Posted by Dr Katy Taylor on 3rd September 2015
‘Organ on a chip’ wins Design of the Year 2015
The London Design Museum has awarded Design of the Year 2015 to the human ‘organ on a chip’.
We are delighted that the London Design Museum has awarded Design of the Year 2015 to the human ‘organ on a chip’ created by researchers at Harvard University’s Wyss Institute.1
As well as improving and speeding up drug development, these innovative little devices could prevent the suffering and death of many thousands of animals in laboratories.
Each chip is about the size of a computer memory stick and is made of clear flexible silicone containing hollow channels that are lined with living human cells.
The ‘lung-on-a-chip’ is even able to mimic human breathing by expanding and contracting the way our lungs do when we breathe.
Other devices that accurately mimic the heart, kidney and gut have also been produced by the Institute. Their ultimate goal is to connect all of these chips together to create a whole ‘human-on-a-chip’ that would completely transform the way experiments are conducted.
This is an exciting example of how modern-day innovation can produce a humane and more reliable approach to understanding the inner workings of human disease without the need for animal suffering.
Dr. Don Ingber, the founding director of the Wyss Insitute said, “We now have a window on the molecular-scale activities going on in human organs, including things that happen in human cells that don’t occur in animals. Most drug companies get completely different results in dogs, cats, mice and humans, but now they will be able to test the specific effects of drugs with greater accuracy and speed.”
- The end of animal testing? Human-organs-on-chips win Design of the Year. (2015). The Guardian, 22 June: http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2015/jun/22/the-end-of-animal-testing-human-organs-on-chips-win-design-of-the-year
Photo © Wyss Institute at Harvard University