An experimental model to study the effects of pollutants on cardiac tissue
Title of the research project
ALTERNATIVE - environmentAL Toxicity chEmical mixtuRes through aN innovative platform based on aged cardiac tissue model
Biotechnology , Tissue engineering, Cardiovascular diseases
ALTERNATIVE will develop an innovative platform able to detect the cardiotoxicity of chemicals and pharmaceutical products, as such or combined in mixtures. The platform will consist of a in-vitro model of the human cardiac tissue, coupled with a multi-omics analyses, and integrated into a Machine Learning (ML) risk assessment tool. Specific attention will be paid to the simulation of the effects of chemicals on the cardiac tissue of aged people.
Description of the research project
People are continuously exposed to a great variety of chemicals present in the surrounding environment, such as pesticides or drug traces in water, soil, air, and living organisms. The combined exposure to such compounds can further increase their toxicity.
At the same time, the incidence of cardiovascular diseases is increasing. Those diseases are among the top-ranked causes of death in mature and aged population and the observed increase in incidence may be related to the increasing exposure to chemicals.
The ALTERNATIVE project will design an innovative in vitro platform to evaluate the cardiotoxicity of single chemicals or their mixtures. The platform will comprise a tri-dimensional bioengineered functional human cardiac tissue model cultured in dynamic conditions in a bioreactor, coupled with a system allowing omics analysis (genomics, proteomics and metabolomics). As a result, changes in tissue functionality due to the exposure to chemicals will be evaluated. Furthermore, artificial Intelligence algorithms and models will be designed for risk assessment and toxicity prediction. Moreover, the project will develop a model of aged cardiac tissue, to specifically evaluate the impact of chemicals on the elderly population, which represent a segment of vulnerable population.
The model will be initially validated on existing toxicity data and then it will be used to predict the toxicity of chemicals and drugs.
Impact on society
The European bodies responsible for regulating the production and use of chemicals and drugs are looking for precise and reliable tools for the evaluation of the toxicity of single compounds and their mixtures. To meet these demands ALTERNATIVE project proposes a new methodology for cardiotoxicity evaluation, by a more ethical and potentially reliable approach, since it avoid animal testing.
This project has been financed in the framework of the European Green Deal Actions. An increased awareness of the cardiovascular risks associated with the exposure to chemicals, will also make industrial actors and citizens more responsible about the need to reduce the environmental impact of drugs and pollutants.
Working group @Polito
Gianluca Ciardelli, Full professor, project coordinator
Susanna Sartori, Technician, project manager
Monica Boffito, Researcher
Partner nazionali e internazionali
CST Ltd, Bulgaria
Elvesys SAS, France
CONSIGLIO NAZIONALE DELLE RICERCHE, Italy
Fundació EURECAT, Spain
Eurescom GmbH, Germany
Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri, Italy
Utrecht University, the Netherlands
Medical University Innsbruck, Austria
ALTERNATIVE project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under grant agreement No. 101037090
- Budget: 5.499.757 euro
- Start date: 1/10/2021
- End date: 30/09/2024