Project to develop room-temperature storage for fragile biologics
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
A project at McMaster University is receiving $112,000 in seed funding from Grand Challenges Canada. The project, to be led by Carlos Filipe in the university’s chemical engineering department and Ali Ashkar of the McMaster Immunology Research Centre, will adapt an existing technology to make vaccines for deadly illnesses more affordable and available for use in resource-poor areas.
The group will be using technology that McMaster’s Biointerfaces Institute developed earlier this year. Using an idea from chemical engineering PhD student Sana Jahanshahi-Anbuhi, the group first created a way to store fragile biologics at room temperature by embedding them in the same kind of dissolvable gel used in Listerine breath strips, which provides a protective barrier.
In that first project, the team was able to store fragile enzymes and other agents in tiny pills that enable easy, cheap and immediate water testing in the field. The process replaces cumbersome, slow and expensive lab tests.