Paving the Way for Electronic Organs-on-a-Chip

It may sound like science fiction, but “organ on a chip” systems — devices capable of imitating the interaction of cells in a specific organ such as the lungs or liver — have begun to be used to test the effectiveness of drugs in the past few years. We use these systems to quantify the physical properties of cells, which provide information regarding the cells’ health before and after treatment with drugs. This is a critical step when determining the usefulness of a therapy.

The methods generally used for this purpose require the cells to be modified with molecules that emit light when exposed to another specific color of light.

Devising a system that can provide electronic measurements in a user-friendly format is the first step toward the use of this technology in, for example, drug testing for cancer and regenerative medicine.
We are continuing research to further develop and transform our technology into a relatively simple method that will allow for the real-time and continuous tracking of cells, thus providing eventual users with a system capable of obtaining quantifiable information on cell behavior and the state of cells’ health.
Author(s)Source
Darwin R. ReyesNational Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), 25.11.2020
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