Design Of The Year – Chip That Mimics Human Organs

Researchers have developed a solution for the Pharmaceutical companies to their losses which they have to face in shape of their research failure on drugs. They spend number of years in the completion of a single compound and then loss of lives of many animals is another issue after which the responses of human are still unable to be predicted. The reason behind this failure is that the models of animals do not resemble the physiology of human body.

Museum of Modern Art recently added a fascinating item to its permanent collection which is a chip known as “Organ-on-Chips. It is a microchip similar to the chips made by Intel for the brains of computers whose size is equal to a thumb drive. The microchip contains microfluidic tubes whose connections have been made the human cells. It will be used to pump the air, nutrients and bacteria due which infection is developed. The aim is to make the possibility to mimic the entire body functioning of the humans which is expected to be done by developing organs-on-chips of ten different types and then they will be connected to each other on an automated instrument which will perform the desired function. This instrument will observe the cultured tissues and analyze the complex biochemical functions and will be capable of controlling the flow of fluid and viability of cell.

The main objective of making this new instrument is to save the time and cost which is wasted on drugs when they are tested on the animals. With the help organs-on-chips, Pharmaceutical industry will be able to test the drugs correctly on the instruments which will be mimicking the human body parts and therefore waste of money and time on the testing of drugs on animals will be finished.

The chip has been successful in providing an alternative to the 3-D images of the human organs e.g. the renal tubules of a kidney, the alveoli of the lungs, the veins in a liver using the tissue-lined channels containing micro fluids. After that it mirrors the intricacies of those 3-D images. For example, running air through a channel while using a vacuum to introduce a flexing motion will simulate the patterns of human breathing. The chip contains a translucent polymer, which has sheathed in itself channels which have enabled researchers to see the internal workings of the organs on a micro level.

This instrument which has the ability to mimic the human body parts has been developed by the researchers of Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering which took the initiative of a company named as “Emulate” which works on the similar theme “Pre-clinic trial testing”. Harvard brought the chips to knowledge of everyone by publishing it in 2010 and now it has been considered the part of the collection of notable designs while the success of the chip is evident from its recent acknowledgment as the design of the year.