The CRACK IT "DRGNET" Human Pain Research Consortium's aim is to augment research efficiency by creating a system that supplies high quality and viable human DRG neurons to both industrial and academic researchers.
Consequently, the Consortium hopes to in some measure override current methods, which use isolated cells or tissues from animals, or in vivo animal testing.
According to Metrion, the systems’ successful implementation will increase understanding of the human system, and facilitate drug target identification and novel pain therapeutic development.
Specifically, the Consortium anticipates that the project will result in a human sensory neuronal model, for mechanistic understanding and compound screening.
By increasing the understanding of human DRG neurons, Metrion said stem cell-derived sensory neurons could potentially be used in high throughput and high content screening of new drug candidates.
Metrion is supporting the project as an industrial sponsor, replacing a role previously held by Pfizer-Neusentis. The company will be responsible for evaluating and characterizing the human nerve cells.
The project is titled “Developing an ethical, sustainable, human sensory neuron cell culture model for use in therapeutic pain research,” or DRGNET. It is led by the University of Glasgow and funded from the NC3Rs as part of their CRACK IT Challenges open innovation initiative.
The surgical staff at NHS-GGC will retrieve human DRGs from organ transplant donors with support from NHS Blood & Transplant before research staff from the University and its partners extract viable sensory neurons.