Lung-on-a-Chip Breathes New Life Into Drug Discovery

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Science  09 Nov 2012:
Vol. 338, Issue 6108, pp. 731
DOI: 10.1126/science.338.6108.731

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Researchers have been cultivating combinations of tissues for years in hopes that they would imitate working organs, and thereby serve as testing grounds for novel drugs to treat a wide variety of diseases. Now that promise has come a big step closer to reality. In this week's issue of Science Translational Medicine, a team of academic and drug company researchers shows that an engineered "lung-on-a-chip" can not only faithfully model a serious respiratory ailment known as pulmonary edema, but can also accurately predict the toxicity of a compound that causes the disease and the ability of a new drug to prevent it.