We develop these systems by relying on the concepts of “biomimetics”. This concept was first introduced by Otto Schmidt in 1969 during a presentation at the 3rd International Biophysics Congress in Boston.
Such a biomimetic approach, also used in the field of nanobiotechnologies, means that the fabrication processes for the systems are based on the way that natural systems a “self-assembled”. An example is our involvement in the BROCOLI project, which is an ambitious scheme in collaboration with scientists from the CEA and CNRS to develop a nanostructured 3D polyelectrolyte scaffold that is connected to a microfluidic biochip to examine the influence of the microenvironment on cancerous cells from the prostate and to identify new biomarkers for prostate cancer.
The research has recently been published in the journal Biomaterials, where we show that a positively-charged polyelectrolyte film of only several nanometres in thickness reduced the clustering and proliferation of cancerous prostate cells. Our ongoing work is developing those fundamental results into a diagnostic device for personalized medicine and high-throughput-screening (HTS).