H2020 – Optogenerapy

Optogenetic Protein Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

Optogenerapy project aims to develop and demonstrate a new optogenetics implant for controlled beta interferon (IFN-ß) protein delivery for treating Multiple Sclerosis patients.

The implementation of electronic systems in the human body has led to numerous medical progresses, but cell therapy-based clinical trials have shown serious adversities such as tumour formation and the transmission of infectious agents. The Optogenerapy project addresses this urgent clinical need for safe cell-based protein delivery therapies and applies the results for improving the quality of life of patients suffering from Multiple Sclerosis.

ASE Optics Europe: the main role of the optics in efficiently delivering the light to the cells for Multiple Sclerosis drug generation

ASE Optics Europe was the responsible of the optical design of the implant. This task was critical to the functionality of the implant and impacts the efficiency of the illumination of the cells by the remote-powered LED. 

We developed light guiding concepts in micron-size channels using a combination of refractive and reflective and Total Internal Reflection, surface properties that collect the light from the miniaturized LED and guide it around the implant to the cells. Micro-featuring of the waveguide’s surfaces was then used to homogeneously deliver the light to the cells in the cell chamber.

In this video, our Head of R&D, Thomas Siegel, explains with more detail our work:

Technological goals

  • To develop a miniaturized implant including: a cell chamber, a frame of biocompatible plastic optics and a membrane with a defined pore size designed for optimal protein therapeutic delivery.
  • To develop stable therapeutic cell lines having the interferon transgene under the control of a synthetic optogenetic pathway.
  • To develop a miniaturized wireless powered NIR light source.
  • To develop suitable in-silico modelling tools to assist in the therapeutic cell line development considering the optogenetic pathway activation and IFN-ß delivery.
  • To develop an industrial micro-injection moulding process for manufacturing the minimally invasive implant.
  • To validate suitable sterilization protocols for the implant.
  • To prove biocompatibility and therapeutical efficiency of the new implant by in vitro and in vivo

Clinical and operational Goals

  • To prove a health gain due to continuous low dose drug delivery that will prevent relapses and will delay disease progression into neurological decline stages.
  • To define a clear regulatory path as a combined advanced-therapy medicine.

Consortium members

Led by EURECAT- Centre Tecnológic de Catalunya (Barcelona, Spain), the Optogenerapy top-class consortium comprises 11 partners from 7 European countries. The team integrates research, clinics, manufacturing expertise and Medical Device market knowledge, ensuring that the preclinically validated prototype obtained at the end responds to market demands.

You will find more information about the project in the official website: OPTOGENERAPY

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