Tiny new laboratory tools termed microfluidic devices are helping biomedical researchers to better understand the physiological and chemical processes underlying high blood pressure, stroke, sickle cell disease and other disorders, according to a new article.
Among the exciting developments described in the article is a "lung on a chip" device that will give researchers new insights into fluid dynamics in the diseased lung -- a key to new treatments for pneumonia, cystic fibrosis and asthma.
In the Chemical & Engineering News cover story, senior editor Celia Henry Arnaud describes how microfluidic devices, which include such features as micrometer-scale channels and wells as part of sophisticated "lab-on-a-chip" instruments, provide unprecedented biological realism needed to shed light on today's most challenging medical problems.
The devices enable scientists to study the kinds of fluid movements and chemical interactions that occur in cells, tissues, and even organs in ways that aren't possible with test tubes and Petri dishes, Arnaud notes.
Article: "Mimicking biological systems: Microscale control of the chemistry and physics of cellular microenvironments reveals new biology" Chemical & Engineering News, Sept.10 2007.
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