‘Body on a chip’ promises improved drug evaluation

Engineers at MIT (Cambridge, MA) say they have developed new technology that could be used to evaluate new drugs and detect possible side effects before the drugs are tested in humans.

The researchers used microfluidic technology – the science of manipulating and controlling fluids inside micrometer-sized channels – to create a platform that connects engineered tissues from up to ten organs. The platform allowed the researchers to accurately replicate human organ interactions for weeks at a time, allowing them to measure the effects of drugs on different parts of the body, and offering the potential to reveal whether a drug that is intended to treat one organ will have adverse effects on another.

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