Science and Journalism in Society

Brandeis University JOUR 130B

No more animal testing: a better way to develop drugs?

For the longest time, animals have been used as a model for humans in drug testing. Many medications do not make it to market because the models fail to correctly reflect how the human body reacts to drugs. Even those that become commercially available take anywhere from 10 to 15 years and cost billions of dollars before they reach that phase.

However, the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering invented a better method for drug development: organs-on-chips (OCs). These OCs aim to imitate the way human organs respond to drugs and are lined with human cells on a clear flexible synthetic plastic the size of an adult’s thumb. The OCs will cut the amount of time and money it costs to develop new drugs as it presents an alternative to the more expensive and lower quality animal models.  

Despite the positive outlook on this technology, scientists are still unsure of whether the OCs fully and accurately represent a human organ’s response. Thus, more research needs to be conducted, but these organ-on-chips are the new future to drug testing.


1 Comment

  1. This is a nice, succinct presentation of an advancement in a scientific field. I think it would benefit from a little more scrutiny. What other drawbacks are there to OCs? What can you dig up that noone else writing on this has?

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