Organs-on-chips for personalized medicine and to assess drug efficacy

Organs-on-Chips could be used to evaluate the effectiveness of drugs and to support personalized medicine, write Adrian Roth and colleagues in a perspective. “The decisive advantage [these systems] The offer is the creation of physiologically more relevant human organ-like models that can potentially provide data on drug effects that can be better transferred to humans than those from in vivo animal models or conventional cell systems, ”the authors write.

Traditional preclinical drug development is generally based on animal models and in vitro human cell cultures. However, these approaches can poorly predict drug safety and efficacy in humans and contribute to failed clinical trials. Microphysiological Systems (MPS) combine microsystems engineering with cell biology to create cell culture models that recapitulate human physiology and biology and enable multi-cell type human model systems; These systems simulate complex tissue and organ functions better than conventional cell cultures.

While MPS technologies have rapidly evolved into powerful in vitro tools, their value in drug development is only now becoming clear, write Roth and colleagues. “[Microphysiological system (MPS)] Technologies could provide a way to better understand and correct the main flaws of clinical programs: lack of efficacy or unacceptable side effects that are not predicted in animals, or simpler cell systems in early preclinical stages, “they write.

Although MPS technologies are already used in some preclinical drug safety studies, Roth et al. argue that they could also be used to assess the effectiveness and potential adverse effects of a drug before patients are exposed to it. In addition, these systems could be particularly well suited to developing personalized medical approaches by seeding organ-on-chips with the patient’s own cells in order to identify the most effective treatments. Finally, MPS technologies could enable the rapid development and evaluation of new therapies, including vaccines, for urgent medical needs.


American Association for the Advancement of Science

Journal reference:

Roth, A & MPS-WS Berlin 2019., (2021) Human microphysiological systems for drug development. Science.