The use of -on-a-chip systems to mimic real life human environments is growing fast in medical R&D, from reproductive organs to brains. It allows for faster research without the need for testing on human or animal subjects, but also bringing personalised medicine and treatments closer. In the Mimetas – Roche research, the scientists report growing over 350 gut tubules under flow that formed leak-tight structures. These could be interrogated for intestinal barrier function in real-time using automated microscopy and image analysis.
The intestinal tubules were polarized and leak-tight after only 4 days in culture and showed increased expression of specific transporters and receptors. This gut model lends itself to assess toxicology and transport of oncological and other compounds, as well as disease modeling studies and fundamental research on the intestinal barrier.
Largest organ-on-a-chip dataset ever
Paul Vulto, Managing Director of Mimetas and senior author on the paper, comments: “With 350 gut tubes and over 20,000 data points measured, this is the largest organ-on-a-chip dataset ever published. It demonstrates that 3D cell culture under perfusion flow isn’t necessarily complex to do. In fact, every cell biologist is now able to work with OrganoPlates® and reproduce our results”.
According to Vulto, the Nature Communications paper shows only the tip of the iceberg. Scientists at Mimetas and elsewhere around the world are developing stunning 3D cell culture models in the OrganoPlate platform every day, Vulto claims.
“The fact that one can culture tubules, blood vessels, and tissue co-cultures in 3D, without artificial membranes and with an unprecedented imaging quality, enables researchers to study human tissue biology in a completely novel way. We are proud to support these fantastic scientists in their search for ever more physiologically relevant tissue models. We are now making this technology available to every scientist in the world”.
About the companies
Pharmaceutical company Roche has 18,000 R&D employees working on medical innovations. Over 300,000 patients are currently enrolled in clinical trials. Dutch health start-up Mimetas is a biotechnology company developing human organon-a-chip technology and tissue models for testing drugs, chemicals and food components in the OrganoPlate culture platform. The ultimate aim is development of personalized therapy selection.