Innovate UK Grant 2018-2019: Development of a fully human ex vivo model of neuroinflammation

Our objective was to use Innovate UK funding to develop a novel fully human in vitro model of neuroinflammation that would be commercialised in collaboration with pharmaceutical and other co-development partners. The model we proposed to develop will support the development of new medicines targeting this exciting area of biology. Microglia are resident cells in the brain that can mediate an immune response that contributes to neurodegeneration. We began development of a model of neuroinflammation based on human neuron-microglial co-cultures enabling the complex interactions between these two cell types to be investigated. No such co-culture models had previously been described in the scientific literature. In the project, we explored different combinations of co-cultures and conditions in order to generate a neuroinflammatory environment with both microglial and neurons present. We routinely work with human neuronal models of neurodegeneration as well as with microglia so were uniquely placed to successfully deliver this project.

The project was completed successfully in 2019.