The GASTRIC project is focused on the development of miniaturised devices for the simulation of gastrointestinal enzymatic digestion and an organ-a-chip to study intestinal absorption in the gut.
Oral administration remains the preferred route for the delivery of drugs or dietary supplements. However, orally ingested compounds must first survive digestion and then be absorbed by the small intestine to reach systemic circulation. The capacity to study these processes in a reliable and robust manner is key to the successful development of new bioactive compounds.
The innovation of GASTRIC lies in the capacity to simulate the digestive process in full and in an automated manner, as well as in the introduction of integrated sensors for online, real-time monitoring and control of pH, temperature and epithelial barrier integrity.
In addition, the use of primary cells and their derivation into intestinal organoids will allow the creation of on-a-chip disease models and patient-specific tissues for personalised medicine. This work was the first to use colon samples from patients in close collaboration with Hospital de Braga.
GASTRIC was developed under a Marie Curie Fellowship awarded to Miguel Xavier and was conducted at INL – International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory, with one secondment at the University of Southampton, UK, for 6 months.