Develop kidney biomimetic “phantoms” as quality control standards

There is a critical need to develop novel biomimetic “phantoms” that can serve as quality control standards to normalize batch effects (ensure traceability, version control, rigor, and reproducibility) and to enhance the ability of the research community to compare results from diverse tissue integration methods performed at different sites and at different times. This solicitation aims to form new collaborative partnerships by providing KPMP opportunity pool funds to applicants proposing to design, fabricate, characterize, produce, and distribute novel biomimetic phantoms. Ideally, the phantoms will perform several diverse tasks including, but not limited to:

  1. Tissue processing and Pre-analytic control. A highly sensitive indicator that can accurately monitor changes (either directly or indirectly) over time to tissue ischemia, hypoxia, analyte degradation, etc. (analogous to a tracking device that can monitor temperature changes of a shipped package).
  2. Analytic control. A highly stable positive control with reproducible signal integrity over time of appropriate reference transcripts, proteins, metabolites, cells, structures, etc. (analogous to molecular weight markers used for quantitative and qualitative comparisons).

All phantoms need to be fit for purpose (bulk tissue analysis, single cell analysis, immunohistochemistry, proteomics, metabolomics, etc.). Phantoms designed for image-based tissue interrogation methods likely need to have similar mechanical, thermal, electrical, acoustic and optical properties to those of adult human kidney.

Upon development and validation, it is anticipated that phantoms will be included alongside (not “spiked-into”) every KPMP biopsy obtained from patient participants (to monitor changes that occur in tissue integrity during procurement, shipping, handling, etc.) and used as positive controls for each tissue interrogation platform (to assess experimental variability over time). As described above, it’s unlikely that a single phantom will be able to accomplish all tasks. Thus, it is acknowledged that a panel or suite of phantoms – each optimized for a subset of tasks – will be required to accomplish all of these diverse tasks. Strong applications will fully consider the current tissue processing protocols and analytic pipelines used by the KPMP.

Five (5) page applications requesting up to $100,000 total costs per year for three years are due June 28, 2019 by 5 p.m. Pacific

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