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Jul 25, 2012

Creating a Human Body on a Chip

  • A new program will combine technologies developed at MIT, Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, MatTek, and Zyoxel to create a versatile microfluidic platform that can incorporate up to 10 individual engineered human microphysiological organ system modules in an interacting circuit. The modules will be designed to mimic the functions of specific organ systems representing a broad spectrum of human tissues including the circulatory, endocrine, gastrointestinal, immune, integumentary, musculoskeletal, nervous, reproductive, respiratory, and urinary systems.

    The goal of the program is to create a versatile platform capable of accurately predicting drug and vaccine efficacy, toxicity, and pharmacokinetics in preclinical testing.

    Researchers in the Department of Biological Engineering at MIT will receive up to $32 million over the next five years from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the NIH toward the project. The program is named BIO-MIMETICS (Barrier-Immune-Organ: MIcrophysiology, Microenvironment Engineered TIssue Construct Systems).

    The BIO-MIMETICS team anticipates that the platform will be suitable for use in regulatory review, amenable to rapid translation to the biopharmaceutical research community, and adaptable for integration of future technologies (such as advances in stem cell technologies and personalized medicine).

    The funding includes a cooperative agreement (worth up to $6.25 million) from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) at NIH that will support a complementary research initiative at MIT and Draper Laboratory, in collaboration with researchers at the University of Pittsburgh. The aim of this project is to model cancer metastasis therapies using engineered human tissue constructs, with a goal of adapting this work to the integrated BIO-MIMETICS platform.


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