Scientists at Imperial College London have become the first in the world to test how pathogens interact with artificial human organs.
Artificial human organs, or organ-on-chip technologies, simulate a whole organ’s cell make up and physiology. They act as alternatives to animal models in drug safety testing, but until now they have not been used to test how infectious diseases interact with the organs.
Our work represents the next frontier in the use of this technology.
Dr Marcus Dorner Lead author
Now, researchers from Imperial are using this technology to determine how pathogens interact with artificial organs. They hope it will help us to better understand the resulting disease and develop new treatments.
In particular, the team used an artificial liver – originally developed at MIT, the University of Oxford, and biotechnology company CN Bio Innovations – and tested its response to hepatitis B virus infection.
Dr Marcus Dorner, lead author from Imperial’s Department of Medicine, said: “This is the first time that organ-on-a-chip technology has been used to test viral infections. Our work represents the next frontier in the use of this technology. We hope it will ultimately drive down the cost and time associated with clinical trials, which will benefit patients in the long run.”
Opportunities for future drug development
Hepatitis B virus is currently incurable, and affects over 257 million people worldwide. Development of a cure has been slow because there is no model system in which to test potential therapies.
However, the Imperial team showed that the liver-on-a-chip technology could be infected with hepatitis B virus at physiological levels and had similar biological responses to the virus as a real human liver, including immune cell activation and other markers of infection. In particular, this platform uncovered the virus’s intricate means of evading inbuilt immune responses – a finding which could be exploited for future drug development.
Although this technology is in its early stages, the researchers suggest that it might eventually enable patients to have access to new types of personalised medicine. Rather than using generic cells lines, doctors in the future could potentially use cells from an actual patient and test how they would react to certain drugs for their infection, which may make treatments more targeted and effective.
The benefits of using organs-on-chips
Organs-on-chips house live human cells on scaffolds that are physiologically, mechanically, and structurally similar to the emulated organ. Drugs or viruses are passed through the cells via tubes that simulate blood flow through the body. The living cells used in tests last much longer on the chip than in traditional laboratory methods, and require lower infection doses compared to traditionally used model systems.
Hepatitis B is very infectious and causes liver cancer and cirrhosis. Thus, the researchers say, it was the best virus to use for the first test as its interactions with the immune system and liver cells are complex, but with devastating consequences for the tissues.
Dr Dorner said: “Once we begin testing viruses and bacteria on other artificial organs, the next steps could be to test drug interaction with the pathogens within the organ-on-chip environment.”
Other organs-on-chips currently in use include the heart, kidneys, and lungs. The authors say using these artificial organs for human pathogens could help researchers to better understand the mechanisms of infectious disease, and to observe how the virus and cells in the organ interact. This could lead to new drugs and treatments for a number of diseases affecting different organs in the future.
The Latest on: Artificial human organs
- The Pediatric AI That Outperformed Junior Doctors on February 20, 2019 at 7:00 am
Artificial intelligence has taken another step ... select from the 55 different diagnosis codes across the various organ groups and subcategories. When comparing against the human doctors, the study u... […]
- Artificial Vital Organs And Medical Bionics Market Size, Status, Dynamic, Growth, Share And Foresight 2019-2028 on February 19, 2019 at 10:04 pm
Artificial vital organs are man-made or artificially-created electronic or electromechanical machines, devices, or other materials that enhance or substitute a human beings’ natural biological capabil... […]
- Duke Experts Talk Artificial Intelligence With Congressional Staff on February 19, 2019 at 1:30 pm
Increased federal funding and ethical inquiry are needed to best develop America’s artificial intelligence capabilities ... for congressional staff exploring policy implications for human-A.I. collabo... […]
- The dark side of sex robots: Experts worry humanoid lovers could crush human limbs or be used as tools for government spying on February 14, 2019 at 9:35 am
As a scholar of artificial intelligence ... the government targets devices 'primarily for the stimulation of human genital organs.' The problem with applying this definition to sex robots is that the ... […]
- Artificial Intelligence in Oncology: Current Applications and Future Directions on February 14, 2019 at 7:46 am
 Artificial neural networks (ANNs) were inspired by human neurobiology and the ability of the brain ... Use of machine learning methods for prediction of acute toxicity in organs at risk following ... […]
- Our Artificial Cornea Breakthrough Could Lead to Self-Assembling Organs on February 12, 2019 at 7:06 am
Over the last decade, scientists have been testing artificial corneas made from synthetic collagen ... The same principle could one day be exploited to produce other human organs, potentially helping ... […]
- Artificial heart transplantation carried out for the first time in Azerbaijan on February 12, 2019 at 2:25 am
Although other similar inventions preceded it from the late 1940s, the first artificial heart to be successfully implanted in a human was the Jarvik-7 in 1982 ... According to the country’s laws, orga... […]
- Project aims to grow human organs in space on January 22, 2019 at 12:28 pm
The situation has led to various projects to grow artificial organs ... have been used to form tissue resembling that of a developing human heart. The biggest challenge with lab-grown organs is the ne... […]
- How AI changed organ donation in the US on September 10, 2018 at 4:39 am
The first issue is human anxiety around AI’s role in organ allocation. Hospitals and organ exchanges are reluctant to even use the term “artificial intelligence” in conjunction with the matching proce... […]
- Bioprinting organs and the future of healthcare on July 9, 2018 at 5:29 am
The artificial creation of human skin, tissue and internal organs may sound like something from the distant future, but much of it is happening right now in research facilities around the globe and pr... […]
via Google News and Bing News