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All You Need to Know About the Organ-on-a-chip

Organ-on-a-chip is a system which consists of cell culture located in a 3D structure that aids its support, growth as well as proper functioning. Therefore, this device is responsible for mimicking the functions of a particular organ. Yes, you heard it right! A chip which could mimic activities of an organ.

Working

The combination of fluid physics with the 3D compartmentalization of cells plays a significant role in the working of an organ-on-a-chip device.

The microfluidic study focuses on the behaviour of the fluids as well as precisely control and manipulates them through microchannels. Therefore, the principle of microfluidics is applied in order to provide a better environment with the cells which consist of more controlled parameters.

The cells are grown inside the microfluidic chamber in order to create the desired tissue or organs. In order to promote the optimal growth of cells, the chamber should consist of proper nutrients, ambient temperature, pH other parameters. Also, the functionality of the organ should also be maintained by providing specific conditions of for, pH, nutrient contents, toxins, osmotic pressure, etc.

Current Status

It could prove to be a boon for the medical field.  The effect of any external parameter on the functioning of an organ could be precisely studied with the help f the organ-on-a-chip device. Therefore, it could find great applications in the testing of new varieties of the drug on organs. This could be substantiated by the fact after the drugs being tested on animals, they are being subjected to the method of clinical trials on humans. The organ-on-a-chip device could be used to cause a decline in the animal testing methodology and could also be used to replace some part of the clinical trials conducted on humans.

Therefore, this device could help one to study the effect of drugs on human physiology without actually using any animal or human volunteers is currently a major application of this device. Thus, preventing legal complications related to the human as well as animal rights for the pharmaceutical industry.

Different types of organ-on-a-chip systems could be applied in order to study the toxicity or effects associated with a particular drug. Apart from that, it could also hold a great level of application in the research of the diseases that could affect a particular organ like diabetes. Currently, the organ-on-a-chip for lung, heart, gut, skin, kidney and brain could be created in laboratories.

In order to figure out the insights related to the effect of gravity on human physiology, NASA is planning to send a number of these micro-physiological systems into the international space station.

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