5/14/14 Animal testing has always been a controversial subject and alternatives to date have not been promising. A team at the Wyss Institute has found a solution! Using microfabrication techniques, they have engineered functional human organs-on-chips that provide a great alternative to conventional animal testing. In 2010 a functioning Lung-on-a-Chip was developed. It combines modern tissue engineering with cultured human cells to mimic the structure and functions of a living, breathing human lung on a clear microchip. The Wyss team also recently developed a human Gut-on-a-Chip, mimicing the environment of the intestine. They are now working on other types of organ chips. The plan is to then link them together to predict the responses of a multi-organ system. With this new knowledge and research prospect the hopes are to be able to generate high impact, human relevant, predictive data during critical stages of drug discovery processes that will help drive key decisions and prioritize drug candidates for clinical development.
This new technology has the potential to transform the way in which we do drug discovery and development by providing more predictive tools that can be applied across the entire process from early discovery, target identification and target validation to lead optimization, in addition to providing tools to better design regulatory studies and clinical trials.
You can read more about what the Wyss Institute is doing on their website.