How Organ-on-chips can Boost New Drug Discovery

Pharma Tech Outlook: Pharma Tech Magazine

How Organ-on-chips can Boost New Drug Discovery

By Pharma Tech Outlook | Thursday, September 20, 2018

The scientists at Ulsan National Institute Science and Technology, South Korea are currently developing human organs-on-chips in collaboration with the Ulsan metropolitan city. With these chips, scientists aim to drive down the time as well as the cost required for new drug discovery.

The purpose of organs-on-chip is to recreate the natural physiological environment of human cells inside certain tissues and organs. The chips can assist in understanding how various drugs interact with particular human organs. The gadgets can also help foresee the activity and toxicity of medications that are superior to anything by the implementation of creature models. As a result, every organ-on-chip can be connected to other such chips in order to research the systemic effects of drugs. According to Cheol-Min Ghim who is a professor in the School of Life Sciences at UNIST and also the director of UNIST-WRIFM-UniBasel Organ Mimetic Research Center, organs-on-chips are greatly effective in imitating human tissues. These chips can also be used to overcome the prevailing challenge of animal testing.

The UNIST-WRIFM-UniBasel Organ Mimetic Research Center has recently declared that it has been chosen as the 2018 Global Research and Development Center (GRDC) program by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF). Along with UNIST, the program is collaboratively promoted by the University of Basel (UniBasel) in Switzerland and Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WRIFM). For the program to run smoothly, UNIST-WRIFM-UniBasel Organ Mimetic Research Center has received KRW 3.9 billion for a period of six years.

According to Director Ghim, apart from organs-on-chips, 3D bioprinting technology is among the biomimetic technologies to have received consideration to such an extent. 3D bioprinting uses a mixture of cells and biomaterials that constitute to complex 3D structures resembling human tissues and organs. Further development of the existing 3D bioprinting technology that can imitate various biological systems of human tissues and organs can also result in the creation of organs-on-chips coupled with 3D-printed biomimetic networks of blood vessels. If this is implemented in the process of screening new drugs, there can be a major fundamental change in the way new drug discovery is approached.

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