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Mini-organs for toxicity testing

Researchers at EARA member Wageningen University & Research, Netherlands, have developed mini-organs for testing new medicines, reducing the need for animal testing.

Although organ-on-a-chip technology is growing in popularity and is more widely used in other areas of biomedical research, its use in toxicity testing for drugs is currently limited.

Current 2D cell-based models for toxicity testing cannot reflect the complexity of a whole organ, and so, in partnership with Unilever, the team aimed to produce 3D mini-organs which included a number of different cell types and structures, that more closely resemble the human body.

“We want to show that our mini-organs, combined with computer modelling, can provide an adequate simulation of human tissue functions and biological reactions to chemicals,” says Dr Hans Bouwmeester of the Wageningen Toxicology department.

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