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New technology platform propels the use of 'organs-on-chips'

Date:
March 8, 2017
Source:
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Summary:
A novel technology platform has been developed that enables the continuous and automated monitoring of so-called 'organs-on-chips' -- tiny devices that incorporate living cells to mimic the biology of bona fide human organs.
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A research team led by scientists from Brigham and Women's Hospital has developed a novel technology platform that enables the continuous and automated monitoring of so-called "organs-on-chips" -- tiny devices that incorporate living cells to mimic the biology of bona fide human organs.

One of the major technical challenges in using organs-on-chips is that current methods for measuring their responses are done mostly by hand, making it difficult to conduct long-term studies that seek to closely model human physiology and responses. Moreover, these measurements require the removal of relatively large volumes of fluid. If repeated several times, they can deplete the liquid in the system, rendering it inoperable.

The scientists, led by first author Yu Shrike Zhang together with senior author Ali Khademhosseini, created several innovations to address these challenges. These include the development of a biochemical sensor that can continuously and accurately measure different substances released by the organ-like system, as well as enhancements that allow the use of multiple physical sensors, which monitor features such as temperature, oxygen levels, and pH values.

In addition, they engineered a central router or "breadboard" that controls fluid flow to different components of the network. Equipped with a series of channels and valves, this breadboard functions as kind of circulatory system that enables researchers to program when and how often liquid runs through specific organs or sensors. The modular design further allows convenient replacement of individual modules when necessary. Zhang and his colleagues were able to use this approach to integrate a variety of different sensors.

"Our system is highly flexible and modular, so it can be readily adapted for use with different types of pre-existing chips and research applications," explains Zhang. "We hope this will expand the use of organs-on-chips in a variety of contexts, including drug screening and drug toxicity studies," adds Khademhosseini.


Story Source:

Materials provided by Brigham and Women's Hospital. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Yu Shrike Zhang, Julio Aleman, Su Ryon Shin, Tugba Kilic, Duckjin Kim, Seyed Ali Mousavi Shaegh, Solange Massa, Reza Riahi, Sukyoung Chae, Ning Hu, Huseyin Avci, Weijia Zhang, Antonia Silvestri, Amir Sanati Nezhad, Ahmad Manbohi, Fabio De Ferrari, Alessandro Polini, Giovanni Calzone, Noor Shaikh, Parissa Alerasool, Erica Budina, Jian Kang, Nupura Bhise, João Ribas, Adel Pourmand, Aleksander Skardal, Thomas Shupe, Colin E. Bishop, Mehmet Remzi Dokmeci, Anthony Atala, Ali Khademhosseini. Multisensor-integrated organs-on-chips platform for automated and continual in situ monitoring of organoid behaviors. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2017; 201612906 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1612906114

Cite This Page:

Brigham and Women's Hospital. "New technology platform propels the use of 'organs-on-chips'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 March 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/170308114725.htm>.
Brigham and Women's Hospital. (2017, March 8). New technology platform propels the use of 'organs-on-chips'. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 27, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/170308114725.htm
Brigham and Women's Hospital. "New technology platform propels the use of 'organs-on-chips'." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/03/170308114725.htm (accessed May 27, 2017).

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