The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) https:///nimh.nih.gov is providing funds for $250,000 to the University of Buffalo’s spinoff Cytocybermetics http://cytocybernetics.com to help move the company into the marketplace. The funding will enable scientists to develop Cybercyte, a futuristic device able to integrate electronics with individual cells to test how new medicines affect the cell’s electrical activity.
So far, the focus for Cytocybernetics has been on the heart but after the Cybercyte device is developed, the device will be linked to heart muscle cells. This will enable scientists to test all kinds of pharmaceuticals, from allergy medications to antidepressants, for potentially fatal side effects such as heart attacks. The new funding will enable Cytocybernetics to expand even beyond cardiac applications and develop the Cybercyte device for use with brain cells
If successful, the Cybercyte device will be able to study how drugs developed for neurological disorders, such as epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease are affected by electrical activity within individual brain cells.
According to Cytocybernetics CEO Glenna Bett PhD, Faculty Member at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB, “So far, our work with heart cells is focused on drug safety screening, but now our work with neurons will target an earlier but equally important step in the drug development pipeline. We will be able to study how a drug works, which will enable scientists to more fully characterize early-stage candidate drugs with potential to do further research in neuroscience.”