Publication date: May 14, 2019
Body-on-a-Chip: The New Frontier in Drug Discovery
Christopher C.W. Hughes, Ph.D.
Chair and Professor
Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
University of California, Irvine
About the Lecture
Identifying effective new medicines is time-consuming and expensive. Ideally, drugs are highly specific, having great efficacy and minimal toxicity, however this is rarely the case. Current drug pipelines follow very similar trajectories: simple cell-based assays reveal promising compounds that are then tested in mice, and, if these studies are successful, lead agents progress into first-in-man studies, and finally full-scale clinical trials. Unfortunately, fewer than 1 in 7 drugs entering clinical trials make it to market. Two major problems with this pipeline can be identified: the cell-based assays are too simple, not reproducing the complexity of cells in the body; and mice are not men – mouse metabolism and drug sensitivities are often very different to our own.
Body-on-a-Chip technology aims to solve these problems. Three-dimensional -mini-organs” can be created in the lab that better model how cells behave in the body, and human cells can be used to capture human-specific responses. Numerous studies have now shown that these systems can perform better in modeling how drugs behave in people than both traditional cell-based assays and mouse testing. Moving from the lab to the clinic, we are now taking tumors from cancer patients and growing them in these platforms. Our long-term goal is to use this technology to identify the optimal combination of drugs to treat each individual patient – truly personalized medicine. Dr. Hughes is a world leader in the field of microphysiological systems (body-on-a-chip) technology and will describe how these revolutionary models are set to change how drugs are discovered, tested and prescribed.
- Integrated cancer tissue engineering models for precision medicine.
- Comprehensive Tumor Profiling Promises New Therapeutic Options for Patients with Advanced Cancer