3D printed ‘organ on a chip’ could end animal testing

Harvard scientists have developed a 3D printed heart on a computer chip, which can be used to study heart conditions without testing medical treatments on animals.

The heart-on-chip is composed of a small piece of flexible polymer with integrated sensors that contains living human heart cells, which can mimic the physiological response of a human heart.

The sensors collect data on the beating of the heart-on-chip, which can be used to study how tissue responds to drugs or toxins.

Scientists from the Wyss Institute at Harvard University believe the technology is a more accurate alternative to testing drugs on animals, and hope it can decrease the number of animals used for testing.

“We are pushing the boundaries of three-dimensional printing by developing and integrating multiple functional materials within printed devices,” Jennifer Lewis, senior co-author of the study said in a press release.

Other organs, including bones, lungs, the liver, and gut can also be made into organs on a chip.

However, it is noted that obtaining data from these chips is costly and can only be done using high-speed cameras or microscopy.

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Post time: Nov-16-2017


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