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Microchip lung catches fatal disease

organ-on-a-chip technology harvard university

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#1 Hum

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 22:51

This fingertip-size device can't exactly cough, but it can get a lung disease. For the first time, researchers have reproduced some of the effects of a disease in a microchip. The scientists' "organ-on-a-chip" technology is still under development, but they hope it someday will help test therapeutic drugs more quickly and reliably than current methods allow.

"There's a huge need to find more predictive alternatives" to the lab mice that pharmaceutical companies rely on now, said Geraldine Hamilton, who worked on the diseased lung-on-a-chip. Hamilton manages the organs-on-a-chip research program at Harvard University's Wyss Institute. "We think that the organs on chips truly provide that alternative," she told TechNewsDaily.

Organs-on-a-chip are plastic microchips designed to act as small, simplified versions of lungs, hearts and other bodily organs. Unlike the microchips in computers, they don't have circuits imprinted on them. Instead, they're etched with tiny channels that carry water, air, blood or other biological fluids. The channels are lined with living cells taken from either rats or humans, to help them act more like real organs.

The researchers who make them hope they'll become more-accurate testing grounds for drugs than lab rats, or simple collections of cells grown in a Petri dish, are. The vast majority of newly invented treatments that work well in lab mice don't ultimately work in people.

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#2 Growled

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 01:27

That's cool. I didn't know technology was at this level yet.

#3 OP Hum

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 01:29

Maybe someday they will just inject you with nanobots, that will analyze your body, then just fix whatever is wrong.

#4 +Phouchg

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 20:25

^ Yes, please. I want to be a robot.

#5 KSib

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 20:39

Maybe someday they will just inject you with nanobots, that will analyze your body, then just fix whatever is wrong.


Don't let McAfee or Sohpos make it. False positives everywhere. White blood cells killed in droves. D:

#6 OP Hum

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 21:05

^ Maybe they'll use Windows 8 -- god knows there's no bugs in that. :whistle:

#7 Nothing Here

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Posted 09 November 2012 - 21:13

^ Maybe they'll use Windows 8 -- god knows there's no bugs in that. :whistle:

Bugs? In Win8? You have to be kidding me.

#8 Growled

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 02:35

Maybe someday they will just inject you with nanobots, that will analyze your body, then just fix whatever is wrong.


That would be cool as long as they were programmed to die off after they had done their jobs.



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