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Written by Mies van den Biggelaar

Johan Lind, Michael Rosnach, Disease Biophysics Group/Lori K. Sanders, Lewis Lab/Harvard University
Image by: Johan Lind, Michael Rosnach, Disease Biophysics Group/Lori K. Sanders, Lewis Lab/Harvard University

Harvard’s 3-D printed heart-on-a-chip

Researchers of Harvard University have 3-D printed the first organ-on-a-chip with integrated sensing. The ‘heart-on-a-chip’ is a promising alternative for medical experiments performed with traditional animal testing. The ‘organ-on-a-chip’ mimics the structure and function of organ tissue. 

In the future organ-on-a-chip technology, as now developed by the Harvard University researchers, may lead to replicating patient’s specific genetic disorders in a laboratory. Allowing to match the properties of a disease or even an individual patient’s cells.

The researchers developed six special types of ink, containing multiple material characteristics, enabling to 3-D print the heart-on-a-chip in a non-stop process. The sensors that have been integrated into the microphysiological device, allow researchers to easily collect reliable data from short-term and long-term studies.

Johan Ulrik Lind, first author of the paper, postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), and researcher at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, stated: “These integrated sensors allow researchers to continuously collect data while tissues mature and improve their contractility. Similarly, they will enable studies of gradual effects of chronic exposure to toxins.”

“This new programmable approach to building organs-on-chips not only allows us to easily change and customize the design of the system, but also drastically simplifies data acquisition.” said Lind.

The full story can be read on the SEAS website, or you can watch the video below:

Lori K. Sanders and Alex D. Valentine, Lewis Lab/Harvard University
Image by: Lori K. Sanders and Alex D. Valentine, Lewis Lab/Harvard University
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