Organs-on-a-Chip and faster Drug-to-market

The current drug development cycle is too costly, takes too long, and fails more often than it succeeds. Diseases go untreated and patients who need therapy are not receiving any relief. In the TED Talk Body parts on a chip Geraldine Hamilton discusses her method to test drugs outside the body. Hamilton is attacking the problem of drug testing before human clinical trials. Testing human cells in petri dishes don’t give ideal results because the environment is totally different than a human body. Animal testing often fail to predict what will happenin humans. Her solution is to use human cells and keep them happy outside the human body. Inspiration comes from the manufacture of computer chips to build the chips. Three channels exist within the chips, beginning with a thing membrane in the center that holds the human cells. Mechanical forces can then be applied to the outside of these cells to simulate tension, compression, temperature changes or fatigue. Channels exist above and below the cell to circulate air and blood.

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