Hans J. Hug, Magnetic and Functional Thin Films, Empa Dübendorf
Prof. Dr. Bert Müller, Biomaterials Science Center, Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Basel
Dr. Tino Töpper, Biomaterials Science Center, Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Basel
Last update to this project presentation 20.12.2021