Nanomedicine: A Vast Horizon on a Molecular Landscape – Part IX, Organs-on-a-chip II
Recently, Draper announced a three-year agreement with Pfizer. This collaboration focuses on developing effective disease models for testing potential drug candidates based on microphysiological systems, also known as “organs-on-a-chip”.
The organs-on-a-chip technology is a three-dimensional microfluidic based multi-cell co-culture system that models the physiological, mechanical, and molecular environment of the human body and mimics the physiological functions of human organs. This technology offers unique in vitro disease models for new drug screening and toxicology testing. This technology has attracted attentions not only from academic institutes but also from the pharmaceutical industry. One of the main reasons for this interest is the potential cost and time savings for drug research and the development process. As required by the FDA drug approval process, new drug chemical entities are tested in animals before going into human Phase I testing for the drug approval process. The preclinical animal testing process is tedious and extremely expensive. Additionally, animal models are not always predictive for characterizing drug safety in humans. About 40% of drug compounds fail in Phase I clinical trials (Clinical Development Success Rates 2006-2015, BIO Industry Analysis, June 2016). To address these challenges, organs-on-a-chip has been proposed as a novel method to develop human disease models and replace preclinical animal testing.