Organs-on-a-chip for drug discovery

Curr Opin Pharmacol. 2013 Oct;13(5):829-33. doi: 10.1016/j.coph.2013.06.005. Epub 2013 Jul 11.


The current drug discovery process is arduous and costly, and a majority of the drug candidates entering clinical trials fail to make it to the marketplace. The standard static well culture approaches, although useful, do not fully capture the intricate in vivo environment. By merging the advances in microfluidics with microfabrication technologies, novel platforms are being introduced that lead to the creation of organ functions on a single chip. Within these platforms, microengineering enables precise control over the cellular microenvironment, whereas microfluidics provides an ability to perfuse the constructs on a chip and to connect individual sections with each other. This approach results in microsystems that may better represent the in vivo environment. These organ-on-a-chip platforms can be utilized for developing disease models as well as for conducting drug testing studies. In this article, we highlight several key developments in these microscale platforms for drug discovery applications.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Culture Techniques
  • Drug Discovery*
  • Heart
  • Humans
  • Intestines
  • Lung
  • Tissue Engineering / methods*