First Liver-on-Chip Model for Studying Hepatitis B Infection
Study in a Sentence: Scientists recently infected the first human liver-on-a-chip model with hepatitis B and unraveled biological and immune responses to the virus similar to that found in real human livers.
Healthy for Humans: This first model of an infection in a human organ in vitro uncovered ways by which the hepatitis B virus evades human immune defenses in the liver, which provides a possible new avenue for therapeutic development.
Redefining Research: Unlike animals, this 3-D human-based model reproduced the viral infection at infection doses similar to that found in humans. Because it is physiologically relevant to humans, it is a promising alternative to drug testing in animals and could reduce the time and cost required for drug development for hepatitis B.
Researchers at Imperial College London used an artificial liver developed by MIT, the University of Oxford, and CN Bio Innovations. Image Source.
Ortega-Prieto AM, Skelton JK, Wai SN, et al. 3D microfluidic liver cultures as a physiological preclinical tool for hepatitis B virus infection. Nat Commun. 2018;9:682. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-02969-8.
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