A breakthrough in 3D, printable medicine has enabled engineers to create human “organs” on a microchip, fully usable for testing against drugs and toxins.
They are not actual organs, but, instead, a layer of six types of ink, all printed in a combination that causes the chip to react as if it were the actual organ. They have, specifically, recreated the human heart and testing has been excellent.
“This new programmable approach to building organs-on-chips not only allows us to easily change and customize the design of the system by integrating sensing but also drastically simplifies data acquisition,” said Johan Ulrik Lind, a researcher at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University.
By being able to produce and use a bunch of these, they’re able to speed up the rate with which they can research. They can also loose themselves from the need to find actual organs to experiment on which means: no more animal testing.
The chips also more accurately represent the human organ than other animals. It seems like we have a grand slam.
“We are pushing the boundaries of three-dimensional printing by developing and integrating multiple functional materials within printed devices,” said Jennifer Lewis, a coauthor of the study.
“This study is a powerful demonstration of how our platform can be used to create fully functional, instrumented chips for drug screening and disease modelling.”
It is an incredibly exciting time when science continues to work toward ethical welfare of animals and restoration of the environment.