Lung on a Chip

Lung on a Chip

Researchers at Harvard's Wyss Institute have combined microfabrication techniques from the computer industry with modern tissue engineering techniques, human cells and a plain old vacuum pump to create a living, breathing human lung-on-a-chip. The device mimics the most active part of the lung, the boundary between the air sac and the bloodstream.

Collected from: YouTube - Lung on a Chip

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Lung-on-a-chip could be used to predict the effects of toxins or drugs

The lung-on-a-chip device mimics a human lung and allows living tissue to be studied without opening up people or animals

The lung-on-a-chip could predict how human lungs absorb airborne nanoparticles and mimic the inflammatory response triggered by pathogens, said Donald Ingber, the vascular biologist who led the work at Harvard University's Wyss Institute. "Organs-on-chips could replace many animal studies in the future," he added. "We really can't understand how biology works unless we put it in the physical context of real living cells, tissues and organs."
The device was able to replicate many of the natural responses of lung tissue, such as detecting pathogens and speeding up blood flow so that immune cells can deal with the invaders.
The Harvard team is working on building other organ models, including ones made from gut, bone marrow or cancer cells.

Lung-on-a-Chip Microdevice

The microfluidic microdevice mimics the complex structural interfaces and functionalities of the alveolar-capillary interface of the living human lung. (By Dan Huh in Ingber Lab)

The lung on a chip, shown here, was crafted by combining microfabrication techniques from the computer industry with modern tissue engineering techniques, human cells, and a plain old vacuum pump. [Photo credit: Felice Frankel.]
The lung-on-a-chip microdevice takes a new approach to tissue engineering by placing two layers of living tissues -- the lining of the lung's air sacs and the blood vessels that surround them -- across a porous, flexible boundary. Air is delivered to the lung lining cells, a rich culture medium flows in the capillary channel to mimic blood, and cyclic mechanical stretching mimics breathing.  The device was created using a novel microfabrication strategy that uses clear rubbery materials. The strategy was pioneered by another Wyss core faculty member, George Whitesides, the Woodford L. and Ann A. Flowers University Professor at Harvard University.

YouTube - Lung on a Chip
Lung-on-a-chip could be used to predict the effects of toxins or drugs | Science | guardian.co.uk
Living, breathing human lung-on-a-chip: A potential drug-testing alternative : Wyss Institute at Harvard
Lung-on-a-Chip Microdevice : Wyss Institute at Harvard

Video: Researchers develop living, breathing human lung-on-a-chip
Harvard Scientists’ Lung-on-a-Chip May Help Test Drugs, Toxins - BusinessWeek
Lung-on-a-chip points to alternative to animal tests - tech - 24 June 2010 - New Scientist
New lab-grown lungs - The Scientist - Magazine of the Life Sciences
Lung-on-a-Chip Replicates the Tiny Explosions Inside Diseased Lungs
Donald E. Ingber : Wyss Institute at Harvard
Yale School of Engineering & Applied Science | New Haven, CT
Reconstituting Organ-Level Lung Functions on a Chip -- Huh et al. 328 (5986): 1662 -- Science