He says UMMS has its own rules and laws and abide by those laws---not local, state, or US NATIONAL LAWS. Now, UMMS like global hedge fund JOHNS HOPKINS CORPORATION does indeed think it is a GLOBAL CORPORATE CAMPUS inside a US FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONE so can indeed make its own operating rules and abide by no SOVEREIGN laws tying Baltimore to being inside a STATE OF MARYLAND----or a nation of UNITED STATES.
THAT IS THE PROBLEM HERE IN BALTIMORE AND REAL LEFT SOCIAL PROGRESSIVES LIKE CITIZENS' OVERSIGHT MARYLAND ARE WORKING TO 'FIX BALTIMORE'.
'Pevenstein, a UMMS board member for 16 years before his resignation last month, said the board is not subject to state procurement laws — “we’re not part of the state” — and that members complied with internal rules governing conflicts by disclosing contracts internally and to the Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission'.
But, as these BOARD MEMBERS who have already RESIGNED because they are CRIMINALS know------all of that is myth-making and propaganda.
SOUNDS LIKE NIXON------
Here we see how today's state medical research universities are only about PATENTING ANYTHING AND FOUNDING A BUSINESS to sell it.......that is what ORGAN ON A CHIP is
.'Pevenstein is the founder of technology companies and president of a consulting firm'.
This article has MARYLAND GOV HOGAN mad as heck over a complete lack of oversight leading to a revolving door of criminal and corrupt medical device/PHARMA development and sales---leading to hundreds of thousands of dollars in profits from NOTHING MEANINGFUL TO HUMAN HEALTH.
'State officials, including Hogan, blasted the UMMS board and its executives for allowing the self-dealing to occur. State Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller criticized the board’s audit committee, saying that “apparently there was no oversight.”'
Completely BOGUS-----you know, like ORGAN ON A CHIP.
These BOARDS have a DUTY towards BIOETHICS in medical research and development----how can they write REAL BIOETHICS critiques when they are too busy ripping the medical system off?
Former chairman of UMMS board audit committee: 'What we've done is nothing wrong'
Kevin RectorContact ReporterThe Baltimore Sun
May 10, 2019
Robert L. Pevenstein, one of a handful of University of Maryland Medical System board members who have resigned in the wake of a self-dealing scandal related to lucrative contracts their companies held with the system, said he and his former colleagues have done “nothing wrong.”
“I know what was disclosed in our committees,” said Pevenstein, who chaired the financial and audit committees that oversaw the board’s operations. “What we’ve done is nothing wrong.”
Pevenstein, a UMMS board member for 16 years before his resignation last month, said the board is not subject to state procurement laws — “we’re not part of the state” — and that members complied with internal rules governing conflicts by disclosing contracts internally and to the Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission.
Pevenstein’s defense of his and other board members’ contracts comes amid a scandal that erupted after The Baltimore Sun reported in March that Pevenstein, then-Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh and seven other board members had contracts with the system they oversaw on a volunteer basis. The Sun this week revealed a no-cost contract with a 10th board member.
State and local leaders have denounced the business relationships, the General Assembly passed a new law to bar such self-dealing and Republican Gov. Larry Hogan signed it into law. Meanwhile, federal, state and Baltimore city agencies are investigating Pugh’s deals, and the medical system has hired a contractor for an internal review.
Pevenstein is the founder of technology companies and president of a consulting firm. He said his companies’ contracts with the system, some of which date years, were legitimate.
He said UMMS executives approached him about a contract to provide consulting to the system, for which he reported earning more than $100,000 last year.
“It was at the request of the CEO and the CFO. They came to me,” said Pevenstein, referring to then-CEO Robert Chrencik, who recently resigned, and Chief Financial Officer Henry Franey. “They wanted me on retainer.”
He did not respond to a question about whether the arrangement was subject to competitive bidding.
UMMS officials have deflected questions about the contracts pending the outcome of the independent review, and did not respond to requests for comment on this story.
Pevenstein’s resignation from the board was announced March 19 along with that of another board member — John W. Dillon — one day after the resignation of Pugh from the board. However, Pevenstein said his stepping down actually preceded the mayor’s departure and had nothing to do with what happened to her. He said he decided to step down because his term was set to expire this year anyway.
Dillon had reported on disclosure forms that his health care consulting firm, Dillon Consulting, generated more than $150,000 a year through a UMMS contract for “capital campaign and strategic planning.” He could not be reached for comment.
