Organ-on-a-chip: a fast growing research area

Organ-on-a-chip: a fast growing research area

In the field of life sciences and pharmaceutical industries, a lot of changes in the use of technologies are taking place. In many cases, this has great benefits in many different ways. Scientists are developing new ways of testing medicines and the effects of pharmaceuticals. One of these new inventions is called organ-on-a-chip. As the name is already suggesting, this is a chip which is mimicking an organ. The exact same process take place that are happening in an organ, but on a micro scale. This reduces the amount of fluids and materials that are needed for testing the effects of a substance on the organ. Another advantage is that the processes which are taking place on the organ-on-a-chip are highly controllable.

The benefits of organ-on-a-chip

An organ-on-a-chip can mimic many different kinds of tissues, although the way that an organ on a chip is built is always quite similar. An organ-on-a-chip consists of two glass plates with a membrane tissue such as:

  • Neural networks
  • Vascular networks
  • The gut
  • The liver
  • The skin
  • The lungs
  • Mesenchymal stem cells or bone marrow

For many different kinds of medical research the organ-on-a-chip can replace animal testing. Since animal testing has been under debate for a very long time due to ethical objections, this is another advantage of this new technique. No animals have to be harmed when organ-on-a-chip technology is used for testing.

The possibilities of future analysis methods

Just like any other new technology, there is still a lot of progress to be made in this research area. Although this technology has made a lot of things possible that a lot of people had never foreseen, it can still be optimized. Developments in this field of research allow scientist many new ways of examining the human body.