Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Organs-On-Chips
04 March 2015

Organs-On-Chips

A large part of disaster management involves planning the medical response in a crisis – for example, how best to treat a person exposed to high levels of radiation. Preparing for such events can be tricky – clearly it’s unethical to use humans or animals to trial radiation dosages and treatments. With this in mind, bioengineers have begun to develop ‘organs on chips’ – pictured is a simulated human lung. The main channel running down the centre of the chip contains lung cells which form a boundary between air flow (green) and blood flow (red), much like a real lung. This chip models the function of a human lung, and can even be connected to other organ chips to form a complete biological system – or human ‘body’. Organs on chips enable the effects of toxic chemicals to be monitored and provide a great defence against chemical or biological attacks.

Written by Helen Thomas

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