To create miniature organs grown in labs helpful test subjects in the past, but they don’t replicate how drugs affect other parts of the body.
Now, a team of scientists engineered micro hearts, lungs and livers that can potentially be used to test new drugs. Combining the micro-organs into one monitored system to call “body-on-a-chip”.
Drug compounds currently screened in the lab using human cells and then tested in animals. But, neither of these methods adequately replicates how drugs affect human organs.
The organ structures made from cell types found in native human tissue using 3D printing and other methods. Heart and livers selected for the system because toxicity to these organs is a major reason for drug candidate failures and drug recalls. A nutrient-rich fluid filled that circulates through the system keeps the organoids alive and introduces potential drug therapies. The researchers first tested the organoids to ensure their similarity to human organs.
body-on-a- chip system
The data show a significant toxic response to the drug also mitigation by the treatment, accurately reflecting the responses seen in human patients, said, Aleks Skardal, Ph.D., assistant professor at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine.
Importantly, how an individual organ responds to drugs, and how the body responds. In many cases during testing of new drug candidate’s drugs have unexpected toxic effects in tissues not directly targeted by the drugs themselves.
“If you screen a drug in livers only, for example, you’re never going to see a potential side effect to other organs,” said Skardal. “By using a multi-tissue organ-on-a-chip system, you can hopefully identify toxic side effects early in the drug development process, which helps to save lives also millions of dollars.”
The scientists conducted multiple scenarios to ensure that the body-on-a- chip system mimics a multi-organ response. Known to cause scarring of the lungs, the drug also unexpectedly affected the system’s heart. However, a control experiment using only the heart showed no response.
Scientists working to increase the speed of the system for large scale screening, and also to add additional organs. This system has the potential for advanced drug screening and also used in personalized medicine.
More information: [Scientific Reports]