There are six phases of testing new drugs before they go on the market and that begins with drug design and non-human testing. It then leads later on to the various steps taken and years spent testing it on humans. Even with such thoroughness to ensure the safety of the drug, around 85 percent of the drugs that are tested don’t make it past the early clinical trials. On top of that, the drugs that pass the early clinical phases, including the non-human testing, are not accurate in their uses and side effects since none of these sources have an organ system identical to the human one. How do we become more accurate and help more drugs get out to the public quicker? It’s what Emulate, Inc. calls Organs-On-Chips, and in a few simple steps, can be explained on why they consider it the future of drug testing.
1. First off, what exactly are organs-on-chips?
Organs-On-Chips are devices that are about the size of a USB drive that contain human cells that are in blood vessels and tissue normally found in the human body. This device’s environment is almost exactly the same as the human body and has the same physiological functions that go on in the body, as well.
2. For animal lovers out there, this could be the end of all animal testing as we know it.
Since Organs-On-Chips are so similar to the human body and its functions, drugs could be tested on them to see the effect of drugs on the body without having to use non-human sources. It becomes a harmless way to see all of the uses and side effects in a more accurate manner than trying them on any other kind of animals.
3. They can be more personalized to each patient.
Nowadays, doctors run into problems when trying to help patients. This is due to the variability of each patient’s body. There is no one-size-fits-all with drug therapy to help a patient, especially with each person’s different resistance levels to antibiotics and the allergies they may have against certain drugs. The Organs-On-Chips method would be able to create an environment almost identical to that of the patient so doctors can experiment what drug therapy works best for the patient's body before they ever touch them.
4. New drug discovery is possible.
Organs-On-Chips can also include diseased cells, so scientists can start experimenting on new and better ways to treat a certain disease. They will be able to have a free range of experimentation to try anything and everything that they feel necessary to create just the right drug concoction that may have never been thought of before. Plus, Organs-On-Chips can encompass more interacting organs at once so they can see how the drug affects multiple organs at the same time.
Below is a video of how this process works with a Lung-On-A-Chip, if you don’t believe me. Either way, the future of drug testing is here, and there will be more proof when you start seeing it at your doctor’s office not too long from now.