The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HUJI) on Monday disclosed that Israeli researchers have developed a kidney-on-chip platform to test the effectiveness of drugs. The innovative technology enables the rapid development of drugs with the help of bionic chips, without the need for animal testing.
The platform, developed in a new study published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, includes tiny sensors that report the direct effect of drugs on human tissue.
The sensors embedded in the human tissue enable it to measure in real time the rate of metabolism in liver, kidneys and heart tissues, and to gather reliable information on the mechanism of action of drugs and chemicals in the kidneys. Using the new technology, the team has discovered a new mechanism for the toxicity of one of the common drugs in chemotherapy (cisplatin) that causes kidney damage in more than 30 per cent of patients. Thus, the technology enabled the team to develop a new drug to prevent kidney damage in chemotherapy treatments.
“This is the first time that researchers used organ-on-a-chip technology to develop a drug from the initial stage to a clinical trial without the use of lab animals,’’ HUJI said. This technology “can not only shorten the time it takes essential drugs to reach the shelf, but also reduce lab animal testing, which will save a lot of money, time and suffering,” the researchers concluded.