The nanomaterials and nanodevices created by BOW will constitute a key technology in improving precision medicine and therapeutic approaches
On November 5th and 6th, the new EU funded project BOW “Biogenic Organotrophic Wetsuits” kickstarted in an Online meeting. The project was chosen in the FET Proactive: emerging paradigms and communities call in subtopic “Implantable autonomous devices and materials” and given almost 4.5 M€ funded by the European Commission. The project will run for 48 months starting the 1st of November 2020.
Nanomaterials and nanodevices constitute a key technology in improving precision medicine and therapeutic approaches. BOW wants to create hybrid magnetic nanoparticles with a membrane surface made from an extracellular vesicle that will advance in those fields. This creation will shape the information contained inside the nanodevice or nanomaterial.
Extracellular vesicle nanoparticles are the key players in the inter-cellular and inter-organism communication. “Made by cells for cells”, they mediate different physiological and/or pathological processes by enabling the spread of diseases. This special ability of extracellular vesicles is given by their membrane properties.
BOW project will proof and set a general and viable paradigm to establish key biomimetic functions including camouflage to the immune system and organ site/tumor targeting to any synthetic nanodevice, while being disruptive as a first example of biogenic nanotechnology.
Eventually this new hybrid can be a novel high-risk/high-reward paradigm to impart biological features to toxic technology devices. The natural scale of this kind medicine is as of cellular and subcellular level.
Back in history
We are in the middle of the revolution on nanotechnology, it all started with Alan Turing around the 1940s and in 2015, more than 1500 thousand products, created the same year, contained nano technology inside. “We’re No Longer in Smartphone Plateau. We’re in the Smartphone Decline” and the nanotechnology surface.
Paolo Bergese, Full Professor of Chemistry at the University of Brescia, member of CSGI and associate researcher of CNR and coordinator of BOW, explained: “BOW is a step forward towards making nanotechnology compatible in a cellular level. There is a strong new need of making nanotechnology compatible and this project will help to all kinds of future applications”.
Bergese also details that BOW “proposes concepts and technology that harness biological membranes to naturally tailor, rather than synthetically tinker, the biological identity of implantable nanodevices and nanomaterials, pushing the envelope of bio nanotechnology”. He then added: “We are taking extracellular vesicles to alter their content. Taking things and mixing them together using, biology, physics and chemistry, and transforming them into something radical, because we will be introducing the EVs into the human body”.
More about BOW
Other major objectives of the project include the production of high-grade extracellular vesicles with biomimetic and organotrophic functions; the synthesis, and functionalization of MBDs; engineering a microfluidic device for the fabrication of extracellular vesicle membrane and the control of biological performances and the nanotoxicity in-vitro, ex-vivo and in-vivo.
If successful, such technology will promote the progress of implantable nanodevices and nanomaterials towards a sustainable production and contributing to strengthen and keep in the lead position of European biotechnology. Also, by impacting the life quality for people.
BOW brings together a strong and complementary consortium, including 11 partners from 7 European countries (Italy, Spain, Germany, Ireland, Switzerland, Estonia, and Czechia). The team is formed by the coordinator of the project, Consorzio Interuniversitario Perlo Sviluppo Dei Sistemi A Grande Interfase and Consiglio Nazionale Delle Ricerche, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, Max-Planck-Gesellschaft Zur Forderung der Wissenschaften EV, Helmholtz Zentrum Muenchen Deutsches Forschungszentrum Fuer Gesundheit und Umwelt Gmbh, Institute Of Technology Sligo – ITS, Eidgenoessische Technische Hochschule Zuerich, Hansabiomed Life Sciences Ou, Biodevice Systems Sro, Rigenerand Srl and ZABALA Innovation Consulting. The well-balanced and interdisciplinary profiles of the partners covers satisfactorily the entire value chain along with the diverse fundamentals R&D fields required in the project. Moreover, an international advisory board will be involved in the development of the project, so that the use cases developed become real business models.
Collaboration with other FET Projects
BOW was born under the umbrella of VES4US project and EVFOUNDRY.
Antonella Bongiovanni, coordinator of VES4US project talked about how VES4US, as well as evFoundry, is based on the massive production of good quality extracellular vesicles; “in BOW we joined our ideas and efforts to add an extra tier to our approaches, leveraging these cellular products in a real and safe bio-nanotechnology”, she stated.
Other projects under BOW topic and brother projects are Smartnanotox and MADIA.
Tobias Stöger, coordinator of SMARTNOTOX was also so kind to relate BOW with his project: “SMARTNANOTOX is project from the EU NanoSafety Cluster and aims to develop smart tools for gauging nano-hazards. The approach shall allow grouping of materials based on their ability to induce so called Adverse Outcome Pathway relevant key events, and thus identify properties of concern for new materials, which finally will help to reduce the need for blanket toxicity testing and animal testing in the future. I would take its relation to our BOW project in view of the avoidance of adverse side effects of nanomaterials for biomedical applications. For BOW we want to minimize harmful secondary effects of any nanocarrier or nanomedical material such as by shielding it from biological interaction such as the innate immune recognition by dressing them with “wetsuits” of endogenous extracellular vesicle membranes. Therefore, it will be helpful to develop the toxicological knowledge (SMARTNANOTOX) further for biomedical application (BOW)”.