"Body On A Chip" Could Make Drug Testing Easier

A team of researchers is working on 3D-printing different organ cells, connecting them with a tiny circulatory system, and putting the whole thing on a two-inch chip, creating a "test subject" that's steps up from animals or single-organ cell groups.

What's the Latest Development?

A $24 million project led by the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine has as its goal the creation of miniature human organs -- more specifically, organ cells built using 3D bioprinting -- connected to each other with an artificial circulatory system and placed on a two-inch chip with monitoring sensors. The hearts, livers, and kidneys aren't fully functional, but putting them together in a way that simulates how real organs work will enable researchers to see what can happen to a human body when certain drugs or other substances are introduced. The sensors record temperature, pH, and other types of data.

What's the Big Idea?

The funding for this project comes from the US Department of Defense, which hopes to create a test platform that will let scientists and others know more quickly how the human body reacts in case of a biological or chemical attack. An added benefit is that the platform could enable researchers to "bypass cell testing and animal testing" and save millions of dollars in drug trials. Says Wake Forest director Tony Atala: "We will know not just how a drug affects one organ, but how a drug affects major body systems together in a chip."

Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Read it at LiveScience

Compelling speakers do these 4 things every single time

The ability to speak clearly, succinctly, and powerfully is easier than you think

Former U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee rally at the Anaheim Convention Center on September 8, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Barbara Davidson/Getty Images)
Personal Growth

The ability to communicate effectively can make or break a person's assessment of your intelligence, competence, and authenticity.

Keep reading Show less

This 5-minute neck scan can spot dementia 10 years before it emerges

The results come from a 15-year study that used ultrasound scans to track blood vessels in middle-aged adults starting in 2002.

Mikhail Kalinin via Wikipedia
Mind & Brain
  • The study measured the stiffness of blood vessels in middle-aged patients over time.
  • Stiff blood vessels can lead to the destruction of delicate blood vessels in the brain, which can contribute to cognitive decline.
  • The scans could someday become a widely used tool to identify people at high risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer's.
Keep reading Show less

Preserving truth: How to confront and correct fake news

Journalism got a big wake up call in 2016. Can we be optimistic about the future of media?

  • "[T]o have a democracy that thrives and actually that manages to stay alive at all, you need regular citizens being able to get good, solid information," says Craig Newmark.
  • The only constructive way to deal with fake news? Support trustworthy media. In 2018, Newmark was announced as a major donor of two new media organizations, The City, which will report on New York City-area stories which may have otherwise gone unreported, and The Markup, which will report on technology.
  • Greater transparency of fact-checking within media organizations could help confront and correct fake news. Organizations already exist to make media more trustworthy — are we using them? There's The Trust Project, International Fact-Checkers Network, and Tech & Check.
Keep reading Show less