A microchip the size of a credit card, thanks to the efforts of scientists, acquired the functions of a human liver. In the future, the electronic device will replace experimental animals in drug testing.
The chip integrates human liver cells taken from patients during medical procedures or from liver transplants. Using the chip, researchers can learn how the liver responds to various medications or study how the bile ducts work.
According to Dr. Lawrence Vernetti of the University of Pittsburgh, over time, chip analogues of all human organs will be created, from which it will be possible to create a human-on-a-chip. The liver-on-a-chip is another step in this direction.
Scientists around the world are developing chips that mimic human organs. So Mark Donowitz of Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore) is working on the creation of a gut-on-a-chip with stem cells. And a group of scientists from the Wyss Institute at Harvard University is developing a bone marrow chip to study the effects of radiation.