The capacity to simulate the progression of human diseases in multiple organs or test new drugs expands with the development of Lattice, a compact in vitro microfluidic system.

Lattice enables monitoring of interactions between up to eight unique organ tissue cultures for extended periods of time to replicate how actual organs will respond. Its capabilities surpass that of current in vitro systems, which can only study two cell cultures simultaneously.

Eight wells host different organ tissue cultures for testing. Source: Northwestern UniversityEight wells host different organ tissue cultures for testing. Source: Northwestern University

In the device, a series of channels and pumps cause simulated blood to flow between the eight wells. A computer connected to Lattice precisely controls how much media flows through each well, where it flows and when. Depending on which disease or drug is being tested, researchers can fill each well with a different organ tissue, hormone, disease or medication.

Lattice is expected to augment data generated by animal testing and human clinical trials. The system has been tested for up to 28 days, improving prospects for maintaining the longer-term cultures essential for the study of disease progression and risk factors.

The research published in Lab on a Chip was conducted by scientists from Northwestern University, University of Illinois, Michigan State University and Rutgers University.

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