NIH Awards UB Spinoff $1.5 Million

Cytocybernetics, a University of Buffalo (UB) spinoff co-founded by Randall L Rosmusson PhD and Glenda C. Bett PhD, both Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences faculty members have been awarded $1.5 million by NIH. The project includes developing an enhanced version of a device capable of integrating electronics with heart muscle cells to test how new drugs affect the heart’s electrical activity.

The new NIH funding “Phase II Small Business Technology Transfer” (STTR) award from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, will be used to scale up the company’s technology and create a variant of the device known as Cybercyte that will be compatible with robotic systems able to perform screenings rapidly.

According to Dr. Bett CEO of Cytocybernetics “The number of drugs that can interfere with the function of the heart is astounding. Screenings using Cybercyte could save pharmaceutical companies hundreds of millions of dollars by enabling the identification of compounds that can cause serious and potentially fatal side effects. The system is able to test all pharmaceuticals from allergy medications to antidepressants for unwanted side effects such as heart attacks or arrhythmia.”

Cybercyte uses mathematical modeling and high speed computer interfaces to deliver an electric current that flows through heart cells grown in the lab. This enables the electrical activity of heart cells to be measured within the human body enabling scientists to test how different drugs influence the function of the cells and ultimately the heart. The technology interacts with cells and feeds researchers real-time data showing researchers how the cells are behaving.

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