On a microslide-sized chip, US researchers make multiple organs

On a microslide-sized chip, US researchers make multiple organs ...

According to a university press release, researchers at the Columbia University Irving Medical Center have developed an organ-on-a-chip system composed of tissues from the human heart, liver, bone, and skin, as well as circulating immune cells.

Engineering tissues are now the foundation of disease models, providing the ideal conditions for disease progression and drug efficacy. However, the human body is a group of tissue types that do not work in isolation but communicate physiologically. So, researchers are working on developing organ-on-chip structures that can mimic the human body, giving further information on how diseases progress and the effects of drugs on other organs.

Mimicking the human body, unique to individuals

The researchers achieve this unique distinction by utilizing endothelial barriers that are selectively permeable. The human heart, bone, liver, and skin tissues are all linked in their embryonic origin, structure and functional properties.

Interestingly, the tissue types on the chip system are developed from the same cell line as the human-induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) technology allows researchers to create patient-specific lines from a small sample of blood drawn from an individual.

While the growth and maturation of the tissue type took four to six weeks, scientists remained able to maintain these tissues in their individual environments for another four weeks.

Studying anticancer drugs

During this period, researchers examined the effect of the anti-cancer drugdoxorubicin, which is widely used among patients, and is well known to have adverse effects. The team developed a new computational model to detect the drug''s absorption, distribution, metabolism, and secretion on the multi-organ chip and verified its accuracy by studying the metabolism.

"We were able to identify early molecular markers of cardiotoxicity, the main side-effect of the drug. "The multi-organ chip precisely predicted the cardiotoxicity and cardiomyopathy that often require clinicians to lower therapeutic dosages of doxorubicin or even to stop the therapy," said the project leader.

Future studies may be used to better predict the pharmacodynamic effects of other drugs, as well as to assist in extrapolating effects on clinical outcomes.

The company is currently testing metastasis in breast cancer, prostate cancer, leukemia, the effects of ischemia on other organs, as well as the effects of SARS-CoV-2 infection on the heart, lung, and vascular systems, according to a press release.

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