A lot of time, money and energy is put into new drugs, most of this is used taking it through the stages of testing, from cells to animals, and finally to human trials. This is the price of safety and one we should be very grateful for, but soon there could be a better way. The “Body on a Chip” project proposes a new method which is hoped to replace the current elaborate chain of testing, and even increase the effectiveness and safety of new drugs
So far researchers from Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine have been leading an approach to creating 3D printed duplicates of vital organs. These miniature duplicates, however, don’t make up whole copies of their larger counterparts just the tissue that composes them. From there drugs and chemical agents can be filtered in via synthetic blood and a chip at the base of the tissue picks up just how it interacts with each organ.
The majority of the funding behind this is from the US department of defence with the goal to better explore and defend against the effects of chemical weapons and other forms of biological warfare. The research will also stop early the production of “dead-end” drugs, saving precious time that would have been otherwise wasted.