‘Organ on a chip’: The new lab setup scientists are using instead of animals to test new drugs

Source: The post is based on the article “‘Organ on a chip’: The new lab setup scientists are using instead of animals to test new drugs” published in The Hindu on 28th February 2023

What is the News?

US has approved the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Modernization Act 2.0.The act gives go ahead to computer-based and experimental alternatives to animals to test new drugs.This move is expected to boost the research and development of “organ on a chips”.

What is Organ on a chip?

They are small devices containing human cells that are used to mimic the environment in human organs, including blood flow and breathing movements, serving as synthetic environments in which to test new drugs.

Why Organ on a Chip?

The current consensus is that animals can mimic some human diseases well but not others.

These challenges have led scientists to look for alternative models that mimic human diseases. One such is the organ­ on ­a ­chip model, which has garnered a lot of attention in the last decade.

What are the potential applications of Organ on a Chip

Organ-on-a-chip technology has numerous potential applications, including drug development, disease modelling and toxicity testing.

This could also lead to the development of more effective and personalized treatments for a variety of diseases.

What are the advantages of using Organ on a Chip?

Reduce the chances of contamination and spread of disease from animals being experimented on.

Minimize ethical dilemmas associated with the use of animals for testing (treatment of animals and their well-being).

What is the progress in the development of organ on chip?

Donald Ingber, a professor of bioengineering and director of the Wyss Institute at Harvard University, and his colleagues developed the first human organ ­on ­a­ chip model in 2010.It was a ‘Lung on a chip’ that mimicked biochemical aspects of the lung and its breathing motions.

Researchers in India are also developing organ-on-a-chip models, including a skin-on-chip model, which is being tested for studying skin irritation and toxicity, and a retina-on-chip model.

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