Friday, July 10, 2015


Heartbeat on a chip could improve pharmaceutical tests
A gravity-powered chip that can mimic a human heartbeat outside the body could advance pharmaceutical testing and open new possibilities in cell culture because it can mimic fundamental physical rhythms, according to the Univ. of Michigan researchers who developed it.

The ability to accurately test drugs and therapies for human use is a goal we desperately need to reach. Often animals are used to test drugs intended for human use, which not only puts them at risk but many times does not produce results helpful to making these remedies safer for us. At the same time drugs tested on human cells grown in a petri dish doesn’t exactly represent how those drugs will react in a living, breathing body.

A development made by Michigan engineers has taken a major step in drug testing by reproducing the heartbeat in a simplified gravity-driven microfluidic circuit. This new device performs operations that once required a large amount of peripheral equipment as well as a dedicated lab technician to run. Beyond that, the chip can execute multiple experiments at once as well as mimic a variety of heart rates. With the help of this microfluidic chip we could see the testing phases for new therapies drastically shortened, allowing newer, more effective medicines finding their way into patients much faster.



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