Emulate Announces Launch of Immune Cell Recruitment Application for the Colon Intestine-Chip to Aid in the Study of Inflammatory Bowel Disease

New Application Offers an Unparalleled Window into the Complexity of Human Intestinal Immune Response and Expands Novel Drug Development Possibilities

Boston, MA – May 9, 2022 – Emulate, Inc., a leading provider of next-generation in vitro models, today announced its new colon immune cell recruitment application, enabling the most human-relevant preclinical assessment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) drug candidates.

“With this new application, we now offer the only human-based research model shown to be capable of modeling colon- and inflammation-specific immune recruitment and downstream effects, providing researchers with unparalleled capabilities to investigate the mechanisms of IBD,” said Emulate Chief Scientific Officer Lorna Ewart, PhD. “This comprehensive model will help IBD researchers, struggling to accurately model species-specific immune response, to better understand the complexity of immune response in IBD and the effects of novel drug candidates to treat this disease.”

IBD is characterized by uncontrolled activation of intestinal immune cells, which results in a pro-inflammatory cytokine loop that leads to chronic intestinal inflammation, damages the intestinal barrier, and increases the risk of further complications such as fibrosis or cancer.

Using the Colon Intestine-Chip, researchers will now be able to target an expanded network of pathways and targets for IBD and other intestinal inflammatory diseases.

Chris Carman, PhD, Director of Immunology at Emulate

Based on data from the 2017 Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study, the prevalence of IBD continues to rise worldwide, affecting almost 6.8 million people. The need is great to find effective, long-term treatments to benefit patient health and reduce treatment costs. Unfortunately, this has proved challenging for scientists, as IBD modeled in animals does not translate to human success, and conventional in vitro techniques cannot recreate the complexity necessary to model tissue-specific immune cell recruitment and drug efficacy.

“Using the Colon Intestine-Chip, researchers will now be able to target an expanded network of pathways and targets for IBD and other intestinal inflammatory diseases,” said Chris Carman, PhD, Director of Immunology at Emulate. “It will also enable them to more accurately assess drug effect before human clinical trials, helping accelerate the development of safe, more effective therapeutics to treat IBD.”

The Colon Intestine-Chip is a physiologically relevant model of the human colonic epithelial-endothelial interface, containing biopsy-derived human colonic organoids in the top channel and colonic human intestinal microvascular endothelial cells in the bottom channel. The cells are cultured in a dynamic microenvironment with organ-relevant mechanical forces—media flow to induce shear stress and cyclic stretch to emulate intestinal peristalsis—resulting in improved cell morphology and functionality and in vivo-like gene expression.

In this new immune cell recruitment application, researchers can perfuse immune cells through the vascular channel of the Colon Intestine-Chip in the presence of inflammatory priming stimuli and thereby model four key functionalities of immune response relevant to IBD in a single model: 1) inflammation- and gut-specific binding to vasculature under relevant shear forces, 2) migration through vasculature into colon tissue, 3) immune activation and downstream effector function, and 4) impact on colon tissue and barrier integrity.

Data showcasing these new capabilities is being presented in a poster and live presentation at the annual meeting of the American Association of Immunologists. For more information, visit emulatebio.com/contact-us.