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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/W004585/1
Title: A smart, multi-purpose technology for diagnostics, analytics and drug delivery
Principal Investigator: Wall, Professor I
Other Investigators:
Hanga, Dr M
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Cell Therapy Catapult Limited Cobra Biologics FourPlus Immersive
Laboratory of Government Chemist Pall Europe Ltd Royal Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Fdn Trust
Department: College of Health and Life Sciences
Organisation: Aston University
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 October 2021 Ends: 31 December 2022 Value (£): 174,286
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Chemical Biology Drug Formulation & Delivery
Med.Instrument.Device& Equip.
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Healthcare
Related Grants:
EP/W004593/1
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
01 Jul 2021 Transformative Healthcare Technologies Full Proposals 2nd Call Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
We will establish a technology platform that changes the way we diagnose and treat patients. It involves detecting and producing nano-sized biological particles that act as communication machinery in nature. These particles are called exosomes and with significant investment in the engineering required to accurately capture and profile them, it will be possible to create a new class of diagnostics that can detect disease earlier than is currently possible, based on the release and detection of specific exosomes. It will also be possible to distinguish between different stages of disease, which will help to tailor the right treatment to an individual patient.

The diagnostics platform will also form the basis for manufacturing analytics that will enable cell and gene therapies to be carefully monitoring during manufacture. Cell and gene therapies currently cost in the order of £100,000 to £1,000,000 per dose and is related to the fact that bioprocesses (the manufacturing approaches used to create them) are sub-optimal. A radical advance in manufacturing analytics will help to better monitor and control manufacturing, which will lead to improved product consistency and ultimately drive down cost of manufacturing, which will catalyse the routine adoption of cell and gene therapies in the NHS.

Finally, by producing exosomes using industrial bioprocesses it will be possible to create new drugs based on exosomes, exploiting their communication machinery to target therapies to sites of disease. This will involve a combination of engineering exosomes to have increased potency, or loading them with powerful drugs and targeting them directly at the diseased tissue.

Ultimately, this will radically advance personalised medicine across diagnostics, analytics and drug delivery. In 30 years' time this technology platform will be widely used in healthcare to diagnose and treat disease with high fidelity using bespoke formulations. In order to advance this vision, phase 1 feasibility studies will address engineering challenges in sensor development to detect exosomes at different orders of sensitivity. It will also address the consistent production of exosomes at pilot scale in order to advance the exosome therapeutic platform.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Impacts
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Summary
Date Materialised
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Organisation Website: http://www.aston.ac.uk