So far in vitro methods and animal experiments have been used to determine the causes of diseases, research therapeutic approaches and predict the effect of drugs. Organ-on-a-chip models now offer a more accurate and ethically justifiable alternative. Find out more about the models, their advantages and future developments in our Topic of the Month.
Organ-on-a-chip – Organs in miniature format
In vitro processes and animal tests are used to develop new medications and novel therapeutic approaches. However, animal testing raises important ethical concerns. Organ-on-a-chip models promise to be a feasible alternative. In a system the size of a smartphone, organs are connected using artificial circulation.
Organ-on-a-chip systems: limited validity?
Organ-on-a-chip systems are technically a great enhancement of medical research because they facilitate testing of active ingredients on cell cultures in the chambers of a plastic chip. This replaces animal testing and improves patient safety. That being said, they are not a true-to-life replication of the human body and can only simulate a few functions and activities. This begs the question of whether their results are actually applicable.
Multi-Organ Chips – The Patients of Tomorrow?
The liver, nervous tissue or the intestines: all are important human organs that have in the past been tested for their function and compatibility using animal or in vitro test methods. By now, organ-on-a-chip systems, which simulate organ structures on a microscale are gaining momentum. In recent years, TissUse GmbH, a spin-off of the Technical University of Berlin (TU Berlin), has launched multi-organ chip platforms. But that’s not all.
Multi-organ chips: Drug research without animal testing at vasQlab
New active substances that are suitable for drugs are initially tested in animal experiments. However, the results cannot always be transferred to the human organism. At the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Prof. Ute Schepers from vasQlab explains how active substances can be tested in human tissue without endangering human health.