Tuesday , July 27 2021

Texture chips in space sheds light on human health

A small device containing human cells in the 3D matrix means a huge leap in scientists' ability to test how these cells respond to stresses, drugs, and genetic changes.

About the size of a thumb drive, devices are known as chips chips or bodies.

A series of studies to test tissue chips in microgravity at the International Space Station are planned in cooperation with the National Center for National NIH (NCATS) and the Center for the Development of Science in Space. In partnership with NASA (CASIS). Tissue Chips, the space initiative, aims to better understand the role of microgravity on human health and disease and to transform this understanding into the improvement of human health in the world.

Insan Spaceflight is causing significant changes in the human body, önemli says scientist Liz Warren of CASIS. Uz We hope that tissue chips in space behave like the body of an astronaut and experience the same kind of rapid change. “

Most of the changes caused by microgravity in the human body are reminiscent of the onset and progression of aging related diseases in the world, such as bone and muscle loss. However, space-related changes are happening much faster. This means that scientists can use the tissue chips in space to model changes that will take months or years to take place in the Earth.

According to Lucie Low, scientific program manager at NCATS, a tissue chip, also called a micro-physiological system, needs three main features.

”People have to be 3D because they are 3D. 3D Ur It should have more than one different cell type, because an organ is made up of all types of tissue. And it must have microfluidic channels, because it takes every tissue, blood and nutrients in your body, and the vasculature to take detritus. "

Warren adds, uzakta Tissue notches give cells a place away from home. War

They mimic the complex biological functions of certain organs better than a standard 2D cell culture.

Low In fact, you see how human tissues have functioned outside the body, “says Low. Almak It's like taking a little, putting it in a pot and using your cells to look at different stresses, different medicines, how they react to different genetics, and guess what they're doing in your body. “

A potential application of tissue chips lies in the development of new drugs. Despite appropriate pre-clinical studies in animal models, approximately 30% of promising drugs have been found to be toxic in human clinical studies. Approximately 60% of potential drug candidates fail due to lack of efficacy, ie the drug has no intended effect on a person.

Ir In the drug development process, in addition to having better models to predict the responses of the human body and to measure toxicity at a much earlier stage of the process, there is a need for a potential drug to actually control what needs to be done without causing side effects. , Low says.

As the correct models of the structure and function of human organs such as lung, liver and heart, tissue chips provide researchers with a model to estimate whether the candidate drug, vaccine or biological agent is faster and more effective than the methods available in humans.

Texture Chips in Space are based on knowledge of microfluidics gained in previous space station research, says Warren, which also requires the creation of new, yet untested hardware and systems.

For one thing, the system had to be automated as much as possible.

Or We wanted to simplify everything for space ships, so the astronauts actually just have to plug it into a box on the space station without doing anything with a syringe or liquid, “he says.

Engineers were also forced to miniaturize large, complex equipment used to provide appropriate environmental conditions for chips. The size of a refrigerator in the laboratories around the world, this equipment takes up space in a shoe box in space.

Microfluids revealed unique challenges, such as addressing bubble formation. On earth, bubbles float to the top of a liquid and escapes, but special mechanisms are needed to remove them in microgravity.

Automation and miniaturization for Tissue Chips in Space contributes to the standardization of tissue chip technology, which also improves research in the world.

”We now have a vehicle that can be sent anywhere on the planet, Low says Low.

On Earth, scientists are trying to connect several organ chips to imitate the whole body. This may lead to the prevention and treatment of sensitive medical or specialized disease that takes into account the individual's genes, environment and body.

The first phase of the Tissue Chip in Space consists of five studies.

The study of the immune system aging was planned for the launch of the SpaceX CRS-16 flight planned for mid-November.

SpaceX CRS-17 or other scheduled flight launches include lung host defense, blood-brain barrier, musculoskeletal disease and kidney function. These first flights test the effect of microgravity on tissue chips and demonstrate the ability of the automated system.

All five studies carry out a second flight after 18 months to further demonstrate the functional use of the model, such as testing potential drugs on specific organs.

In addition, four more projects are planned in the summer of 2020, including two heart tissues designed to understand cardiovascular health, muscle wasting and other intestinal inflammation.

Ultimately, Warren says the technology could allow astronauts to go through space through personalized chips that can be used to monitor changes in their bodies and test possible measures and treatments.

In the picture: Texture chips made of flexible plastic have ports and channels that provide nutrients and oxygen to the cells inside them.
Credits: NASA

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