New from the Jewish brain: A brain-on-chip

Groundbreaking Israeli scientist who developed a liver-on-chip says he will have a brain- and heart-on chip ready by 2018.

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Guy Cohen,

Brain (illustration)
Brain (illustration)
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Prof. Yaakov (Kobi) Nahmias of Hebrew University, a groundbreaking Israeli scientist who developed a "liver-on-chip", says he will have a brain- and heart-on chip ready by 2018.

Israel21c reports that Nahmias created his firm, Tissue Dynamics, which provides toxicology analysis of drugs and cosmetics, after licensing the technology whose development he spearheaded from the university.

Tissue Dynamics’ liver-on-a-chip – as well as the heart and brain chips still in development – could greatly reduce the number of animal tests, the amount of time for drug evaluation and the astronomical cost of developing a new drug – which averages $2.5 billion.

Tissue Dynamics — the first human-on-a-chip company in Israel and one of few in the world — can do what none of the others can do, according to Nahmias .The organs-on-chip feature human cells that have been placed inside a device, connected by microscopic channels and featuring electronic and optical sensors.

Nahmias won a $2.3 million European Research Council grant last September to develop the next generation of the liver-on-chip system, which mimics circadian rhythms – the daily cycle of human metabolism. In 2018, the company expects to offer chips simulating a pumping human heart and a human brain, including functional neurons and vasculature.

Our goal is to have these three major organs, which are the target of a lot of drugs. In 2019 we will complete a large facility for manufacturing the chips,” Nahmias said. “There is a lot of interest.”

The widespread use of organs-on-chip will mean that there will be much less need for experiments on animals. Cosmetics giant L'Oréal was the firm's first customer, and with the EU making animal experimentation illegal, Nahmias expects major firms like Unilever to begin using his technology soon.








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