Blog post

One of our key objectives at Cellectricon is to provide the scientific community with the most predictive chronic pain in vitro models possible. Our approach is to use native, neuronal tissue from rodents and human iPS-derived sensory neurons in a high capacity testing platform which can be used to screen large number of compounds, or for detailed characterization of fewer compounds/tools using a multiparametric approach.

We are creating model systems to recapitulate disease states by adding either simple factors (such as NGF) or more complex protocols (using e.g. an “inflammatory soup”). Such manipulations give rise to a clear increase in neuronal excitability, which is a hallmark of chronic pain. Accordingly, we suggest these models are highly relevant for pain research, which also has been confirmed in several client projects in the past years.

We are now striving to increase our portfolio of disease models with the hope that the understanding of chronic pain will increase if illuminated from different views. To achieve our goal, we cannot act in isolation. We are therefore reaching out to the scientific community to enable collaborative development of even more disease-relevant models for pain conditions.

By creating a network of collaborators, we are not only aiming to obtain scientific input to where our models may be of best use, we are also hoping we can contribute to providing a deeper mechanistic understanding of the models we use. As an example, we are in collaboration with our scientific advisor in chronic pain, associate professor Camilla Svensson at Karolinska Institutet, currently investigating whether changes in neuronal excitability induced by nerve injury or long-term inflammation remain in an in vitro culture. This would open up great possibilities to perform disease modeling in our in vitro models.

In partnerships with other academic institutions, biotech and pharma companies, we have other models in development that will also take us from peripheral to pain with central components. I look forward sharing more on that in coming posts!

CSO & Director, chronic pain research

Paul Karila

Paul joined the company in 2012 as head of Cellectricon’s Discovery Services. He previously worked at AstraZeneca (AZ) where he held leadership positions at the Department of Molecular Pharmacology and later at the department of Neuroscience. At the R&D facilities, Paul led teams responsible for ion channel and GPCR profiling in LI-LO phase, mainly on analgesia targets, and most recently a target identification/target validation team focusing on native (human) tissue. Prior to joining AZ, Paul was a Postdoctoral Fellow at School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, USA, studying neurobiology using electrophysiological methods, and a Graduate student in animal physiology at University of Gothenburg, Sweden (1991- 1997).