Cedars-Sinai, Emulate partner to give precision medicine a boost with organs-on-chips tech

The technology could enable researchers to test drugs or treatments on a patient’s cells to avoid harmful, ineffective and costly options while determining personalized regimens.
By Bernie Monegain
11:53 AM
Cedars-Sinai precision medicine organs-on-chips

Scientists at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles and Emulate, Inc. in Boston are developing a Patient-on-a-Chip program to help predict which disease treatments would be most effective for each patient. It’s an approach to precision medicine aimed at boosting personalized care based on the patient’s genetic makeup and also disease variants.

The partners will use Organs-on-Chips technology to re-create what they described as true-to-life biology outside the body. This technology enables an environment where cells exhibit an unprecedented level of biological function and provide control of complex human biology and disease mechanisms not possible with existing techniques, researchers say.

Initial scientific findings, recently published in Cellular and Molecular Gastroenterology and Hepatology, a journal of the American Gastroenterology Association, point to a major milestone in the Patient-on-a-Chip program. Investigators from Cedars-Sinai and Emulate demonstrated how cells of a human intestinal lining created outside an individual’s body mirror living tissue when placed inside Emulate's Intestine-Chips.

[Also: IBM launches lab-on-a-chip technology to spot cancer before symptoms appear]

Placing a patient's cells in Organ-Chips and exposing those cells to a particular drug or series of drugs could give clinicians more accurate information about how a person might respond to treatment, avoiding the risk of administering a drug that might cause harm or a treatment that is ineffective and costly.

Scientists could use Organs-on-Chips to create a living model of a patient with Parkinson's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Crohn's disease, for examples.

[Also: Cedars-Sinai accelerator companies announce new deals]

"The medical potential of a Patient-on-a-Chip is extraordinary," said Clive Svendsen, Director of the Cedars-Sinai Board of Governors Regenerative Medicine Institute. 

Emulate’s Human Emulation System copies the natural physiology cells within the body. Each chip, which is about the size of an AA battery, features tiny channels lined with tens of thousands of living human cells.

"By creating a personalized Patient-on-a-Chip, we can really begin to understand how diseases, medicines, chemicals and foods affect an individual’s health," Geraldine Hamilton, President and Chief Scientific Officer of Emulate, said in a statement.

Twitter: @Bernie_HITN
Email the writer: bernie.monegain@himssmedia.com

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