The recent development of the concept of organs on a chip opens the possibility of realistically studying human organs without the use of patients or animal testing.
Professor Jaap den Toonder, who gave his inaugural lecture at TU/e on 20 June, even goes one step further: he intends to make microsystems in which multiple ‘organs’ are connected through ‘blood vessels’. That will for example allow precise investigation of how cancer spreads. This could eventually make the development of medical drug much cheaper and faster. TU/e is starting a special micro fabrication lab to develop the required technology.
The fact that a medicine does not work as expected is often not discovered until it is actually tested on humans, by which time a lot of costly work may already have been done. By using a microsystem with organs on a chip, researchers will in the near future be able to perform tests much more quickly and realistically, without the need to use animals or human test subjects. Den Toonder believes that the first applications will be ready for use within four to eight years.
Source: www.tue.nl – Photo: Studio040