Organs on a chip: How 3D models of living tissue are changing biomedical research

Our understanding of biological systems — including our own body — is largely based on laboratory studies. By looking at cells grown in petri dishes, or conducting experiments on animals, we can pick apart how biology works.

But how well do our lab techniques actually represent real life? In many cases, when candidate drugs make it to clinical trials we discover that promising outcomes in animals don’t always translate into the same in humans. Is there a better way — a more accurate way — of investigating human physiology in the lab that might also reduce our need for animal experimentation? This is the exciting promise of organs-on-a-chip.

To learn more about the exciting field of organ-on-chip technologies, I was joined on Up Close by Prof Donald Ingber, Founding Director of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. Don is also the Judah Folkman Professor of Vascular Biology at Harvard Medical School & Boston Children’s Hospital and Professor of Bioengineering at the Harvard School of Engineering & Applied Sciences.

Check out the interview as a podcast or transcript here.



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