Emulating perfusable vascular networks with organoid-on-chip models

Organoids are lab-grown tissues that resemble real organs, but their potential in medicine is limited by a lack of functional vascular system.
Emulating perfusable vascular networks with organoid-on-chip models
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Organoids are 3D tissues made in the lab using stem cells, which when immersed in a supportive setting filled with an extracellular matrix and growth factors, undergo a self-organization process to form structures that emulate the functioning of genuine organs. With a wide range of applications in disease research and pharmaceutical development, organoids also hold promise for future use in cell-based therapies and the field of regenerative medicine. Despite their potential, organoids are hindered by a significant drawback: they lack a functional vasculature necessary for their growth and maturation.

The integration of microfluidics and stem cell technology in this study enhances the creation of more realistic biological models. Through microfluidics, the inner vasculature of the organoids is rendered perfusable.  We have developed a system that simulates the vascular system's essential functions in a controlled, on-chip environment. The microfluidic platform allows for the precise delivery of nutrients and oxygen while also facilitating the removal of waste products. This was achieved by creating micro-scale channels within the chip that are capable of perfusing the organoids with flow, much like blood flows through vessels in vivo. This innovation not only addresses the diffusion barriers that previously restricted organoid growth but also paves the way for creating larger, more biologically complex organoids that can survive longer and potentially reflect the intricate workings of actual human tissues more accurately.

Moving forward, we aim to refine the microfluidic platform to support an expanded variety of organoid models and to facilitate the combination of different organ systems on-chip, thus forging paths to more complex human physiology models.  Moreover, there is an intent to scale this technology for widespread drug screening use and to tailor it to study particular diseases, aiming to forge more precise research and therapeutic tools. The overarching ambition is to create a seamless transition from benchtop research to tangible clinical applications, resulting in models that more accurately predict human biological responses.

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Microfluidics
Technology and Engineering > Biological and Physical Engineering > Microsystems and MEMS > Microfluidics
Biomedical Engineering and Bioengineering
Technology and Engineering > Biological and Physical Engineering > Biomedical Engineering and Bioengineering
Stem Cell Biology
Life Sciences > Biological Sciences > Developmental Biology and Stem Cells > Stem Cell Biology
Blood Flow
Life Sciences > Health Sciences > Clinical Medicine > Cardiology > Cardiovascular Physiology > Circulation > Blood Flow

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