Scientist at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine and the Virginia Tech-Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences have developed a microfluidic chip platform that allows for the development of 3D tissue models for toxicology testing. These chips have parallel channels that contain a mixture of liver cells and a hydrogel solution, that is very similar in composition to liver cells extracellular matrix. This UV hydrogel is then etched in situ by light to create tissue models that remain stable and functional for the duration of the culture time (for at least 7 days).
The method, called photopatterning, is easily scalable and can potentially be applied to different tissue constructs and types. This system allows for adequate replication of cell activity and interaction, an answer to the limitations of 2D testing as well as current 3D systems.
This development is paving the way to a cheaper tool for personalized medicine, allowing for physicians to test drugs on patient’s cells to observe effectiveness without harming the patient.
Study in journal Biofabrication: In situ patterned micro 3D liver constructs for parallel toxicology testing in a fluidic device