Pugh, a Democrat, made $500,000 from the system on a no-bid contract for 100,000 copies of her self-published “Healthy Holly” children’s books. After the deals were revealed, she returned $100,000 to the system, took leave from her mayoral duties and then resigned last week from the office of mayor — a week after FBI and IRS investigators raided her City Hall office, two homes and other locations seeking documents about her dealings. They took copies of her “Healthy Holly” books and other items related to her service on the UMMS board as well as her involvement with the nonprofit Maryland Center for Adult Training.
Since then, several other UMMS board members — including board chairman Stephen Burch — have announced their resignations from the panel. Several other members also have taken leaves of absence.
State officials, including Hogan, blasted the UMMS board and its executives for allowing the self-dealing to occur. State Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller criticized the board’s audit committee, saying that “apparently there was no oversight.”
In addition to beefing up restrictions on board members having business with the system, the new law passed by the Maryland General Assembly requires the entire board to be replaced by the end of the year.
Pevenstein — and his son — have earned hundreds of thousands of dollars from the system over the past decade.
For instance, in 2017, he reported in state financial disclosure forms that his firms earned more than $150,000 from UMMS contracts, and that he took in more than $108,000 on commissions.
Most of that came from commissions he took on a contract between UMMS and The Optime Group, which handles workforce management. The rest came from commissions on a system contract with Profit Recovery Partners, which focuses on cost reductions for big companies.
Pevenstein reported in disclosure filings that his son, Scott Pevenstein, made more than $100,000 from commissions related to UMMS employees enrolling in and paying for Aflac supplemental benefit insurance programs.
In 2018, in addition to his more than $100,000 consulting profit, Pevenstein earned more than $50,000 from his work for Optime and between $10,000 and $50,000 from his work with Profit Recovery Partners, according to his disclosure forms. His son again made more than $100,000, he reported.
Pevenstein said he had asked Chrencik about his profiting from his contracts with the system — “‘Is it OK if I make something?’” he said he asked — and that Chrencik gave his approval.
Chrencik could not be reached for comment.
Pevenstein said he earned his compensation.
“I worked and did stuff for that,” Pevenstein said. “I tried to bring in solutions and brought in solutions to save them lots and lots of money.”
He said he saved UMMS $12 million a year in “back office costs,” but provided no breakdown of those savings.
Pevenstein made his latest comments during a brief phone interview Wednesday.
He declined to answer questions about Pugh’s deal with the system, and wrote in an email Thursday that it “makes sense to forego any further discussion” pending the completion of the internal UMMS review by Nygren Consulting.
“I would like to reiterate that all of my activities for the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) were done upfront, above board and appropriately fully disclosed in accordance with UMMS policies,” he wrote.
He wrote that the work was “preapproved” by Chrencik and Franey “and/or directly performed at their request.” He also wrote that he recused himself from all meetings regarding “remuneration for UMMS executives.”
Board-approved bonuses for Chrencik are partly responsible for his receiving a 77 percent jump in compensation over four years, from $2.4 million in 2013 to $4.3 million in 2017.
Acting CEO John Ashworth halted the awarding of bonuses for senior executives, typically approved by the board, pending the conclusion of the external contractor’s review.
Pevenstein remains a member of the Board of Regents at the University System of Maryland; Hogan appointed him in 2015 to that board.
We want to discuss a few STEM issues making these medical personal designer medicine products questionable in capability and intent. Remember, there is absolutely NO BASIC SCIENCE saying these structures will work---will be social benefit. They popped onto the medical scene a decade ago and have already been approved for mainstream medical use.
The BIOETHICISTS would be criticizing these medical products for a myriad of reasons if our REAL bioethicists were working at public universities being PUBLISHED in academic research journals.
The difference between BASIC SCIENCE and FANTASY SCIENCE is as we discuss often is this: research pathways only open the door to mainstream exposure to research products AFTER all new science has been proved VIABLE------
HYPOTHESIS MOVES TO THEORY----AND LAW.
So, we are watching as global banking 1% simply market HYPOTHESIS just to move billions of dollars to someone with a technology corporation as we see here at UMMS.
'Space adventurers could be the first true ‘Designer humans’
Since ORGAN ON A CHIP is driven by DARPA-----the global private MILITARY CORPORATIONS------we can assume as BIOETHICISTS already have----if the MILITARY is behind these research then BIOETHICS is GONE WITH THE WIND.
