Today’s Solutions: October 23, 2021

New drugs and products are often tried out on animals before any testing is done on humans. Other than the animal cruelty that can be involved in new drug trials, another problem is that animals simply aren’t human, which means they don’t have the same human response, thus making the results in an animal study not necessarily translatable to humans. In fact, 94 percent of drugs that pass animal studies will fail during human trials.

To eliminate animal studies altogether, researchers have built a proxy for the human body by linking together “organ chips.” The organ chips — tissue cells from a specific organ, linked together like systems in the body — will allow researchers to study the human response to various drugs and chemicals in the lab, without needing human or animal test subjects. “It’s a little bit like human experimentation in vitro,” says biologist Donald Ingber.

If this conjures thoughts of Frankenstein, rest assured, the body-on-chips system is hardly human. It looks more like a tesselation of polymer tiles, each about the size of a domino. Two fluid channels are lined with human tissue cells from blood vessels and various body parts.

Each organ chip represents a different function, such as a lung, a liver, or the blood-brain barrier. Ingber’s team at Harvard’s Wyss Institute built an instrument, called the Interrogator, which automatically links the organ chips to create a functional “human body-on-chips.” With this platform, they can predict how the human body will metabolize drugs. At the moment, the team is using these chips in search of a treatment for Covid-19.

At the Optimist Daily, we are keen to see a future where scientists won’t have to rely on animals for experimentation. That’s why we’ll be keeping a close eye on the development of these organ chips.

Solutions News Source Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

Algae wrapped in droplets improves efficiency of artificial photosynthesis

In our quest for the most sustainable, most renewable sources of energy, humanity continues to look to nature for inspiration. One of nature’s most efficient energy systems is photosynthesis, which is how plants convert sunlight, ... Read More

Evidence shows Vikings arrived in Americas nearly 500 years before Columbus

Researchers have known for a while that Vikings from Greenland founded the village of L’Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland around the turn of the millennium, but now, a study published in Nature has finally pinpointed ... Read More

Egypt’s State Council swears-in the nation’s first female judges

Egypt’s State Council was established in 1946 and is an independent judicial body that deals with administrative disputes, disciplinary cases, appeals, reviews draft laws, decisions, and contracts that involve the government or a government-run body. ... Read More

Is group or individual work more productive? Here’s what science says

Are you a group project person or do you prefer to fly solo? We all have our work preferences, but what does science say about teamwork and productivity? A new study conducted by Quartz aims ... Read More

Wildlife filmaker provides a unique insight into the daily lives of bees

You may have seen bees flying around your backyard or local park, but it can be difficult for the naked human eye to grasp the full complexity of the lives of these pollinators. During the ... Read More