New development advances precision medicine without the use of animals

An exciting collaboration between “organ-on-a-chip” company Emulate and Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles has led to the development of a revolutionary Patient-on-a-Chip program. Cells from patients can be incorporated into the organ-on-a-chip devices to generate personalized disease models. These models allow for the most effective treatments to be identified, an approach that has tremendous potential for improving patient health.

In this exciting partnership, researchers from Cedars-Sinai can collect blood or skin cells from their patients and reprogram them into induced pluripotent stem cells. These cells can then be differentiated into cell types of interest that can be integrated into Emulate’s various organ chips.

The organ-on-a-chip models are more sophisticated than traditional two-dimensional cell cultures, as they better mimic in vivo microenvironments. These human-relevant tools also overcome the limitations of poorly-predictive animal models, which lack human relevance.

According to Dr. Clive Svendsen, director of the Cedars-Sinai Board of Governors Regenerative Medicine Institute, “The medical potential of a Patient-on-a-Chip is extraordinary….By flowing drugs through Organ-Chips containing the patient’s own cells and tissue, we could predict which treatment is most beneficial for that patient.”

Dr. Geraldine Hamilton, president and chief scientific officer of Emulate, also sees incredible potential in the Patient-on-a-Chip program, noting that it will allow researchers to “really begin to understand how diseases, medicines, chemicals, and foods affect an individual’s health.”

In addition to using the patient-specific chips to identify effective and personalized treatments for patients with various diseases, the researchers believe the technology can be used for a number of other applications, including studying disease progression, identifying personalized preventive medical treatments, and designing larger-scale clinical trials to study adverse drug reactions.

We look forward to the impact that these human-relevant models will have on improving patient care, and their potential to replace costly and poorly-predictive animal models.

Source: “Cedars-Sinai and Emulate, Inc. Announce Patient-on-a-Chip Program Using Stem Cells and Organs-on-Chips Technology for Precision Medicine,” February 20, 2018.  Emulate Website.

Image credit: Emulate, Inc

This entry was posted in News and tagged , on March 5, 2018.
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