As we discuss a few STEM technical problems with ORGAN ON A CHIP we remind what the REAL GOALS these technology structures have.
We stated yesterday----HUMAN ORGANS do not operate in a VACUUM. All interactions inside all ORGANS are directly affected by biochemicals moving from more than one organ system. Indeed, one organ could not operate without THE OTHER ORGANS IN THE HUMAN BODY SYSTEM.
'What is organ tissue?
'Organs are made of different tissues all working together for a common purpose. They can be made up of any combination of the four tissues; epithelial, muscular, nervous, and connective'.
Multicellular organisms need specialized systems
Because of their specialization, these different systems are dependent on each other. The cells that make up the digestive, muscular, skeletal, reproductive, and excretory systems all need oxygen from the respiratory system to function, and the cells of the respiratory system—as well as all the other systems—need nutrients and must get rid of metabolic wastes. All the systems of the body work together to keep an organism up and running.
ORGAN ON A CHIP is attempting to create DESIGNER HUMANS all while stating these medical policies are PERSONALIZED MEDICINE for REAL HUMANS-----our 99% WE THE PEOPLE black, white, and brown citizens.
By Matthew Griffin Space 1st June 2017
WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF
- Space is the harshest environment known to man and the idea of creating the world’s first genetically altered humans who can survive its extremes “naturally” without the need to take their artificial environments with them is gaining traction
At last year’s International Astronautical Congress in Mexico Elon Musk convinced an audience packed full of die hard space engineers that he’d begin the process of colonising Mars by 2022.
His speech was long on orbits, flight plans, and fuel costs, but it was short on how any of those colonists would survive – in fact, and in all likelihood, the Mars journey would likely be a dead end for anyone who signed up for it. Literally.
Frozen and bathed in deadly radiation the Red Planet is basically a graveyard in waiting but recently a few scientists have started to explore whether we might be able to improve the pioneers chances of survival – if, that is, we engineered them to cope with the perils of space travel, and colonisation.
In short scientists are now openly discussing the creation, and feasibility, of creating genetically “engineered” astronauts, and support for the idea is growing.
For those of you who’ve been reading my blogs about artificial humans, designer babies, babies without biological parents and artificial wombs, let’s be clear here I’m not saying that NASA want to breed genetically modified astronauts in a vat somewhere, after all that would be daft… time to get your groove on conspiracy theorists.
Talk is one thing though but now more and more scientists are donning their white lab coats and getting busy trying to modify human cells in the lab. Can they be made radiation proof? Can they be reconfigured to produce their own vitamins and amino acids? Can we draw smiley cat faces on them? You get the idea.
One of the scientists involved in trying to space proof humans is Christopher Mason, a member of the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at Weill Cornell Medicine. In 2011 he came up with what he called at the time a “500 year plan” to get humans off Earth, and in it, you’ve guessed it, genetic modification plays a big role.
“I think we have to consider it for people that we send to other planets,” he says, “we don’t know if it’s a slight nudge to existing gene expression, or a whole new chromosome, or finally a complete rewriting of the genetic code.”
Mason, who believes there’s a decade or two of work left just to find out what effect space travel has on your genes, and which ones might be okay to modify, is participating in NASA’s “Twins Study,” a program that’s monitoring the physiological changes to an individual astronaut who was sent to the International Space Station for a year while his identical twin brother stayed on Earth. So far the Twins Study is as close as NASA has gotten to discussing the subject of genetically modified (GM) astronauts and the idea has never been floated in any official agency document.
Despite this though Mason says his lab’s ready to take the initial step, and since space is full of rays and fast moving particles that can wreak havoc on DNA he’s working on radiation proofing human cells first.
As a consequence his students are taking cells and adding extra copies of p53, a gene known as the “Protector of the Genome” that’s involved in preventing the development of Cancer. Elephants, for example, have lots of extra copies of p53 and hardly ever get cancer, so Mason concludes that maybe astronauts should have them too, and he says he’s already submitted a proposal to NASA to send the modified cells to the space station.
“There is not a genetic engineering astronaut’s consortium or anything, but maybe we should start one,” he says, mulling that space travel might offer humanity with a very powerful argument to create genetically modified people, “you can’t send someone to another planet without genetically protecting them if you are able to, that would also be unethical.”
