Study in a Sentence: Using their body-on-a-chip (BoaC) technology, researchers from Hesperos, Inc., circulated blood-like fluid through a multi-chamber chip cultured with such tissue types as human heart, liver, and cancer cells along with anti-cancer drugs to simultaneously assess efficacy and safety.
Healthy for Humans: In one configuration of the chip, researchers found that an anti-cancer drug, diclofenac, inhibited the growth of cancer-derived bone marrow cells at a specific concentration but also reduced the viability of liver cells by 30 percent, indicating that such a dose may not be safe for humans. In another configuration, researchers placed multi-drug-resistant vulva cancer cells in one chamber and several tissues known to have off-target effects in the other chambers, then used a multi-drug approach to test whether they could overcome the drug-resistant vulva cancer while reducing the off-target effects.
Redefining Research: The BoaC allows for the efficacy and side-effects of anti-cancer drugs to be tested in various human organ-derived tissues at the same time types without the use of animals. In the future, this technology could provide drug safety and efficacy data that are more relevant to humans, making preclinical testing faster, easier, less expensive, and more humane. The ultimate aim of the BoaC is to accelerate the translation of basic discoveries into clinical breakthroughs.