[Future Science OA] Integration concepts for multi-organ chips: how to maintain flexibility?!
‘Organs-on-a-chip’ are platforms accommodating organ-specific human tissues in microscale 3D chambers with physiologically relevant structure. Broken down to the basic building blocks but simultaneously mimicking essential organ functions, these sophisticated biochips can help reduce the need for animal models in drug development, toxicity screening and basic research. However, to simulate a drug's journey through the human body, it is necessary to consider how a combination of organs responds to a given drug. In this perspective, concepts of realizing such ‘multi-organ platforms’ and the need for ‘mix-and-match’ toolboxes, which contain a range of single-organ units interconnected in individual, application-specific configurations, are discussed.
Multi-organ platforms have an enormous potential to lead to a paradigm shift in a multitude of research domains including drug development, toxicological screening, personalized medicine as well as disease modeling. Integrating multiple organ–tissues into one microfluidic circulation merges the advantages of cell lines (human genetic background) and animal models (complex physiology) and enables the creation of more in vivo-like in vitro models. In recent years, a variety of design concepts for multi-organ platforms have been introduced, categorizable into static, semistatic and flexible systems. The most promising approach seems to be flexible interconnection of single-organ platforms to application-specific multi-organ systems. This perspective elucidates the concept of ‘mix-and-match’ toolboxes and discusses the numerous advantages compared with static/semistatic platforms as well as remaining challenges.
Julia Rogal‡,1, Christopher Probst‡,1 & Peter Loskill*,1
*Author for correspondence: firstname.lastname@example.org
‡Authors contributed equally
Future Science OA
Posted online on March 13, 2017.