Translational Technologies

Creating Human Organs on a Chip

The Sequentially-Layered, Self-Assembly Liver Model


Human biomimetic organs-on-a-chip such as the liver model depicted above require the combination of: a biologically relevant matrix material; a mixture of the cell types required for organ function; media formulations to provide nutritional and hormonal needs; media flow to provide flow stimulation, drug exposure, sample oxygenation, replenishment of nutrients, and removal of waste products to recapitulate the cellular microenvironment. These components must be assembled in a chip that is robust, reproducible, and cost- and time-effective. A combination of real-time mechanistic readouts, such as high content imaging of sentinel biosensor cells, with biochemical and metabolic indicators yields a rich feature set for characterizing toxic agents and disease processes. The interpretation of such complex data sets further requires reference data in the form of a database, such as the MPS database pictured above. Platforms that combine these elements are often referred to as microphysiological systems.