The Physicians Committee

Breaking Research News - in vitro

Miniature Brains in Dish Offer Insight into Brain Development

Researchers converted skin cells from patients with Miller-Dieker disorder, a rare brain development condition, into stem cells which were then grown in a dish to form partial brain tissues.

Plants Structures Help Grow Human Heart Tissues

By removing plant cells from plant structures, like a spinach leaf, researchers discovered that the remaining vascular network structure can be used to grow functional, beating human heart cells from stem cells and is capable of delivering fluids and small molecules to these cells.

Bipolar Patient Stem Cells Expand Human-Based Research

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh converted skin cells donated by patients with bipolar disorder, a mood disorder, into stem cells and made them available to scientists worldwide through the European Bank for induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (EBiSC).

New Model for Studying Blood Vessel Growth

Researchers recently used human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) to design a new test model that could replace animal use for drug screening and toxicity assessment for angiogenesis (the process of new blood vessel growth).

Ensuring Lautenberg Act Has Resources to Minimize Animal Testing

To successfully implement the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act—which requires the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce and replace animal testing—the EPA and stakeholders need to dedicate significant resources to the development and validation of human-relevant toxicological test methods, according to a new Physicians Committee commentary in Bloomberg BNA’s Daily Environment Report.

New Method for Culturing Stem Cells Brings Technology Closer to the Clinic

Researchers from Dr. Huey-Ching Wang’s group at the U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research reported on a human protein called vitronectin, which makes up part of the matrix that cells move on, is capable of allowing iPSCs to grow and remain as stem cells in long-term cultures without animal product contamination.

Stem Cell Technology May Restore Cancer-Fighting Power to Immune Cells

Invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells are toxic immune cells that serve as important regulators of immune responses to fight off cancer cells. The function and quantity of iNKT cells are often suppressed in cancer patients. In an attempt to restore the function of these weakened iNKT cells, researchers from Kyoto University and the National Cancer Center in Japan reprogrammed iNKT cells isolated from patients to create induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), which have the capability to generate any cell in the body.

Innovative Technology Identifies Heart Toxicity Without Using Animals

University of Toronto engineers developed laboratory-grown heart tissues that mimic actual human heart tissues.

Tox21 Tests 10,000 Chemicals without Animals

The U.S. government’s Tox21 program, which uses robotics for large-scale in vitro toxicity screening of chemicals, recently tested 10,000 chemicals and concluded that in vitro test data performed better than animal tests in predicting human toxicity, according to a new paper published in the journal Nature Communications.

In Vitro Human Nerve Cell Model May Help Develop Treatments for Vision Disorders

For the first time, scientists at Johns Hopkins University have developed human retinal ganglion cells from human pluripotent stem cells using a gene modification/genome editing tool.

Multi-Organ Chip System Could Help Devise Therapies for Disease

Human organ-on-a-chip systems currently represent promising tools for drug screening in vitro. However, to deepen our understanding of human physiology and test new drugs for human diseases, it will be important to connect multiple organ-on-chip systems, in order to better simulate the physiology of the human body in vitro.

New Human-Based Model to Test Influenza Effects

Scientists have recently used a novel in vitro model to test how pandemic and seasonal influenza A viruses replicate and differentiate.

Human Microcapillary in Multiorgan Chip Will Facilitate Drug Testing

A group of scientists has recently developed a multiorgan chip device characterized by the presence of a human microcapillary system composed of adipose-derived stromal cells (cells of the connective tissue) co-cultured with human umbilical vein endothelial cells, which were able to form tube-like structures.

Cellular/Computational Model Could Predict Breast Cancer Metastasis

Defining in advance whether breast cancer might invade other organs of the body (a process called metastasis) will help guide treatment options (i.e., conservative versus aggressive treatments). A group of researchers has recently developed a new cellular (in vitro) and computational model that could help predict the risk of metastasis for patients affected by breast cancer.

Kidney Organoids Could Further Kidney Failure Research

Kidneys play key roles in the human body, such as filtration of toxins from the blood and regulation of blood pressure and bone density. Kidney failure, as a consequence of poisoning, infections, or other diseases, represents a serious health concern, and to date the only two available therapeutic options are kidney transplantation or dialysis.

Device that Mimics Developing Brain Will Help Test Drug Effects

Animals have been extensively used to test the effects of toxins on the brain. But now, a group of scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has recently developed a new model composed of Jell-O-like substance (polyethylene glycol hydrogel), human neural stem cells, endothelial cells and mesenchymal stem cells (to account for the vascular component), and microglia/macrophage precursors (to account for immune cells) to recreate the cellular interactions occurring within the developing human brain.

In Vitro Model Helps Better Understand Breast Cancer Metastasis

A group at the University of Massachusetts Amherst led by Shelly Peyton, Ph.D., is working on a new in vitro model composed of a biomaterial screening platform, which recreates brain, lung, and bone marrow tissue, to assess how breast cancer cells adhere and migrate in these tissues.

