Organs-on-a-chip technology takes the guesswork out of drug testing. On average it takes over a decade of trial and development before a new drug can hit the shelves, and only a fraction of them even make it that far. This is partly due to the guesswork that goes into using animals for drug testing. While animal testing has played an invaluable role in the development of our drugs in the past, it’s a process that is by no means infallible.
What might work wonderfully for a rat in the lab won’t necessarily agree with the biology of a human being, and, on the other hand, the perfect drug for humans might never make it past the initial testing stages because it predicts the wrong response in a lab rabbit.
Along with researchers from the US Food and Drug Administration and the US military’s research and development wing, DARPA, Tagle’s team is developing new ‘organ-on-a-chip’ technology to address this problem.
Once they have all the main components of a human body working correctly on the chips, they’ll link them up into a system for drug testing.