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Organoids On a Chip (OOC) FOCUS incentive Program

​Under the impetus of Patrick Landais, the High Commissioner, the FOCUS incentive program has selected the Organoids On a Chip (OOC) project to support interdisciplinary synergies between technological sciences and life sciences within the CEA. The objective is to promote the emergence of breakthrough ideas, concepts or technologies in the biomedical field.

Published on 7 May 2021

Organoids are self-organized multicellular assemblies resulting from the proliferation and differentiation mainly of stem cells. The cell composition, spatial organization, and certain biological functions of these assemblies closely resemble the organs from which these cells originate. The possibility to study in detail the functioning of organoids thus opens the way to study in vitro the fundamental mechanisms at work in tissues and to develop innovative therapies.

In parallel, the adaptation of microfabrication techniques to cell culture allows to reproduce the spatial constraints to which cells are exposed in organs. Moreover, in microfluidic chips, it is possible to guide cells, to normalize the morphology of multicellular assemblies, to follow their fate and finally to stimulate them in a controlled way while observing their behavior with high resolution methods.

The convergence of these two strategies and the prospect of being able to cultivate, observe and/or guide an organoid in a microfluidic device, and thus communicate in real time with a mini-organ whose architecture is controlled, is today a major challenge in international research. Applications range from basic biological research to the screening of active molecules and the production of tissue for regenerative medicine.

The FOCUS OOC incentive program will focus on supporting the CEA's ambitions in the strategic area of Medicine of the Future, with the aim of moving towards precision, predictive, preventive and personalized medicine (4P). In this respect, this FOCUS program, with a long-term upstream research objective, will complement the resourcing mechanisms at the service of the CEA's positive inflection on medical devices.

The vocation of the FOCUS OSP project is therefore to support coordinated research actions with a strong innovative character aiming at applications in biology or health within a ten-year time frame, in a strongly transversal and multidisciplinary approach. The project will benefit from resources to finance about ten thesis subjects for the 2021 campaign - possibly supplemented by a few additional subjects in 2022; these theses will be organized as a network, drawing on the resources and skills of all the CEA's operational departments to promote synergy between researchers from different disciplines. Like the other FOCUS programs, the FOCUS OSP project will benefit from incentives allocated by the PTC/PE to ensure the coordination and animation of the FOCUS (recruitment of post-doctoral fellows, financing of structuring equipment, organization of workshops, etc.).

The project is co-piloted by Manuel THERY (DRF), Fabrice NAVARRO (DRT), accompanied by Carole BRESSON (DES) and Christophe BOSSUET (DAM).

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