What is an Organ-on-a-Chip?

Organ-on-a-Chip deviceAn Organ-Chip (Emulate, Inc.)

An organ-on-a-chip is a bioengineered system in which key physical, chemical and biological aspects of a living organ are recreated in the laboratory to recapitulates in vivo behaviour. These in vitro models allow research into human health and disease and enable drugs or therapies to be tested. The development of organ-on-a-chip in vitro models has grown from a nascent idea in 2000 to one of the most promising, fastest growing research areas in the world, predicted to become a multi-billion pound industry.  This technology has the potential to:

  • Improve understanding of health and disease by providing better experimental models,
  • Provide a more effective alternative to the current animal and cell models used for testing new medicines,
  • Provide an opportunity to develop more precise treatments for individual patients (precision medicine) through the use of patient-specific models.