Science stops for no one, and innovation never rests. Tech Snapshot captures today's cutting-edge technologies as they occur. Get a sneak peek today at the tools that will lead to great scientific discoveries tomorrow.

This edition of Tech Snapshot features: OrganoPlates

Organ-on-a-Chip
Being 'Chipper' about the Technology of the Future

One of the many challenges drug discovery faces is predictive preclinical models that aren’t consistently reliable. For example, the results from animal studies are usually poor predictors of human reactions to drug exposure. The low success rate of such models hinders the growth of R&D, so scientists have turned to more progressive models that emulate the human disease condition with more clarity such as 3D human tissues (or organs) on microfluidic chips.

These micro-engineered chips are inhabited by human cells to simulate the essential functions of an organ (or tissues) in miniature formats in vitro such as a beating heart or lungs that draw breath. Not only are these on-chip models more cost-effective than animal models, but the study results are often more accurate while also using smaller doses of drugs.

The ultimate goal of this platform is to develop a complete and comprehensive human-on-a-chip that shows how a drug affects the human body in its entirety while also being patient- and population-specific for individualized study. Therefore, I am optimistically enthusiastic about the eventuality when drug scientists and physicians would be able to recapitulate their patients’ physiology on a microfluidic dish and custom design drugs for them.

Because this technology holds so much promise, we’ve interviewed our supplier Mimetas to learn more about their organ-on-a-chip platform, OrganoPlates. Here’s this month’s edition of Scientist.com’s Tech Snapshot, which captures today’s cutting-edge technologies as they occur.

Guru is currently Director of Scientific Content at Scientist.com, the world’s largest pharmaceutical marketplace for scientific services. He is responsible for ensuring that Scientist.com includes the latest tools and technologies. Prior to Scientist.com, Guru helped launch several life science startups and a non-profit cancer foundation.