2nd EVIDENCE Progress Meeting

Cysmic GmbH is a member of the EVIDENCE consortium, which consists of 16 partners from academic research centers, diagnostic labs, blood supply centers, and small industries. The project is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 grant and financed by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action Innovative Training Networks (ITN), which supports partnerships between industry and academia to develop and train early-stage researchers (ESR) worldwide. The global goal is to develop novel diagnostic and therapeutic tools for red blood cell (RBC) research.
This year, Cysmic attended the 2nd EVIDENCE Progress Meeting in Garmisch-Partenkirchen (Germany) from May 10th – 12th. The meeting provided an excellent opportunity to engage in fruitful discussions about current and future projects with red blood cell experts and industry professionals.

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Meeting of the European Red Cell Society

The 24th meeting of the European Red Cell Society (ERCS) “The horizons in red cell research,” was held from April 7-11, 2022 in Gazzada Schiano (Varese, Italy) at the historic Villa Cagnola. The conference focused on new studies, scientific discoveries, and molecular bases of red cell diseases bringing together authoritative scientists from around the world.
Cysmic was one of the sponsors of the ERCS meeting and presented the latest technologies applied to the study of red blood cells and membranes. Cysmic CEO Dr. Stephan Quint introduced the Erysense technology in his talk “Erysense: An automated point-of-care device for blood quality assessment”. Dr. Greta Simionato further highlighted the potential of Erysense for therapy monitoring in her presentation “Red blood cells influence blood flow and plasma content in severe COVID-19”. The meeting also featured a poster session and Cysmic Ph.D. student Marcelle Lopes won the award for the best scientific poster presentation – congratulations!

Cross-talk between red blood cells and plasma of COVID-19 patients

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic generated worldwide concerns about human health. While many subjects infected with SARS-CoV-2 manifest mild or flu-like symptoms, severe cases require hospitalization and intensive care and sometimes result fatally. Since death cases are associated with thrombotic events, we investigate the flow of red blood cells using our artificial capillary model that imitates human physiological blood flow. With this innovative approach, we show strong morphological impairment and flow property deviations of the red blood cells of COVID-19 patients. Thanks to the high precision in automated single-cell detection, we perform a detailed flow analysis and discover that such changes are reversible and occur through a cross-talk between red blood cells and blood plasma. By additional analyses involving sophisticated high-throughput technologies, we identify a new role of red blood cells in maintaining blood plasma equilibria (homeostasis), an important discovery that opens new therapeutical perspectives in infectious diseases based on the combination of known technologies with our microfluidic imaging method that is at the basis of our instrument, Erysense.
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The Erysense technology

Red blood cells are biomarkers of various diseases and pathological conditions and are affected by medical treatments. Most blood-derived diagnostics are performed in stasis – a condition that does not reflect the constant flow that red blood cells undergo in the circulatory system. In addition, the parameters currently used are based on average values obtained from a heterogeneous population of red blood cells. These limitations prevent a representative and complete analysis of their characteristics.
Here, we introduce the Erysense technology – a diagnostic approach based on the dynamic morphologies of red blood cells in capillary flow. The red blood cell morphology is highly sensitive to external influences as well as intrinsic properties, such as the cytoplasm viscosity, cytoskeletal structure, membrane permeability, and stiffness. These parameters determine red blood cell shapes in flow, which can result dramatically altered in diseases, after medical treatment, or induced by drugs.
Erysense uses in vitro microfluidic techniques and automated methods, including artificial neural networks, for an unbiased analysis of red blood cell shape and flow properties. In this proof-of-concept study, we demonstrate the applicability of Erysense:

(i) as a diagnostic tool of diseases

(ii) for dialysis monitoring

(iii) to assess the quality of stored blood

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