Posted by Dr Katy Taylor on 25th July 2016
Scientists unveil the world’s first ‘human-on-a-chip’
Cutting-edge advancements will help consign animal experiments to the history books
The world’s first ‘human-on-a-chip’ has been unveiled by a team of UK and US scientists this month at the organ-on-a-chip World Congress 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts1.
While individual organ-on-chips have already been created, this is the first time that seven organ systems have been combined to create a functioning human micro-system.
The device is about the size of a tablet computer and contains small pools of seven different types of organ tissue. This includes the lung, brain, heart, gut, pancreas, liver and uterus, using tissue either donated from surgery or grown from human stem cells. The organs were then connected together with embedded channels that are designed to mimic the body’s blood vessels by pumping an oxygen and nutrient-rich liquid, similar to blood, around the device.
The researchers are also planning to add tissue from additional organs, including the skin and kidneys, in order to create a more realistic human replica 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.
- Scientists create ‘human on a chip’ using miniature organs as a cutting-edge way to test latest drugs. (2016). The Mirror, 07 July: http://www.mirror.co.uk/tech/scientists-create-human-chip-using-8364231
- Image courtesy of CN Bio Innovations.