Extended Longevity of 3D Tissues and Microphysiological Systems

A multi-agency funding solicitation called “Extended Longevity of 3D Tissues and Microphysiological Systems for Modeling of Acute and Chronic Exposures to Stressors” is focused on adapting existing 3D tissues and microphysiological systems (MPS), also known as “tissue chips” or “organs-on-chips”, to extend the current longevity of the 3D tissues and MPS to at least 6 months..

UM researchers intersted in this topic may want to participate in the virtual Pre-Proposers Conference that will take place June 8.

Step-1 proposals are due June 28; Step-2 proposals are due September 14. Between 6 and 10 awards are anticipated, with budgets of up to $500K/year, for projects of up to 4 years.

 The full text of this NRA and associated documentation can be found at: http://go.nasa.gov/3DTMPSNRA.

Below are some excerpts.

“MPS, or tissue chips, are in vitro, three-dimensional systems constructed of human cells on bioengineered platforms that mimic in vivo tissue architecture and physiological conditions, to facilitate and more accurately monitor key organ microenvironment-level functions. These platforms incorporate complex factors found in vivo, including extracellular scaffolding, three-dimensional structures, cellular interactions (including between different cell types), perfusion, biomechanical stresses (e.g., stretch and shear forces from fluid flow), electrical stimulation of excitable tissue, hormone, and inflammatory responses, etc. Thus, MPS platforms are useful tools for a number of different physiological endpoints.”

“Complex human in vitro models, such as tissue chips, or microphysiological systems (MPS), are a relatively novel technology that can be used to better understand 1) disease models, 2) drug development, 3) clinical trial design, 4) chemical and environmental exposures and countermeasures, and 5) physiological changes due to the spaceflight environment. A critical next step in the evolution of these technologies is in-depth characterization, particularly when considering acute versus chronic exposures. Extending tissue viability and physiological function to a minimum of 6 months, using automated engineering capabilities for realtime online readouts, will be essential for assessing the effects of acute and chronic environmental stressors. This effort has garnered the interest of several funding entities that are actively investing in these models for their respective missions, which has led to this multi-agency partnership.

This Research Announcement solicits scientific proposals for studies for “Extended Longevity of 3D Tissues and Microphysiological Systems for Modeling of Acute and Chronic Exposuresto Stressors” and aims to fund the development and validation of tissue chips which can function successfully for 6 months or more in an automated fashion, and can be used for modeling of acute and/or chronic exposures (e.g., to drugs and other compounds, radiation, environmental hazards, infection, microgravity exposure, etc.). Applications that adapt existing MPS for long-term function are invited. Platforms will be assessed for biological and technical stability over the 6-month period, and should be amenable for exposure to acute or chronic stressors, conditions, or compounds (e.g., pollutant exposure, drug exposure and recovery, infectious disease assault, microgravity and/or radiation exposure, varying CO2 levels, etc.). Platforms should be able to replicate physiologically relevant conditions for ground-based studies. Successful platforms may have the opportunity to propose to fly their research project on the International Space Station (ISS) after the end of this solicitation period, if funding allows and the platforms are scientifically appropriate and well-justified.

This effort is a collaboration between NASA’s Space Biology Program; NASA’s Human Research Program; the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), National Cancer Institute (NCI), and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID); the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA); and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Each organization has unique and specific applications for tissue-engineered models, yet they all have identified common interests to 1) expand tissue viability and robust function for a minimum of 6 months, and 2) fully test and validate these models for acute and chronic stressors.”

UM faculty wishing to explore multidisciplniary potential around this opportunity are invited to leverage IDRUM resources to form discovery circles, exploration groups, or proposal strike teams. Contact Jason Hale to discuss options. https://orspresdev.olemiss.edu/idrum/.

Pre-Proposers Conference

NASA will host a Pre-Proposers Conference that will address key aspects of this Announcement. The conference is open to all interested parties. The date targeted for this forum is June 8, 2021, 12:00-1:00 p.m. Eastern. The agenda for the Pre-Proposers Conference and all other related information and material will be posted on http://go.nasa.gov/3DTMPSNRA the NSPIRES page for this solicitation. Investigators are encouraged to regularly refer to this website and/or NSPIRES for updates and other information relative to this Announcement. Questions received by close of business on June 7, 2021 will be prioritized at the conference. Questions regarding this Announcement will be accepted by email only and must be addressed to 3DTMPSNRA@nasaprs.com with the subject line to read "3DTMPSNRA." For those unable to attend the Pre-Proposers Conference, all questions and answers addressed will be posted on the NSPIRES website.