Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering of Harvard University has secured a $5.6m contract from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its organs-on-chips technology to assess medical countermeasures for treating acute radiation syndrome (ARS), also known as radiation sickness.
Organs-on-chips is a microchip technology that mimics the functions of tissue structures present in living organs, such as the lung, heart and intestine.
The interactions between the living tissues within human organs are replicated on microchips through this novel technology.
It has the capability to evaluate candidate medical countermeasures for ARS within the specific context of a target human organ system, which could yield valuable information for facilitating development.
Under the terms of the agreement, Wyss Institute scientists will develop models of radiation damage in lung, gut and bone marrow organs-on-chips and then use them to test candidate medical countermeasures.
FDA’s assistant commissioner for counterterrorism policy Dr Luciana Borio noted organs-on-chips technology represents the kind of transformational change in the way products are evaluated that is critical to advancing regulatory science, the science underpinning all FDA regulatory decisions.
"It holds enormous promise for improving our understanding of new medical countermeasures, particularly when it is unethical or unfeasible to conduct efficacy studies in humans; and when available animal models have limited use in accurately predicting human response," Dr Borio added.