Common drug screen models, such as animals and 2D cell cultures, do not properly recapitulate human organ structure and environment. Using 3D bioprinting technology, researchers at UCI have developed all-inclusive customized organ-on-a-chip-like platforms. These platforms produce cell models that properly mimic the microenvironment of cells for drug screening and cell-therapeutic response studies.
·Assays in which there is a need to mimic cell viability, metabolic activity, and the vital reactions of organs or tissues
·Drug screening and therapeutic response assays
The approval of a new therapeutic requires testing in numerous models. However, cell culture and animal models can be insufficient, particularly in representing disease, due to the simplicity of the system and species differences respectively. In recent years, several principles and technologies such as 3D-tissue and organ culture have merged with 3D-printing and microfluidic approaches to create a more accurate representation of cell models and reflect complex human physiology in vitro. These platforms are referred to as "organ-on-a-chip" (OOC) devices. Unfortunately, the currently available OOC devices have been hindered due to manufacturing challenges, including the expense of fabrication systems. Lower cost manufacturing methods, such as laser cutting and molding, result in low resolution platforms that inadequately represent organ systems.
UCI researchers have adapted the 3D-bioprinting technology to develop multiple high throughput, customizable organ-on-a-chip-like platforms along with printed 3D-cell structures. These single-step platforms allow rapid (5 minute), inexpensive, and tailorable design production of microfluidic devices with a variety of dimensions, allowing consistent and efficient investigation of therapeutic responses.
Conceptual and experimental testing