September 11, 2014 – Chip Technology


Headline:  Can a ‘human on a chip’ advance medical science faster than other models?  Elizabeth Tracey reports

Medical research is a billion dollar undertaking that may soon be accelerated with use of stem cell technology.  Mark Donowitz, a gastroenterologist and researcher at Johns Hopkins, describes a new type of system using stem cells that some are calling a ‘human on a chip.’

Donowitz: Humans are different than their cancers and rodent models. If you can develop a human model you might be able to develop interventions more effectively. Hence the concept of the human on a chip.  To use stem cells to develop the different organs.  It’s quite easy to get human stem cells, either you can take very simple cells and convert them molecularly into all kinds of tissues, or you can actually get the stem cells from the individual organs and create the organs on a chip, this is the concept that we’ve been working on.   :31

Donowitz and colleagues are particularly interested in intestine models, and especially salt transport within them, but he says such models are in place for virtually all human organs as well as some systems.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.