In the UK, there are some 7,000 people on the list who are in dire need of organ transplants and In the US, the number awaiting transplant is around 120,000, with 20 dying each day for want of an organ. Current organ transplant patients have to take immunosuppressant drugs all their life to prevent the body rejecting the new addition whereas using human cells, specifically those from the same patient, would reduce any possibility of rejection. In near term it is also being used to assess the drug safety and efficacy and disease research.
To alleviate this problem, Scientists have turn to lab grown organs. Further growing artificial organs is further enabled through 3D printing or bioprinting which promises to bring the speed, flexibility, and customization. 3D printing in future could let physicians print structures made of human cells — from tiny structures like ‘organs on a chip’, to huge ones like whole replacement organs. Bioprinted organs made from an individuals’ own tissue won’t be rejected by their body, will last far longer, won’t need anti-rejection meds, and can be custom made to the individual’s exact measurements — whether they’re a four year old or a NFL linebacker.
While researchers are working on how to print full-size organs, the tiniest bioprinted structures are already helping researchers. Bioprinting can also be used to make ‘organs on a chip’ — tiny samples of tissue that mimic the functions and structures of their full-grown counterparts. These mini organs allow pharmaceutical companies to test drugs on versions of human tissues, and assess their effectiveness or toxicity instead of using unreliable and ethically difficult animal models.
The research community and the biopharmaceutical industry have mobilized with unprecedented speed against the COVID-19 pandemic. Hence, organ-on-chip is founded to be one of the most promising and go-to technology during the development of vaccines and drugs that have been currently under clinical studies for the treatment of the infection. For instance, in March 2020, as a part of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Research and Development Blueprint response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the emulate lung-chip was used to provide preclinical insights into the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19.
One day, organs on a chip could be made using individuals’ own cells to test potential therapies. Rather than using the same standard treatments for every patient, by taking some cells, culturing them and printing them onto the chip, physicians can have a unique view into how their patient will react to a particular drug without having to start them on a whole course of it.
The organ-chips are designed to accurately recreate the natural physiology and mechanical forces that cells experience in the human body. The chips are lined with living human cells and their tiny fluidic channels reproduce blood and/or air flow just as in the human body. Their flexibility allows the chips to recreate breathing motions, or undergo muscle contractions.
An organ-on-chip is also called a multi-channel 3D microfluidic cell culture chip. It is a type of artificial organ that simulates activities, mechanics, and physiological responses of entire organs and organ systems.
Each organ-chip, such as the lung, liver, intestine or brain, is about the size of a AA battery. Each individual organ-on-chip is composed of a transparent flexible polymer about the size of a computer memory stick that contains hollow microfluidic channels lined by living human cells interfaced with a human endothelial cell-lined artificial vasculature, and mechanical forces can be applied to mimic the physical microenvironment of living organs, including breathing motions in lung and peristalsis-like deformations in the intestine. Because the microdevices are translucent, they provide a window into the inner workings of human organs. The chip’s transparency allows researchers to see the organ’s functionality, behavior, and response, at the cellular and molecular level.
An organ-on-a-chip is a microfluidic cell culture device that contains continuously perfused chambers. This chip develops a narrow channel for the blood and airflow in organs, such as the lung, gut, liver, heart, and other organs. Such devices produce multiple levels of tissue and organ functionalities, which are not feasible using conventional 2D and 3D culture systems. It offers a wide range of applications, such as disease modeling, patient stratification, and phenotypic screening.
The organ-chips are placed into a research system similar to a computer. The instrument
is designed to recreate the human body’s living environment – including blood flow and
breathing motions. Scientists can use the modular instruments to introduce medicines, chemicals, and other toxins to the chip’s environment to test the organ’s response and behavior.
The modular nature of the system allows scientists to observe and analyze the cells within the organ-chips using a variety of research tools and instrumentation. In some cases, organ-chips can be connected together so that scientists can observe how the different organ systems interact, and
better understand the impact that different foreign substances introduced into a chip’s
environment have on the human body.
During this process, scientists can extract data that can be collected and analyzed with the help of modern software, such as an app you would download on a tablet. The software is designed to provide precise control of the organ system’s living microenvironment.
The software offers the ability to configure cell architecture, tissue-to-tissue interfaces, mechanical forces and the biochemical surroundings.
The global organ-on-chip market is expected to grow at a registered CAGR of 30% over the forecast period of 2022-2027.
The organ-on-chip market is driven by factors, such as a requirement for alternatives for animal testing, the need for early detection of drug toxicity, and new product launches and advancements in technology that are also responsible for driving the market. For instance, in December 2020, CN Bio and the University of Melbourne collaborated to advance therapies through the lung-on-a-chip technology for respiratory complications among patients who have recovered from COVID-19.
The availability of a wide range of services offered by major players and an increase in toxicological testing of chemicals on the different types of organ cells will facilitate the organ on chips market growth in North America over the forecast period.
The increasing prevalence of chronic disorders, shortage of organ donors, and the need for early detection of drug toxicity and new product launches will offer immense growth opportunities. However, factors such as the high cost of organ-on-chip may impede the market growth. The holistic analysis of the drivers & challenges will help in deducing end goals and refining marketing strategies to gain a competitive edge.
The demand for personalized medication and the vast applications of organ-on-chip beyond the pharmaceutical industry are the major factors creating growth opportunities for market players. However, complexity of organ-on-chip models may hinder the market growth over forecast period.
The organ-on-chip market is segmented by organ type (liver, heart, lung, and other organ types), application (drug discovery, toxicology research, and other applications), end user (pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, academic and research institutes, and other end users), and geography (North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Middle-East and Africa, and South America).
Top players in the market include: Altis Biosystems Inc., AxoSim Inc., BICO Group AB, BiomimX Srl, BIOND Solutions BV, CN Bio Innovations Ltd., Elveflow, TARA Biosystems Inc., and TissUse GmbH are some of the major market participants.
In addition, in October 2020, BioVox raised awareness through an initiative to promote the organ-on-chip technology for improvisation in in vitro research models and for reducing animal testing.