Microphysiological Systems Evaluation: Experience of TEX-VAL Tissue Chip Testing Consortium

Toxicol Sci. 2022 Jul 28;188(2):143-152. doi: 10.1093/toxsci/kfac061.

Abstract

Much has been written and said about the promise and excitement of microphysiological systems, miniature devices that aim to recreate aspects of human physiology on a chip. The rapid explosion of the offerings and persistent publicity placed high expectations on both product manufacturers and regulatory agencies to adopt the data. Inevitably, discussions of where this technology fits in chemical testing paradigms are ongoing. Some end-users became early adopters, whereas others have taken a more cautious approach because of the high cost and uncertainties of their utility. Here, we detail the experience of a public-private collaboration established for testing of diverse microphysiological systems. Collectively, we present a number of considerations on practical aspects of using microphysiological systems in the context of their applications in decision-making. Specifically, future end-users need to be prepared for extensive on-site optimization and have access to a wide range of imaging and other equipment. We reason that cells, related reagents, and the technical skills of the research staff, not the devices themselves, are the most critical determinants of success. Extrapolation from concentration-response effects in microphysiological systems to human blood or oral exposures, difficulties with replicating the whole organ, and long-term functionality remain as critical challenges. Overall, we conclude that it is unlikely that a rodent- or human-equivalent model is achievable through a finite number of microphysiological systems in the near future; therefore, building consensus and promoting the gradual incorporation of these models into tiered approaches for safety assessment and decision-making is the sensible path to wide adoption.

Keywords: in vitro models; new approach methods; tissue chips.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Lab-On-A-Chip Devices*