But genetic modification could quickly lead to “enhancement” and that’s another door that very few people are willing to even consider opening – for the moment at least… For example, experts remain dead set against using gene editing to make a child who is smarter or endowed with perfect eyesight, but NASA already selects people according to just such criteria, accepting only 14 of 18,300 applicants to its latest class of astronauts, and if you’ve seen the movie Gattaca, where only supermen with topped off genomes are allowed to travel to Titan, while the genetic losers, called “In-valids,” stare up in envy as the rockets lift off then you might have already seen a vision of the future.
To think about surviving in space a genetics term called “Fitness” comes in handy – in genetics, the fitness of an organism is how well it can thrive and reproduce in a given environment.
The fitness of a human in space or on Mars is extremely low, and without their spacesuit and the right amount of oxygen and nitrogen, and the right temperature they’d be dead – it’s the equivalent of a fish taking a tour of London while still in its bowl. Scientists here are basically arguing why not just engineer the fish to breathe air? And some of them have already prepared a catalogue of genes that might help space proof us.
A Boston company called Veritas Genetics is offering to sequence anyone’s genome for $999, and they’ll even give you a report on the fitness of your “Space genes.” Do you have the specific variant of EPAS1, common to Tibetans, that lets you get by with less oxygen? How about the natural mutation that results in huge, extra lean muscles, which might counter atrophy? Meanwhile, another DNA variant is associated with good problem solving skills and low anxiety, and that’s just the sort of temperament that made Matt Damon’s implausible survival heroics possible in The Martian.
You’d be unusual if you had any one of these mutations, and the chances are billions to one that you have all of them which is why to get them all into one astronaut, the perfect astronaut, we might want to add them, probably before birth using powerful gene engineering technologies such as CRISPR.
George Church, who founded Veritas, has even put together a list of “preferred rare protective genes” that are especially suited to an extra-terrestrial environment.
So, what other kind of adaptations could we install into our race of astronauts?
If you leave some large elephants on an island and come back 10,000 years later, what you’ll find is a bunch of small elephants because they’ll have adapted to the lack of surface area and shortage of food. The phenomenon is called “Island Dwarfism,” and under the Martian habitats, smaller might be better too. After all, there’s probably not that much space, and every pound of provisions NASA takes into Earth orbit costs $10,000, so that means the perfect astronaut probably isn’t just twice as strong as the average person but that they’re also half the size, and some scientists think we should take the modifications even further.
At one off the record meeting recently Harris Wang of Columbia University gave a talk titled “Synthesizing a Prototrophic Human” that discussed creating humans that could live by just drinking sugar water, a phenomenon known as Phototrophism.
Wang says it’s not certain if the concept could even work, but in his lab researchers are trying to get human kidney cells to synthesise the nine amino acids our bodies don’t normally make, starting with the simplest one, methionine, manufactured by adding a single gene. If that works, he’ll move on to tryptophan, phenylalanine, and vitamins D, C, and B, and all together he believes creating a prototrophic human cell would require around 250 new genes.
Creating astronauts able to make their own essential nutrients would obviously be immensely complicated, but at the same time immensely beneficial. But as complex as it is, it might be less challenging than the alternatives, such as terraforming an entire planet, and then creating a magnetic shield to protect the atmosphere from being blasted away by solar radiation, or bringing along an orbiting space station that’s complete with an atmosphere, vertical farms, and bioreactors that can grow meat from stem cells.
Wang also suggests it could be beneficial if future astronauts could also photosynthesise to make their own food in the same way plants do, but he admits that anyone able to do so would hardly be human, and anyway, to produce enough energy a person would need to be as flat as a leaf and about the size of a playground.
“I don’t want it said that I am making green people, and I am not suggesting we do this any time soon. But I am suggesting that if you want to do intergalactic travel, you need to solve the problem of being totally self-sufficient,” says Wang, “we are putting humans in very extreme conditions, and from that perspective all of these ideas seem like they should be discussed as a potential long term plan.”
The ability to alter the DNA of a human embryo, such as the one of the designer baby born in Mexico last year, has created a global debate over whether it would be right or wrong to genetically modify people, but if this was your decision what would you do? Send astronauts to Mars and hope they’ll somehow figure out how not to die, or genetically modify them not to just survive but thrive?
So, the BIOETHICS question global banking 1% tells us is this----either NATURAL HUMANS will be thrown into plantetary mining slave colonies and told to survive knowing they cannot----or our 99% WE THE PEOPLE will agree that HMO HUMANS are fine with us-----
GOD WOULD WANT IT THAT WAY.
