Nanolive revolutionizing mitochondrial therapy research in Japan: “Seeing is believing”

Nanolive installed the CX-A automated live cell imaging platform at LUCA Science in Sapporo, Japan

Nanolive SA announced today the installation of their CX-A imaging platform at LUCA Science’s Research & Development Center in Sapporo, Japan. LUCA Science is developing a novel functional mitochondrial therapy using its proprietary mitochondria isolation technology to improve cellular bioenergetics in injured tissues. Nanolive’s label-free, live cell imaging solution advances mitochondrial research by permitting high-resolution visualization of mitochondrial dynamics with a low-intensity, non-invasive and non-phototoxic light source.

About LUCA Science

LUCA Science’s catchphrase is “Energy for Life”, and their mission is to restore the energy needed for biological processes, by using energy-generating mitochondria themselves to treat patients and improve health. Powering LUCA Science is their isolated mitochondria Q which is in development for use as an off-the-shelf therapy to treat patients with dysfunctional mitochondria in mitochondrial diseases, improving CAR-T function, reducing ischemia-reperfusion injury, and other applications.

LUCA Science team

Dr. Hisashi Ohta, Head of Research and Development, Masae Takeda, Technical Staff and Ph.D. Candidate, and Dr. Rick C. Tsai, President and CEO of LUCA Science (left to right) review the first captures made with Nanolive’s CX-A platform.

Videos captured by LUCA Science

Seeing is believing: Mitochondrial uptake by cells

Here, a cell ‘reaches out’ its plasma membrane, engulfing a fluorescently-tagged mitochondrion (red). The mitochondrion is taken up and internalised by the cell.

Video captured by scientists at LUCA Science, Japan. LUCA Science has a proprietary technology to produce storable isolated mitochondria for treatment of various diseases with damaged/impaired cell function. Their mitochondria Q do not have to be encapsulated to be taken up by cells, as this video shows.

Fluorescence (TRITC channel) and refractive index images were captured every 6 minutes for 3 hours.

Mitochondrial uptake by cells

Exogenous fluorescently-tagged mitochondria Q (red) are taken up by HeLa cells over the 03 hour 44 minute imaging period.

Nanolive’s refractive index imaging allows us to see how the plasma membrane envelops mitochondria, internalizing them. 03 h 44 min after the start of imaging, many mitochondria have accumulated inside each cell.

Captured every 4 min 9 s by scientists at LUCA Science.

Visualizing endogenous mitochondria

Visualize the dynamics of this endogenous network in real time, as a cell takes in LUCA Science’s proprietary exogenous mitochondria (red) from the extracellular environment.

Captured every 7 min 40 s by scientists at LUCA Science.

Dynamic Mitosis

This HeLa cell rotated during imaging, giving us views of metaphase from the pole, and the side of the cell.

Images were captured every 1 min 23 s for 6 hours 2 minutes by scientists at LUCA Science, Japan.

“It’s very unique when you’re combining two cutting edge technologies; Nanolive’s imaging and LUCA’s Mitochondria, if one cutting edge technology shows something new, two will be even more powerful, so I hope we will be able to show many, many interesting discoveries”

Dr. Rick C. Tsai DMD, MD

President & CEO, LUCA Science Inc.

Nanolive imaging helped to prove therapeutic potential

After developing a proprietary method to isolate intact and functional mitochondria, the LUCA Science team discovered that even with simple co-culture, mitochondria Q were readily taken up by the cells in vitro. Thanks to Nanolive’s live cell imaging, the uptake of mitochondria Q was captured in real-time (videos below). President and CEO of LUCA Science, Dr. Rick Tsai told us “That short video from Nanolive has converted a lot of non-believers, seeing is believing.

Nanolive’s installation at LUCA Science

Nanolive installed the complete CX-A automated live cell imaging platform in LUCA Science’s research laboratory followed by curated training in image acquisition and analysis specific to their application in mitochondrial research. From the first acquisition, mitochondria were visible, completely label free. Combined with epifluorescence correlation, the LUCA team could easily differentiate their mitochondria Q from endogenous host cell mitochondria.

Mitochondrial uptake by HeLa cells

Fluorescently tagged mitochondria Q (red) are taken up by HeLa cells over the 3 h 44 min imaging period. Combining both refractive index and fluorescence imaging allows us to see how the mitochondria are able to pass through the plasma membrane, into the cells. Less than four hours after the start of imaging, many mitochondria had accumulated inside each cell.

About Nanolive in mitochondrial research

Nanolive’s live cell imaging is a go-to method for investigating mitochondria, thanks to its ability to image mitochondria as well as other organelles label-free. This non-invasive approach allows high-resolution imaging over long periods of time without damage or disruption, for a more biologically relevant picture of mitochondrial dynamics and function.
Nanolive’s Head of AI for Quantitative Biology, Dr. Mathieu Frechin said “Joining forces with LUCA Science will allow us to expand our knowledge of possible mitochondrial shapes and dynamics and possibly shed light on completely new roles for exogenous mitochondria entering cells. We are thrilled!
Dr. Tsai summarized his hopes for the Nanolive platform at LUCA Science: “There are still many discoveries to be made on exogenous mitochondria biology, I’m convinced when we image different conditions and cell types with this platform, there will probably be valuable world-first discoveries.

About LUCA Science Inc.

LUCA Science is a Japanese preclinical biopharmaceutical company focusing on the development of novel mitochondrial therapies to treat diseases and injuries in multiple therapeutic areas by restoring cellular bioenergetics. LUCA Science has ongoing collaborations across Japan, the US, and the UK to research the clinical applications of their mitochondrial platform.

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