Technology 3 min read

Scientists Develop Organ Chip Platform to Enhance Drug Testing

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Tarica /

Scientists have developed a functioning Organ Chip platform to enable an effective preclinical drug testing of human drug pharmacology.

Preclinical drug testing is far from perfect.

Before getting to this stage of testing, the scientists must have removed all toxic effects. Also, they must establish the concentration and administration routes before testing drug candidates in people.

Unfortunately, that’s not as easy as it sounds.

Before human studies, there’s animal testing and in vitro studies. But, it’s difficult to accurately predict how a new drug would move or perform in the human body from these tests.

As a result, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) only approves about 13.8 percent of tested drugs. And the number plunges even further If the disease in question affects relatively few people.

In their papers in Nature Biomedical Engineering, a team of researchers co-led by Dr. Ben Maoz proposed a solution.

Co-author of the two studies, Prof. Donald Ingber, M.D., Ph.D. explained:

“To solve this massive preclinical bottleneck problem, we need to become much more effective at setting the stage for drugs that are truly promising and rule out others that for various reasons are likely to fail in people.”

The researchers devised a functioning, comprehensive, multi-Organ-on-a-Chip (Organ Chip) platform. This could result in a more effective in-vitro-to-in-vivo translation (IVIVT) of human drug pharmacology.

Enhancing Drug Testing With Organ Chip Platform

In the study, the researchers developed what they’re calling the “interrogator.” It’s a robotic liquid transfer device that links individual “Organ Chips” to mimic the flow of blood within the body.

Organ chips are microfluidic devices. They consist of a transparent flexible polymer that contains two parallel running channels.

A porous membrane separates the channels while they’re independently perfused with cell type-specific media.

One of the channels – the parenchymal channel – is lined with cells from a specific human organ. Meanwhile, the other channel’s lining consists of vascular endothelial cells present in blood vessels.

The two compartments communicate via the membrane. Besides, the membrane enables the exchange of molecules like cytokines, growth factors, including drugs and drug products from organ-specific metabolic processes.

For their test, the researchers applied the interrogator automated linking platform and a new computational model to three linked organs. The goal was to test two drugs – nicotine and cisplatin.

Among other things, the team was able to accurately model the oral uptake of nicotine as well as the intravenous uptake of cisplatin. They also noted the first passage of the drugs through relevant organs.

“The modularity of our approach and availability of multiple validated Organ Chips for a variety of tissues for other human Body-on-Chip approaches now allows us to develop strategies to make realistic predictions about the pharmacology of drugs much more broadly,” says Prof. Ingber.

“Its future use could greatly increase the success rates of Phase I clinical trials.”

Read More: New AI System Could Predict a Drug’s Negative Side Effects

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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