November 8, 2012

Lung on a Chip for Drug Testing

Lung on a Chip for drug testing.

source: Wyss Institute Harvard University

A living, breathing lung-on-a-chip lined with human lung and blood cells for studying drug toxicity and new therapies for pulmonary edema. The lung-on-a-chip creates a real-world biological model of pulmonary edema, which can be used in testing new drugs. 
The lung-on-a-chip device is a crystal clear, flexible polymer about the size of a memory stick that contains hollow channels. Two of the channels are separated by a thin, flexible, porous membrane that on one side is lined with human lung cells from the air sac and exposed to air; human capillary blood cells are placed on the other side with medium flowing over their surface. A vacuum applied to side channels deforms this tissue-tissue interface to re-create the way human lung tissues physically expand and retract when breathing.
The lung-on-a-chip was used to test a cancer chemotherapy drug, Interleukin-2. A toxic sideeffect of IL-2 is that it causes pulmonary edema. 
When IL-2 was injected into the blood channel of the lung-on-a-chip, fluid leaked across the membrane and two tissue layers, reducing the volume of air in the other channel and compromising oxygen transport -- just as it does in lungs of human patients when it is administered at the equivalent doses and over the same time course. Blood plasma proteins also crossed into the air channel, leading to the formation of blood clots in the air space, as they do in humans treated with IL-2.

Tags: wyss institute, lung on a chip, biological model for drug testing, real human model for drug testing, human model for therapy testing, pulmonary edema biological model, human testing for plumonary edema