'Send astronauts to Mars and hope they’ll somehow figure out how not to die, or genetically modify them not to just survive but thrive'?
Hmmmm, ORGAN ON CHIP does not favor mixing----when that is the primary operation of body fluid mechanics.
'but implies a major problem: this flow does not favor mixing'
'The flow of blood inside the vessels is a non trivial fluid dynamics problem since particles with different size, shape and inertia are involved. In a simplest way, the fluid phase of the blood, mainly composed of the hemoglobin solution inside the red blood cell (RBC) membranes and the plasma inside, can be, in a good approximation, considered as a Newtonian fluid, satisfying the Navier-Stokes equation of motion. The platelets can also, in a first approximation, be considered as tracers following faithfully the fluid velocity field.
What is the nature of the flow in such a complex situation for a typical blood vessel? Is it laminar or turbulent? Thank you.
LAMINAR means steady, slow moving flow of liquid inside TUBE/PIPE in this case blood vessels. Our human arterial structures are often very convoluted, lined with all kinds of body/organ-made particles having a JOB of interacting and or being carried to other parts of body so they can INTERACT inside other organs.
Whereas some parts of our human arterial system may indeed be LAMINAR-----most of it is PULSATILE and/or TURBULENT. The REYNOLDS number for ORGAN ON A CHIP has fluid movement called LAMINAR at REYNOLDS #1------we see below near the AORTA where the HEART ORGAN begins-----REYNOLDS #4000.
Quoting from this article: "The typical Reynolds number range of blood flow in the body varies from 1 in small arterioles to approximately 4000 in the largest artery, the aorta. Thus the flow spans a range in which viscous forces are dominant on one end and inertial forces are more important on the other."
Thus, depending on the type of vessel you are considering, you will encounter creeping to turbulent flows'.
ORGAN ON A CHIP is the size of a BATTERY------very,very small for a systems structure.
'A beating microfluidic heart
Sidorov & al. were able to culture cardiomyocytes that differentiated into a beating cardiac muscle. They noticed an alignment of the myofibers between the two anchoring wires with the expected sarcomeres organization. As expected, the AP (action potential) amplitude observed was around 80–90 mV and the resting potential around 60–75 mV at a pacing rate of 2000 ms . The professor Wikswo team also observed the Franck-Starling relationship when measuring the contractility of the ECTC in response of an applied horizontal force'.
Looking at just this one organ----THE HEART BASIC SCIENCE knows these BODY FLUID actions are OPPOSITE from what ORGAN ON A CHIP tell us these structures experience. TO MIMIC any organ in human body one must do two major things----REPLICATE physical tissue structures----and REPLICATE fluid movement of bio-particles and these two objectives are the FIRST TO BE TOLD TO NOT WORK in these ORGANS ON A CHIP.
BLOOD FLOW THROUGH MUCH OF OUR ARTERIAL SYSTEM TIED TO ORGANS IS NOT LAMINAR.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search In fluid dynamics, a flow with periodic variations is known as pulsatile flow, or as Womersley flow. The flow profiles was first derived by John R. Womersley (1907–1958) in his work with blood flow in arteries
U.S. National Library of Medicine(0.00 / 0 votes)Rate this definition:Pulsatile Flow
Rhythmic, intermittent propagation of a fluid through a BLOOD VESSEL or piping system, in contrast to constant, smooth propagation, which produces laminar flow.
The two super-duper questions in ORGAN ON A CHIP viability as we said--------does it really replicate HUMAN BODY FLUID MECHANICS----and does the materials used to mimic HUMAN BODY TISSUES actually work like natural human tissue?
We shared above the fact that these FLUID MODELS are highly questionable creating tons of VARIABLES leading to misleading DATA------below we see why the MATERIALS being used as mimics to human tissues will not work as well.
THERMOPLASTICS materials are what 3D IMAGING uses in building micro----parts for these ORGAN ON CHIP PLATFORMS. Below we see thermoplastics corrupt imaging processes for which 3D has as primary goal----oxygen cannot diffuse through these artificial tissues----oxygen diffusion is CONSTANT in our natural human tissue operations. But what global banking 1% like about 3D thermoplastics is next-----it is VERY EXPENSIVE in high-through put setting which is exactly where ORGAN ON A CHIP is going----HIGH-THROUGH-PUT.
Virtually most published literature on organ-on-a-chip is based on the use of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) as the material of fabrication.
