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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Scientists put our body tissue in Silicon chip

Testing a new drug to be safe and effective is an expensive and long process. The researchers seek to design a silicon computer chip that can function like a human organ, so the process is faster and cheaper.

Pieces of silicon that is smaller than the hands of children is coated with living cells that function and react like organs in the body. These pieces were created as part of Tissue Chip for Drug Screening program to evaluate the safety of drug compounds.

The program is led by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), which Danilo Tagle served as director. Tagle describe how the three-dimensional pieces that were created in order to mimic the workings of the lungs.
A neurovascular unit on a chip being developed by Vanderbilt University researchers. (Picture from: http://bit.ly/1uCSzLa)
"In that case, the cells will replace the role of an air bag, a special tool designed to breathe and expand, and can suck air and fluid as normal lung. For the heart, this tool will replace the heart muscle, and can demonstrate the ability to expand and deflate and beating heart muscle proper, "he said.

These pieces that contain very small replicas of the digestive system, can function like the human stomach and intestines, which move when digesting food. Drugs included in this small organs and through micro-pipes. Experiment with pieces of this network has resulted in more accurate data than the conventional test using animal models or cell.

NCATS has recently provided a grant of US $ 17 million for the next three years to develop a system of organs of the human body as a whole. "So this will be an integrated, interrelated and function, almost like a human body in a chip," he said.

With an interconnected system, the researchers say they can safely evaluate the impact of a drug on different organ systems, for example, to see the level of liver toxicity, as well as monitor the impact on the targeted organ.

New drugs could have passed the laboratory safety tests on animals, said Tagle. "But once tested in humans, the drug turned out to cause toxic side effects," he said.

Scientists want to streamline the drug development process; they hoped that the network chip is able to recognize which drugs are best and most secure before clinically tested in humans. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | VOA NEWS]
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