Written By Aanandita Maini

History is littered with the transformative collaboration of art and science. Although it may be
contestable I believe that the marvel of human organs on chips is not far from the achievements
of the polymaths of the Renaissance.
I say this because the human organ on chips is essentially a microcosm of innovation that has
propelled scientists worldwide into a captivating realm wherein science is met with artistry to
emulate the nuanced nature of our vital organs.
Organ-on-a-Chip, also known as organoids or in vitro human micro physiological systems is an
integration of biology and microtechnology that can replicate human physiological conditions
and functions at both an organ and organism level. The OoC is a recent addition to the arsenal of
model biological systems that life science researchers can employ for studying various facets of
human pathophysiology and disease. Even though it’s approximately the size of a postage stamp
it holds tremendous promise for revolutionizing the drug development pipeline.1
The chip resembles a microfluidic device with networks of hair-thin microchannels for directing
and controlling very small amounts of solution (from picolitres to milliliters); they all have
hollow passages that are lined with living tissues and cells that have been developed in dynamic
The pursuit of alternatives to animal testing has garnered significant attention and interest.
Because data from animal studies typically do not anticipate the outcomes of human clinical
trials, in addition to being expensive, time-consuming, and ethically dubious. Due to the dearth
of human-relevant preclinical models and the high rates of therapeutic failure in the clinic,
healthcare expenditures have risen irrationally, and fewer effective drugs are reaching the
Thus the allure of OoC lies in its ability to transcend the limitations of traditional research
models. Listed are some of the noteworthy advantages they have to offer:
● Unmatched Accuracy: Chips offer scientists a more precise depiction of human biology
by faithfully recreating the complex architecture and cellular interconnections of human
● Ethical Advancement: The use of OoC represents a development in ethical research
methods. These chips offer a compassionate substitute that respects the sanctity of life
while producing more pertinent and trustworthy results by reducing the reliance on
animal experimentation.
● Treatment Customization: The era of individualized treatment is here, and OoC is leading
the way. These chips have the potential to develop individualized organ models, enabling
medical professionals to experiment with different treatment plans and customize
interventions for specific patients. It creates a universe where treatments can be tailored
to maximize efficiency while minimizing possible side effects.
● Accelerating Drug Development: Developing new drugs is typically a lengthy strenuous
process. Human organs on chips offer an opportunity of improving this method by
providing a platform for faster evaluation of medication efficacy and toxicity. Organoids
can be used as test subjects for possible medication candidates, enabling researchers to
better and more thoroughly comprehend their effects.
With its ability to deal with complicated cell cultures and better-tailored microenvironments to
maximize the model, the OoC might be seen as a bridging technology. Working at the microscale
offers an exceptional opportunity to have greater control over the environment that supports
tissue life support as well as the ability to observe the cell and tissue functions firsthand. From
heartbeats to lung expansion, it opens a hitherto unattainable insight into their complexity.
Physiological relevance in model organisms increases biological complexity, but sadly this
likewise raises experimental difficulty. Despite major advancements in in vivo imaging, in vivo
physiological processes remain, in many respects, the least amenable to direct assessment in
mice, humans, and other animals. This goes to show that the field of human organs on chips is
not without difficulties, as is the case with any substantial endeavor. Scaling up production,
assuring cell viability and functionality, and increasing the variety of organ models are all
challenging tasks. To tackle such issues, researchers are collaborating and slavishly pushing the
limits of modern technology transcending disciplinary barriers.1
These pint-sized powerhouses are redefining the vast expanse of medical research, offering a
glimpse into the inner workings of our bodies like never before. OoC technology is increasingly
widely accepted outside of academic settings due to the desire to learn more about human
physiology that underlies both health and sickness and to develop fresh methods for improving
healthcare. The pharmaceutical sector has a significant need for human-like testing systems, and
the OoC technologies needed to create them are mature. As society looks for humanized in vitro
alternatives to animal testing, the cosmetic, food, and chemical industries stand to gain greatly
from OoC technology not just for testing purposes but for production as well.

  1. Leung, C.M., de Haan, P., Ronaldson-Bouchard, K. et al. A guide to the organ-on-a-chip.
    Nat Rev Methods Primers 2, 33 (2022). (1)
  2. Ingber, D.E. Human organs-on-chips for disease modelling, drug development and
    personalized medicine. Nat Rev Genet 23, 467–491 (2022). (2)

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