A multiorgan, functional, human in vitro assay system or 'Body-on-a-Chip' would be of tremendous benefit to the drug discovery and toxicology industries, as well as providing a more biologically accurate model for the study of disease as well as applied and basic biological research. Here, we describe the advances our team has made towards this goal, as well as the most pertinent issues facing further development of these systems. Description is given of individual organ models with appropriate cellular functionality, and our efforts to produce human iterations of each using primary and stem cell sources for eventual incorporation into this system. Advancement of the 'Body-on-a-Chip' field is predicated on the availability of abundant sources of human cells, capable of full differentiation and maturation to adult phenotypes, for which researchers are largely dependent on stem cells. Although this level of maturation is not yet achievable in all cell types, the work of our group highlights the high level of functionality that can be achieved using current technology, for a wide variety of cell types. As availability of functional human cell types for in vitro culture increases, the potential to produce a multiorgan in vitro system capable of accurately reproducing acute and chronic human responses to chemical and pathological challenge in real time will also increase.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Molecular Medicine
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
- Cell Biology