Using Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells to Discover New Drugs

Human induced pluripotent stem cell models seem promising for the discovery of novel drugs suitable for the treatment of human pathologies.

Brain Developed in Dish Will Enable Ethical, Accurate Drug Testing

Scientists at the Ohio State University have recently developed a human fetal brain in a dish, engineered from adult human skin cells.

3-D Printed Structure Recreates the Brain

A new 3-D brain model could help improve our understanding of brain physiology, providing insights into neurodegenerative diseases and how the brain copes with injuries.

New Human Skin Model to Assess Dermal Sensitivity

Traditional tests for skin sensitization of chemical compounds have relied heavily on the use of animals. A group of scientists has recently tested 10 known skin sensitizers (i.e., compounds causing skin irritation, inflammation, and itchiness) using a nonanimal, human skin cell model called EpiDerm™ tissue.

Could Miniature “Brains” Aid Autism Research?

Researchers at the Yale School of Medicine have used human skin cells to develop miniature “brains” that could help gather insights into the development of autism.

Cardiac Tissue Model Helps Study Heart Development and Test Drugs

Induced pluripotent stem cells derived from humans are currently used to generate new promising cellular models suitable to study human cell and tissue biology and test new drugs in vitro. Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, have generated a beating cardiac tissue obtained from human induced pluripotent stem cells.

New Device to Evaluate How the Liver Metabolizes Drugs

Scientists at the Center for Engineering in Medicine in Boston, Mass., have recently developed a new device suitable for culturing both primary liver cells and cancer cells in two microchambers separated by a tissue-culture membrane, which allows a partial co-culture mix of the two different cell types.

A Novel Model Will Help Investigate Neuronal Connectivity In Vitro

Modeling the complex neuronal interconnections found in the human brain in vitro is a challenging task. But recently, a group of scientists have been able to successfully culture in vitro different neuronal cell types, forming complex brain structures.

New artificial neuron will help restore neuronal functions

Neurological disorders are currently treated using traditional medications and electric stimulations. A group of scientists at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden has recently developed an organic electronic neuron made of conductive organic polymers. This artificial neuron is able to function like a real human neuron: It can sense changes of chemical signals and translate these signals into an electrical impulse that causes the release of a neurotransmitter (e.g., acetylcholine).

Mammary Glands-in-a-Dish Will Help Define Breast Cancer Cell Biology

By using healthy tissue derived from women undergoing aesthetic breast reduction, German scientists have recently developed a new in vitro mammary gland system that can grow and function like normal breast stem cells.

New In Vitro Technologies Could Help Prevent Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes, affects about 1.25 million people in the United States. For reasons still unclear, the immune system attacks and destroys beta cells in the pancreas thus compromising hormone insulin production and release. As a consequence, patients affected by type 1 diabetes must take insulin for life.

New Device Mimics Human Tumor Tissue

Cancer cells derived from human tumor biopsies are often difficult to maintain in culture. For this reason, cancer research efforts are ongoing to optimize in vitro culture conditions suitable to support new drug development. Recently, a group of scientists at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J., developed a versatile in vitro perfusion culture device to study human multiple myeloma (a cancer of plasma cells).

Human Muscle in a Dish Offers New Drug-Testing Technique

A new method has been developed to grow muscle fibers in a dish, according to a recent publication in the journal eLife. Unlike previous models of human skeletal muscle, the newly developed tissues grow and behave the way muscles in the human body do, and respond similarly to a variety of drugs.

Alzheimer's in a Dish Advances Therapy Testing

Harvard University researchers have developed a method for studying Alzheimer's disease in a laboratory dish, a technique that could potentially eliminate the use of animals commonly used to test potential drugs.

Airway-on-a-Chip May Lead to New Asthma Therapies

Scientists have recently developed a model of the human airway on a chip, according to a new study in Lab on a Chip.

Human Serum Could Help Pave Way for Future Liver Cell Transplants

liver supports the growth of stem-cell derived liver cells in vitro

Stem Cells from Patients with Lou Gehrig's Disease Provide Novel Insights into Disease Mechanisms

According to a new report in Cell Stem Cell, researchers recently discovered new mechanisms behind nerve cell dysfunction in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease

Human Liver Cells Further Hepatitis C Research

new model for studying hepatitis C infection

In Vitro Models Improve Vascular Disease Research

in vitro model shows promise for studying circulatory diseases such as atherosclerosis

Human Stem Cells Advance Retinal Tissue Cultures

Human stem cells can assemble into 3-dimensional retinal tissue cultures

In Vitro Human Immune Cells Effective in Evaluating New Vaccines

Human immune cells may be a new alternative to animals for evaluating new vaccine candidates, according to a study published in ALTEX.

Human Cell Culture Can Predict Potential Toxicity of Drugs and Other Chemicals

Primary human cells can be used in place of animals to test environmental and industrial chemicals, according to a new paper published in Nature Biotechnology.

Stem Cell-Based in Vitro Technology for Studying Heart Conditions

Patient stems cells, genetic tools, and heart-on-chip technology provide new insight into possible treatment strategies for a genetic heart condition