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Development of an IoT platform for the selective removal of biological fluid molecules and testing of a cellular model of Alzheimer’s disease

National Project

File: RTC-2017-6225-1

The IoT platform that we intend to develop has multiple potential applications, although our current interest is the study and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. Neurodegenerative diseases are one of the main health problems worldwide, and include diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Frontotemporal Dementias and Lewy Body Dementia, among others. Most of these diseases are characterized by a common pathogenic mechanism consisting of aggregation and accumulation of poorly folded proteins that are deposited as intracellular or extracellular aggregates and produce cell death.

Each disease is characterized by a selective neuronal vulnerability at the CNS level, which conditions the degeneration of specific areas, producing the corresponding symptoms of loss of function. For example, the histological markers of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) are the neuritic plaques, formed by a peptide called beta-amyloid (Aβ). In a very brief way, AD is produced due to the generation of a peptide in the neuronal membrane Aβ. The monomers of this peptide are initially soluble, but have a tendency to aggregate in increasingly complex forms, forming fibrils and finally amyloid plaques, which lead to synaptic failure and neuronal death1.

Today, none of the neurodegenerative diseases have an etiological treatment, therapeutic actions can only be symptomatic in some cases and palliative in all of them.

One of the alternative strategies that has been proposed is the elimination of pathogenic peptides by alternative means to drugs, such as physical or mechanical means, such as cerebrospinal fluid replacement (replacement of natural cerebrospinal fluid with artificial cerebrospinal fluid) and lycopheresis (filtration of cerebrospinal fluid).

Objectives

The aim of the project is to develop an Internet of Things (IoT) platform, which allows the selective elimination of molecules dissolved in biological fluids by means of immuno-technological filtering, so that the IoT platform will be made up of:

  1. The immuno-technological filtering system.
  2. Booster pump system, fully controllable in its operating ranges under the IoT paradigm.
  3. Information gathering, interaction and analysis system.
  4. Software for the design of experiments and tests on biological fluids.

Therefore, the final product will be a Platform that combines IoT with immuno-technology based filters for the selective removal of fluid molecules, such as biological fluids or cell culture media. Such a platform does not exist at present and is suitable for testing the effects of drugs and medical devices by pharmaceutical or biotechnology companies.

Within the framework of this project, we will design a platform that will contain the technological bases of a future implantable device, totally new, for the filtering of proteins from the cerebrospinal fluid by means of filters based on immunotechnology. This system could be useful for the treatment of several neurological diseases due to protein deposition, such as neurodegenerative diseases. The therapeutic hypothesis has been presented at the Alzheimer International Conference.

Project partners

To undertake this project, a scientific-business consortium has been agreed upon, with complementary skills and knowledge that, together, bring together the capacity to develop the platform described:

  • The Fundación para la Investigación y la Innovación Biosanitaria del Principado de Asturias (FINBA), linked to the University of Oviedo and the Central University Hospital of Asturias, and specifically, the clinical-basic research group in neurology, with extensive research experience in neurological pathologies, with consolidated lines in neurodegenerative diseases, biomarkers in neurological pathology and cerebrovascular pathology, will be the entity in charge of addressing the tasks of testing the platform in a cellular model of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • The Instituto Tecnológico de Castilla y León (ITCL), will be responsible for the design and development of the IoT platform for the selective removal of biological fluid molecules.
  • Healthsens, a company in the biomedical sector, specialized in the development of devices for the determination of biomarkers in chronic diseases, will be in charge of the Design and construction of an immunotechnology-based filter.

Duration: 2018-2020

The project has been funded through the Collaboration Challenges 2017 programme