'Body-on-a-Chip' could help make cheaper drugs

A new kind of microchip can host human cells to mimic the reaction of different tissues in the body. The chip could help reduce the need for animal testing, and lower the cost of developing new pharmaceuticals. Medical researchers are using it to study the effect of chemotherapy drugs on cancer cells. The new body-on-a-chip device mimics the body's reactions.

It is lined with human cells and reacts the way organs would when exposed to environmental chemicals or drugs. The yellow dye shows how the body reacts. Cornell biomedical engineer Michael Shuler says this surrogate human has many advantages, like lowering the astronomical expense it takes to test a drug.

The chip would also make it easier to customize drug treatments for patients. Incorporating cells from a patient into the chip would help physicians determine which option would work best.

Source: sciencedaily.comAdded: 14 May 2007