Technology Bundle ID

Functional Brain Region-Specific Neural Spheroids for Modeling Neurological Diseases and Therapeutics Screening

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Lead Inventors
Juan Marugan (NCATS)
Alexander Agoulnik (Florida International University)
Catherine Chen (NCATS)
Irina Agoulnik (Florida International University)
Jingbo Xiao (NCATS)
Marc Ferrer-Alegre (NCATS)
Noel Southall (NCATS)
Wei Zheng (NCATS)
Research Products
3D spheroids have emerged as powerful drug discovery tools given their high-throughput screening (HTS) compatibility. The present invention presents a method for generating functional neural spheroids with differentiated human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC)-derived neurons and astrocytes at cell type compositions mimicking specific regions of the human brain. Recordings of intracellular calcium oscillations were used as functional assays, and the utility of this spheroids system was shown through disease modeling, drug testing, and formation of assembloids, modeling connection of two unique brain regions, to model neurocircuitry. The invention further provides disease models applications such as for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease through incorporating genetically engineered cells into spheroids, as well as Opioid Use Disorder by chronically treating spheroids with mu-opioid agonists.
Commercial Applications
High throughput screening for therapeutics and drug discovery, neural circuitry modeling.
Competitive Advantages
The invention advantageously provides a highly reproducible functional neural spheroid assay platform where cell type composition can be adjusted to mimic a specific brain region of interest and that can be used for HTS and neural circuitry modeling.

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