The human on a biochip

researchers have not only created mini-organs, but also now are able to put them together on microchips. They hope to soon link all important organ systems and study the whole human being on a biochip to better research diseases and to test medicines. This may possibly also animal experiments can be saved.

When researchers succeeded in letting grow a human organ in miniature in the laboratory the medical community began to dream of all that could be possible now. Physicians could observe the interplay of different cells in the laboratory in the future and finally understand the development and function of organs in detail. Scientists now breed mini-livers and pancreas, tiny bladder and placenta. Recently, for the first time, it has been possible to obtain human blood vessels as mini-organs in the laboratory.

In the meantime, physicians and biologists combine different miniature images in the laboratory to understand their interaction. Together with engineers, they even set their breeds to microchips. So they also want to simulate the natural environment of the organs in the body. When it comes to some scientists, they can soon link all the important organ systems and study the whole human being on a biochip to better research diseases and to test medicines. These new technologies have the potential to revolutionize drug discovery. So far, the development costs for an approved, novel drug are up to 2.8 billion euros. Researchers still rely on animal testing to test the effects of new substances. Only when they prove to be safe in the animal experiments, they may be tested on humans. But the test series in animals often say little about the processes in the human body.

Therefore, researchers want to test new substances on mini-organs in the future. For this, they first embed human stem cells in a laboratory gel. Under the microscope, it can be seen that the mini-organs contain the essential structures of the real organ. Therefore, the organoids in the laboratory should respond to medication as well as the real organ in the body.

Learn more in the full article here (German only)

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