Organs on Chips

Organs on Chips


3D Printing, Fabrication, Medical Technology

October 2011

Wyss Institution at Harvard University

Boston, US

Simply put, “body on a chip” is a small chip on which tiny 3D versions of all the major organs of the body are put and connected by small channels or pipes. Living cells are collected from human beings and using 3D printing, they are assembled into three-dimensional tissues and organs. These small organs are then transferred on to a chip in the same arrangement as they are present in a human body.

Channels, resembling blood vessels, are used to connect these organs, just as they are connected in a real body. These channels that connect the mini organs and run inside each organ contain an artificial fluid, used as an alternative to blood. This fluid supplies nutrients to the miniature organs. It can also be used to supply drugs or micro-organisms to the organs, to study the response of the organs to them.

Finally, the chip contains sensors which continuously monitor the chemical and temperature changes throughout the chip. In a nutshell, this chip is a Lilliputian of the body’s physiology which simulates the functions and responses whole human body in a size of only 2 inches.

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