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  1. Ethical Science News

  2. Jul 2, 2019

Body-on-a-Chip System Offers More Efficient and Ethical Screening of Preclinical Drugs

Study in a Sentence: Researchers at the biotech company Hesperos, Inc. have developed a multi-organ chip system that can house multiple healthy and cancer human cell types to perform preclinical safety and efficacy tests of pharmacological treatments.

Healthy for Humans: Drug candidates must be tested for their effectiveness and toxicity in preclinical models before they are allowed to move on to clinical trials. But the current drug development pipeline is inefficient and costly in time, dollars, and human and animal lives. Human-based in vitro preclinical studies can screen drugs faster and more accurately than animal models.

Redefining Research: This body-on-a-chip device contains five chambers connected by microfluidic channels that can be reconfigured with a variety of healthy and cancer cell types from multiple organs. The resulting functional biological system was used to screen several anticancer drugs and successfully demonstrated its utility for preclinical drug evaluations.


McAleer CW, Long CJ, Elbrecht D, et al. Multi-organ system for the evaluation of efficacy and off-target toxicity of anticancer therapeutics. Science Translational Medicine. 2019;11.

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