2017-2018 Alzheimer’s and Related Diseases Research Award*

An In Vitro Model for Alzheimer's Disease based upon 3D Self-Assembled Neurovascular Microtissues

VCoA*The Virginia Center on Aging which administers the Alzheimer’s and Related Diseases Research Award Fund for the Commonwealth of Virginia, provides seed money to researchers in Virginia to stimulate innovative research into biomedical and psychosocial aspects of dementia, including cell biology, caregiving, and animal modeling.


An In Vitro Model for Alzheimer’s Disease based upon 3D Self-Assembled Neurovascular Microtissues

Xuejun Wen, MD, PhD

Virginia Commonwealth University

Conventional model systems that rely on in vivo transgenic/lesion and cell line studies are unable to capture the complexity and biology of the human system. As a result, therapeutic strategies that are efficacious in animal models fail in pre-clinical and clinical human trials. In order to improve the translational potential of experimental studies, establishing an in vitro humanized model for AD is imperative.  The investigator previously fabricated an in vitro AD tissue model based upon 3D selfassembled neurovascular microtissues of primary AD cortical neurons and glia cells that are associated with microvasculatures. This project aims to validate the model through testing of neurovasculaturedelivered drugs in comparison to 2D co-culture model and in vivo profile. Once validated, the in vitro AD tissue model would offer a stable experimental framework to facilitate AD modeling, and drug discovery and testing in a dynamic, high-throughput manner. The project would also define guidelines for the development of in vitro models of the specialized neurovascular tissue environment to advance understanding of healthy states and pathologies, identifying therapeutic targets, and drug testing.

(Dr. Wen may be contacted at 804/828-5353, xwen@vcu.edu)

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