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Novo Nordisk Foundation grants 670 000 € to develop organ transplant assessment and drug discovery tool for epilepsy

Published on 10.5.2024
Tampere University
Susanna Narkilahti and Jari Hyttinen.
Senior Research Fellow Susanna Narkilahti and Professor Jari Hyttinen.
The funded two projects are led by Jari Hyttinen and Susanna Narkilahti from the Faculty of Medicine and Health Technology. ReOrgan project aims at commercialization readiness of human organ transplant quality assessment. MEMO project aims to translate epilepsy research and drug discovery into organ-on-chip world.

There is global urgent demand for transplant organs. For example, for Eurotransplant operating in eight European countries, 10 099 new patients entered waiting lists during 2023. In the US, doctors may turn down several life-saving organs instead of taking the risk of using an organ of a borderline quality.

The US has set a goal to decrease the amount of donated but unused kidneys from 25% to 5%. Real-time Assessment of Organ Transplant Degradation Post-procurement (ReOrgan) project aims to be a part of that transition and develop a safe real-time method to assess the condition of the donated organs and provide clinicians more tools and accurate information on the condition of the transplant. Funding received from the Novo Nordisk Foundation is 536 000 €.

“Our endeavor ultimately aims at an FDA approved and CE marked clinical device. ReOrgan allow us to strengthen the science base and produce a prototype of the intended transplant assessment device during the project,” the project leader, Professor Jari Hyttinen sums up.

ReOrgan concept summarized. Baseline assessment of a donated organ is made right after the organ has been procured. Organ condition is continuously monitored during transport. To make the decision, the transplanting doctor can view all the organ condition data from the procurement to the operating room and take an on-the-spot quality measurement immediately before implanting the organ.

Solutions to drug-resistant epilepsy

Modular platform for Epilepsy Modelling (MEMO) developed by Susanna Narkilahti’s team aims to translate epilepsy research and drug discovery into organ-on-chip world. MEMO platform combines human neuronal cells with advanced microfluidic device connected to microelectrode array and gas supply chamber. This allows monitoring electrophysiological signals, seizure-like activity and drug response of the neuronal cells in brain circuitry mimicking concept. Funding received from the Novo Nordisk Foundation is 134 150 €.

Epilepsy is a complex neurological disorder affecting over 65 million people worldwide. A third of the patients suffer from drug-resistant epilepsy and there is a great need for novel therapeutical solutions.

“We are really excited to receive this funding as it will boost our commercialization process a great deal”, Narkilahti sums up.

MEMO concept summarized. Functional neuronal network on a chip allows studying the seizure-like activity and drug responses. Image modified from

Both Hyttinen’s and Narkilahti’s teams are completing Research to Business projects funded by the Business Finland. Novo Nordisk funding provides the timely next step toward getting the innovations to the markets.

Further information

Jari Hyttinen
jari.hyttinen [at] (jari[dot]hyttinen[at]tuni[dot]fi)

Susanna Narkilahti
susanna.narkilahti [at] (susanna[dot]narkilahti[at]tuni[dot]fi)

Read more about the Novo Nordisk Pioneer Innovator Grant