Availability of representative in vitro human organ and disease models which incorporate the relevant human genetics and mimic in vivo (disease) tissue environment will be essential to improve development of effective and safe drugs which can specifically target the biology underlying human disease.
The role of stemcells
Today it is possible to create the smallest functional structures of healthy or diseased tissue/organ on a chip using microfluidics, microelectronics and microfabrication. The innovative approach now is to incorporate human stem cells, adult or pluripotent, derived from healthy individuals or patients with genetic disease into these chips.
‘Organ on Chip’ models have the potential to reduce drug development costs and failure rates, enable drug repurposing and rescue, reduce time-to-market and minimize the need for animal testing. They will pave the way to human (pre-) clinical trials-on-chips and personalized drugs. Beyond use in drug research by pharma, ‘Organ on Chip’ models will be used as test systems for development of non-pharma treatment approaches, like radiotherapy or hyperthermia for cancer, but also to develop new cosmetics or food additives and for toxicology analysis of environmental contaminants.