Newest Organ-On-A-Chip Technology Milestone: A Petri Period [VIDEO]
Scientists at Northwestern University in Illinois have unveiled their latest achievement in organ-on-a-chip technology or microfluidics. They were able to recreate an artificial functioning female reproductive system and induced it to undergo a menstrual cycle in 28 days.
What the researchers in this study have been able to achieve is deemed by experts as a step up. Previous researchers were only able to create organs-on-a-chip and study effects of a certain drug or treatment at the organ level. The new development in this field of organ-on-a-chip technology allows scientists to study the drugs or treatment at a level of a physiological system, the Gizmodo reported.
This microfluidics system is called Evatar. It is housed in a small cube that has all the parts of a human female reproductive system.
The system has a fluid that acts as blood pumping through it. This even has a mini-liver attached to it to process drugs, Eureka Alert reported.
The researchers attribute their success in building this system to their discovery of a way to create a simple version of blood and mimic the way blood flows in a system. The biggest impact this new breakthrough on organ-on-a-chip technology will have is on the way cancer will be studied. Rather than study the disease on individual tissues or cells, the researchers will be able to see how the disease affects and moves through entire body systems.
The study is also a promising solution in searching for answers to fertility. Other diseases or conditions they hope to find cures to through this technology are endometriosis and fibroids.
Christos Coutifaris of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine believes though that while this is technology is very exciting, it is still in its stages of infancy. What this could help for now will be research. All this offers now is the understanding of person-to-person viability. Further applications like personalized drug treatment are still far off into the future.