Over the last decades, the gut intestinal microflora and other microbial communities present in our body raised a strong interest in the health domain research field as it was discovered their possible relation to the pathophysiology of major organs and system.

Gut epithelial cells, together with our resident microbiota, are involved in the modulation of the host immune system and represent the first line of adsorption of many drugs. In parallel to microbiota studies, a great effort has been devoted to assess the role of the “probiotics”, live microorganisms that, administered in adequate amounts, are able to confer a benefit on the health of the host, currently widely used in the prevention/treatment of many diseases.

One critical point that is still an issue in the characterisation of new potential probiotics is the difficulty in mimicking with high reliability the microbiota/gut microenvironment conditions using animal models or the current in vitro tools, poorly representative of the real in vivo situation. This gap motivates the need for the development of alternative research tools, such as the organ-on-a-chip devices to study the mechanisms at play in human microbiota/gut interaction and contribute to the success rate of expensive, risky and time-consuming pre-clinical and clinical trials (failure rate 90% vs. $ 1 bn investment in 15 years per drug candidate).

In this frame, our PROMETEO project aims to perform the technical and commercial feasibility of the integrated probiotic/gut epithelium/immune system-on-a-chip platform, based on a patented organ-on-a-chip technology, providing the basis for a new generation of innovative solution for probiotics/drug development.

PROMETEO will be run by a consortium between Politecnico di Milano and AAT-Advanced Analytical Technologies, an innovative SME specialized in promoting innovation in the probiotic sector, thus combining a solid technological expertise and an in-depth knowledge of the market.

ERC PoC 2022 “PROMETEO“ (PROduction of an innovative Millifluidic dEvice for TEsting of new prObiotics, ID 101113125)