Organ-on-a-chip

The development of new therapies and drugs is characterised by low efficiency and there is a clear need for better predictive models to evaluate the risk and safety of new materials, cosmetics and food products. Recently, a new class of models termed 'organs-on-chips' has emerged that promises to overcome the limitations of animal models by integrating nanotechnology, microtechnology and human cell biology. Organs-on-chips are realistic laboratory models of human tissues and organs, based on the culture of human cell material in microfluidic devices.
The unique power of organs-on-chips is that they are a direct reflection of the person whose cell material is being used. 'Personalised organs-on-chips' can be engineered by culturing cells of specific individuals who are representative for patient populations or at-risk groups. In the future, organs-on-chips should progressively replace animal models as the mainstay in efficacy and toxicity testing, and should find widespread use in biomedical science. 

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