The B2B device is a radically new future technology that opens the way to a new type of in vitro modelling. “The device falls right in between two types of in vitro models: the macro 3D models and the organ on a chip (OOC), which instead are on the micron scale.” says Prof. Moroni “On one hand the OOC devices create a fully controlled environment but they are not yet able to mimic the complexity of the tissue and organs that one would wish to test. On the other hand, 3D macro models have much more complexity but much less control of the operational settings – sometimes they are more like a black box as you do not fully grasp what’s happening inside.”
With B2B, we aim to improve the complexity of the tissue model from the dimensionality point of view yet maintaining the control typical of the OOC platforms. A key point of the B2B device is that it doesn’t just reproduce the macro and the micro, but it bridges them. “That’s something very challenging because it needs to integrate processes that are happening at the tissue level with those happening at the cellular level – to synthetize and complement these two aspects is really hard” explains Prof. Moroni.
If successful, the device will be applicable beyond the breast-to-bone metastasis: “There are several mechanisms in which both the cellular and the tissue level need to be taken into account; like the crosstalk between organs.” For example, the thyroid gland releases certain hormones that influence the reproductive system or our brain – so with a B2B-like device, we might be able to model and understand fundamental physiological mechanisms, not just a pathological condition. Today there is no in vitro model able to capture similar crosstalks – That’s why B2B would be a breakthrough technology, not just incremental but truly revolutionary.