"Human Body on a Chip" Could Revolutionize Medicine

The military's experimental research and development department and the National Institutes of Health will fund a project that mimics human organs on a single computer chip.

What's the Latest Development?


With $32 million in government funding over the next five years, a team of MIT-led researchers plan to develop a technology system that uses an integrated and interchangeable array of human tissue constructs that mimic human physiological systems in laboratory settings. "The modules will be designed to mimic the functions of specific organ systems representing a broad spectrum of human tissues, including the circulatory, endocrine, gastrointestinal, immune, integumentary, musculoskeletal, nervous, reproductive, respiratory and urinary systems."

What's the Big Idea?

Called BIO-MIMETICS, the program will create a platform that can incorporate up to 10 human organ systems in a single interacting circuit. "The goal of the program is to create a versatile platform capable of accurately predicting drug and vaccine efficacy, toxicity, and pharmacokinetics in preclinical testing. The BIO-MIMETICS team anticipates that the platform will be suitable for use in regulatory review, amenable to rapid translation to the biopharmaceutical research community, and adaptable for integration of future technologies (such as advances in stem cell technologies and personalized medicine)."

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