- Human-specific diseases
The Organ on Chip approach is particularly relevant for human-specific diseases for which there are no appropriate animal models. These include many human neurological and psychiatric diseases and conditions of the heart, as well as diseases in which the human immune system plays a crucial role. Evolution and progression of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer, macular degeneration, diabetes, rheumatic diseases and diseases like SLE, skin diseases and fibrotic conditions are all affected by our unique immune system.
Combining the Organ on Chip approach with human cellular and molecular immune components will hugely benefit understanding underlying mechanisms of human disease, how to delay its progression and how to find new cures. Organ on Chip models are expected to improve drug toxicity screening, and to be increasingly used for drug target discovery, development of new drugs, drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics, and drug uptake. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in the USA which provides regulatory guidelines for market introduction of drugs has recommended use of human stem cell alternatives for cardiac safety pharmacology as an alternative to present (animal) models. Just one example of where Organ on Chip formats based on human stem cells could soon make inroads on the drug regulatory process.