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article imageBlood clot miniaturized onto a chip for drug research

By Tim Sandle     Jun 19, 2015 in Science
A medical technology company has created a remarkable series of "mini organs," the size of computer chips. The latest development involves creating a blood clot to allow for stroke research.
The company involved is called Emulate, Inc. and they have taken a technology developed at Harvard University to create so-termed "Organs-on-Chips." These are biological constructs designed to mimic organs at the size of computer microchips.
The reason for doing this is to test out new drugs and medicines. Currently, many medicines are first tested out on animal models. The problem here is that when drugs are used on humans at the final stage of a clinical trial the physiological and biochemical effects are not necessarily the same; moreover, there can be safety issues.
By closely replicating human organs and tissues, the Emulate process allows a theoretically closer approximation of what might happen in the human body to be simulated. This means that scientists can be surer of what will happen when human trials begin.
As a step forwards with the technology, scientists have now succeeded in creating a blood clot on a chip. This is not as simple as it may seem. In effect, what the researchers have done, is to create thrombosis. Thrombosis describes the development of a blood clot inside a blood vessel in a way that disrupts the flow of blood through the vessel. In the human body, this can cause a number of ill-health effects, including stroke.
According to The Verge, the chip will allow researchers to study how blood clots form; and to view the flow of blood and what happens with the platelets that also help to form clots. Such inquiries should help with the development of new drugs to treat a range of medical conditions.
More about blood clot, micro chip, Chips, Organs
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