Researchers at the Harvard University have described the first disease model to emerge from the institute's organ-on-a-chip microfluidic device technology.1,2 The model of pulmonary edema could be better than culture models at predicting whether therapeutics will translate to humans.
The team already has used the lung-on-a-chip model in proof-of-concept studies to test potential pulmonary edema therapeutic candidates including GlaxoSmithKline plc's GSK2193874, an inhibitor of transient receptor potential vanilloid 4 (TRPV4; VRL2),3 and wants to expand the use of the chip to model multiple lung diseases.
GSK2193874 was also proven effective in a mouse model of pulmonary edema, validating the results that were found in the chip model (see Box 1, "TRPV4 inhibition").
The microfluidics system on a chip is about 2 cm long and mimics the alveolar-capillary interface and mechanical effects of breathing. The device is composed of two channels-a layer of human alveolar epithelial cells exposed to air and pulmonary microvascular endothelial cells exposed