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Organs-on-Chips: The Microchip That Might End Animal Testing

Amazing progress for animal-lovers! Scientists from Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering have created a technology that could potentially replace animal testing for cosmetics, chemicals, and new drugs. This technology consists of microchips that mimic the mechanical and molecular characteristics of living human organs such as the heart, lung, and intestine.

Pictured above is a Lung-on-Chip. Lined with human lung and blood vessels cells, this microchip emulates a live human lung. Watch this fascinating video to see how it works:

Ultimately, the researchers want to build what they call a Human-on-a-Chip: an assemblage of 10 Organs-on-Chips that would mimic the entire human body. This groundbreaking technology will be able to quickly assess the safety and efficacity of new drugs, test the safety of cosmetics, and test the toxicity of chemicals, thus sparing the lives of millions of animals.

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Lead Senior Staff Scientist at the Wyss Institute Geraldine Hamilton said:

“This advanced technology is the beginning of a revolution in the way we study human biology. (…) This ability to bioemulate the human organ microenvironment through microengineering – combined with automated instrumentation that permits molecular scale analysis in real-time – allows us to replicate, analyse and predict human responses in a truly unique and powerful way.”

Visit Harvard’s Wyss Institute’s article for more information.

View Comments (2)
  • Organovo is doing something similar with their bioprinting human tissue for testing. It is very cool stuff. It is a great step before introducing a new therapy into a living being.

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