Researchers improve monitoring, measurements of 'organs-on-chips'

Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston have improved monitoring capabilities of "organs-on-chips," miniature structures that use living cells to mimic the function of organs. The new platform includes a biochemical sensor for continuous and accurate monitoring of substances released from the organ chip.

Current methods of measuring the response of organs-on-chip involve doing everything my hand, requiring the removal of a substantial amount of fluid, leading to complications in accuracy. Lead by first author Yu Shrike Zhang and senior author Ali Khademhosseini, the work improved the platform's biochemical sensors to provide additional space for additional physical sensors to measure temperature, oxygen and pH levels. The implementation of a central router also gives the chips their own “circulatory system," telling researchers how often liquid runs through the organ and sensors.

"Our system is highly flexible and modular, so it can be readily adapted for use with different types of pre-existing chips and research applications," said Zhang.

The new organs were equipped with channels and valves to act as a circulatory system that allowed researchers to program when and how often liquid runs through specific organs.

"We hope this will expand the use of organs-on-chips in a variety of contexts, including drug screening and drug toxicity studies," added Khademhosseini.