Gene-modified cell therapy for the masses

ANFF-Q client Indee Labs is an Australian start-up that is simplifying the process of gene-modified cell therapy to make it efficient, affordable and accessible to everyone.

Gene-modified cell therapy (GMCT) is evolving as a major new genre of medicine, offering cures to what are currently considered incurable diseases. Unlike traditional medicines, most GMCTs are made from a patient’s own cells where they are modified with the introduction of new genes. With almost 4 000 new GMTCs being developed in clinical trials around the world, their impact could be comparable to that of antibiotics during the last century. The greatest stumbling block for this therapy is the delivery of new genes into cells.

Indee Labs has developed a microfluidic gene delivery platform that can be used for gentle, scalable, and viral-free delivery of a range of molecules to several cell types, including human primary immune cells. Their microfluidic device uses fluid dynamics to force genetic material into a cell without the risks associated with viral vectors.

This scanning electron micrograph shows a microfluidic device fabricated using ANFF-Q photolithography and DRIE facilities as part of Indee Labs‘ ongoing project which has involved multiple ANFF nodes led by ANFF-SA. The device has a series of inlet channels and a microfluidic post array designed to allow the delivery of DNA, RNA, proteins, and other constructs directly into the heart of a cell. The image was taken using ANFF-Q’s JEOL IT-300 scanning electron microscope (SEM).

The core of Indee Labs’ technology is a high-pressure microfluidic chip. Gene transfection is achieved by placing a mixture of the patient’s own cells and the desired genes in the microfluidic chip. The mixture passes through turbulent regions within the device which disrupts the cell’s membrane, allowing the genes to enter. The membrane then seals itself, encasing the new genetic information which modifies the cell. The application of this microfluidic vortex shedding (µVS) technique has been demonstrated and published in Nature Scientific Reports.

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Dr Warren McKenzie, CEO of Indee Labs Australia said, “What we have demonstrated is the only scalable gene-delivery technology for GMCT manufacturing that does not damage cells or their DNA.”

This µVS technology enables fast processing of small and large volumes of human primary immune cells. This technology can achieve high yield with a simple workflow and does not change immune cell activation or exhaustion profiles. Indee Labs works directly with researchers to validate the µVS platform for their specific applications.

If you are interested in working with Indee Labscontact details are available on their website.