Researchers Using Organ-On-A-Chip Technology to Study Lung Disease | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

Researchers Using Organ-On-A-Chip Technology to Study Lung Disease

December 23, 2015
by Heather Landi
| Reprints

A research team at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University is using its organ-on-a-chip technology to create models of the human small airway to study chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma.

The platform allows researchers to study lung inflammatory diseases outside the human body and gain new insights into the disease mechanisms, identify novel biomarkers and test new drug candidates, the research team stated in an announcement.

Donald Ingber, M.D., the senior author on the project, said the research scientists created a new microfluidic model of the lung small airway that recapitulates critical features of asthma and COPD and this enables scientists to study lung inflammatory diseases over several weeks in chips lined by cells from both normal donors and diseased patients to gain better insight into disease mechanisms.

The research team provided proof-of-principle that the synthetic small airway-on-a-chip can be utilized as a discovery platform for disease-specific drugs and biomarkers.

Researchers collaborated with two different industrial partners — Pfizer and Merck Research Laboratories — who also helped fund the project along. With this collaboration along with support from the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA), the Wyss researchers showed that two drugs targeting different key molecular components of inflammatory pathways can potently suppress pathological processes in asthma and COPD-tailored small airway chips.

“This novel ability to build small airway chips with cells from individual patients with diseases like COPD positions us and others now to investigate the effects of genetic variability, specific immune cell populations, pharmaceutical candidates and even pandemic viruses in an entirely new and more personalized way; one that will hopefully increase the likelihood of success of future therapeutics,
 Ingber said.

 

Get the latest information on Health IT and attend other valuable sessions at this two-day Summit providing healthcare leaders with educational content, insightful debate and dialogue on the future of healthcare and technology.

Learn More

Topics

News

Adam Boehler Tapped by Azar to Serve as Senior Value-Based Care Advisor

Adam Boehler, currently director of CMMI, has also been named the senior advisor for value-based transformation and innovation, HHS Secretary Alex Azar announced.

Vivli Launches Clinical Research Data-Sharing Platform

On July 19 a new global data-sharing and analytics platform called Vivli was unveiled. The nonprofit group’s mission is to promote, coordinate and facilitate scientific sharing and reuse of clinical research data.

Survey: More Effective IT Needed to Improve Patient Safety

In a Health Catalyst survey, physicians, nurses and healthcare executives said ineffective information technology, and the lack of real-time warnings for possible harm events, are key obstacles to achieving their organizations' patient safety goals.

Physicians Still Reluctant to Embrace Virtual Tech, Survey Finds

While consumers and physicians agree that virtual healthcare holds great promise for transforming care delivery, physicians still remain reluctant to embrace the technologies, according to a new Deloitte Center for Health Solutions survey.

Geisinger, AstraZeneca Partner on Asthma App Suite

Geisinger has partnered with pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to create a suite of products that integrate into the electronic health record and engage asthma patients and their providers in co-managing the disease.

Analysis: Healthcare Ransomware Attacks Decline in First Half of 2018

In the first half of 2018, ransomware events in major healthcare data breaches diminished substantially compared to the same time period last year, as cyber attackers move on to more profitable activities, such as cryptojacking, according to a new report form cybersecurity firm Cryptonite.