Affordable, effective and personalised medication without animal testing

Medication is being examined for years before it can be used by patients. This is often preceded by countless animal tests, even though animals are often not a proper representation of the human body. Partly because animal tests often fail to predict whether a drug is effective, many experiments give false outcomes. This makes research expensive and time-consuming, and the patient suffers as a result. Our organ-on-chip research aims to develop faster and more personalised treatment and medication for many (rare) disease areas, without the need for animal testing.

What are organs-on-chips?  

Organs-on-chips are devices ('chips') in the size of a small USB stick, with miniature human organs that ‘grow’ on them. These chips are made to mimic the environment of the human body. For example, they are as soft as tissue, there can be some kind of blood flow and they are mechanically active, just as our bodies. From stem cells, we make small pieces of human organs that we then grow in that environment. In this way, the pieces of organ feel as if they are inside the human body and therefore behave the same as they would inside our body. We can then study the organs on the chip and thereby study diseases and test medication. The beauty of this chip technology is that we can also build all kinds of sensors into it, so that we can constantly measure how the cells are doing.

Thanks to this technology, the effect of the medication can be predicted, faster and personalised treatment will become possible, and hopefully less animal testing will be needed in the future.