May 6, 2014
A new organ-on-a-chip developed by researchers from Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering reproduces the structure, functions, and cellular make-up of bone marrow, a complex tissue that until now could only be studied intact in living animals.
The device, dubbed “bone marrow-on-a-chip,” gives scientists a much-needed new tool to test the effects of new drugs and toxic agents on whole bone marrow.
Specifically, the device could be used to develop safe and effective strategies to prevent or treat radiation’s lethal effects on bone marrow without resorting to animal testing. The Institute is currently pursuing this challenge with funding support from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA).
The bone marrow-on-a-chip could also be used in the future to maintain a cancer patient’s own marrow temporarily while he or she underwent marrow-damaging treatments such as radiation therapy or high-dose chemotherapy./.../