A recent article discusses advancements in organ-on-a-chip technology and how this technology would revolutionize drug development. What would make this technology so valuable is that it would emulate the environment of an actual organ, potentially replacing the need to conduct testing in animals as well as phase I and phase II clinical trials. Also, with the use of stem cells, an organ-on-a-chip could potentially mimic the environment of an individual patient taking personalized medicine to the next level.
However, there are significant challenges to overcome, before it comes to fruition. There are technical aspects such chip material, automation, and mass production that will need to be addressed. Most importantly, considerable validation is needed. For instance, how well can the organ-on-a-chip environment predict response compared to complex in vivo conditions? How well can the chip model the body, particularly the immune system with all its complexity?
Organ-on-a-chip is in its infancy, but current research shows promise. With an overall failure rate above 80% in phase III, drug development is in need of improvement – and perhaps organ-on-a-chip technology could be the solution.
Organ-on-a-chip—miniaturized versions of the brain, heart, liver, and other vital tissues—offer an enticing alternative. .....The ultimate goal is to develop a body-on-a-chip system that would replace drug screening in cell culture, animal models, and even the need for humans in Phase II and Phase II clinical trials. All of those tests would be done on the chip. Then, if a drug passes, it would move right to Phase III clinical trials.