However, a major drawback of PDMS is that the material adsorbs small hydrophobic molecules, therefore making it very difficult to assess pharmacokinetics of drugs and toxins. For example, if the drug is absorbed by the PDMS, then its net concentration is lower, and potential therapeutic effect or toxicity might be underestimated.
Thermoplastic materials are potential alternatives that have been used to make microfluidic chips, but they often auto-fluoresce during imaging, do not permit oxygen diffuse (making it harder for cells to survive for long durations), and can be very expensive for a high-throughput setting.
Why did we have the FAKE FAR-RIGHT WING GLOBAL CORPORATE----GREEN REVOLUTION? To sell all kinds of oil-based products to totally corrupt and kill NATURAL FOOD PRODUCTION. Same with ORGAN ON A CHIP.
Thermoplastic Materials for Printing: 3D Printer Materialwww.inkpal.com/ink-news/thermoplastic-materials-for... With 3D printing, you can use more inexpensive materials to print than just paper and cheap printer ink.Along with epoxy resin, ABS plastic, and nylon, thermoplastic is also exploding into a new and exciting 3D printer material.
ORGAN ON CHIP CONS
Due to the dimensions of microfluidics (about a hundredth of a micrometer), surface effects widely dominate volume effects.
Despite its few advantages (such as trapping molecules of interest) the phenomenon is also linked to some drawbacks: the quality of analysis can be affected by the adsorption of products of interest on the inner linings  .
Very little mixing during laminar flow
Furthermore, for the relevant fluids in microfluidic dimensions, the Reynolds number will always remain very small, before 1. Consequently, the flow into the chips will remain laminar. It allows for a precise control of experimental conditions, but implies a major problem: this flow does not favor mixing .
'Multi-organs on chip could also allow us to witness the side effects of certain drugs on different organs, not limited to those that the treatment targets. The goal is to be able to link a maximum of parts in order to reproduce a human on chip. On the long run, beyond pre-clinical tests, organs on chip could allow everyone to have access to individualized treatments by using their own cells to test them, which is called personalized medicine. In this review, we will go over the pros and cons of microfluidic organs on chip, before looking at the different organs on chip available today and looking at the issues that are yet to be fixed before the technology can fully replace animal testing'.
Living Bits of Human Organs Are Headed to Space to Save More Lives on Earth
By Sarah Sloat
on May 2, 2019
When astronauts swim through the microgravity of the International Space Station, their bodies change. Immune systems become confused, while muscles and bones atrophy. These physical changes are akin to aging on Earth, making space ideal for studying the mysteries of aging. But of course, it’s not fair to use astronauts as guinea pigs. Instead, scientists are sending miniature human organs on chips to the ISS as part of SpaceX CRS-17 mission.
The mission, originally scheduled to launch early morning Friday, is now expected to launch at 2:48 am this Saturday.
The project to send human organs to space is called the Tissue Chips in Space Initiative, a collaboration between the National Institutes of Health and the ISS National Lab. The chips themselves, which are somewhere between a microscope slide and a cellphone in size, contain human cells laid out on a scaffold that allows them to mimic the structure and function of organs in the body.
Michael Roberts, Ph.D., is the deputy chief scientist at the ISS National Lab. He tells Inverse that the drive behind this cutting-edge science is to get more treatments to more patients as soon as possible. By observing what happens to the chips when they are space, scientists hope to gain a better understanding of the onset and progression of diseases, especially those linked to aging.
“The space environment has profound effects on humans, and when astronauts experience space for long periods of time, the sort of things that happen to them look a bit like the diseases that are important here on Earth,” Roberts says. “The whole premise of tissue chips is that it enables us to not only better understand how diseases work in the body, but more importantly, it can help us understand what are the best therapeutic agents and medicines that we can use to combat that.”
University of Washington scientists are in charge of the kidney chip project.This week’s launch will be the initiative’s second time sending tissue chips to space since December, when immune system chips were sent to space. Each of the chips that will be launched on Friday to the ISS will model specific tissues: the blood-brain barrier, bone and cartilage, kidneys, and lung and bone marrow. The last one is specifically designed to understand the body’s response to infection: The lung cells will be introduced to a bacterial infection and, in turn, immune system cells on the chip will be evaluated for their effectiveness in stopping that infection.
The plan is for the chips to be sent off to space on Friday from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and after about a day of being berthed to the station, astronauts will transfer them over to their proper place on the ISS. From the perspective of the astronauts working on the experiments, it’ll look like working with aluminum boxes where, inside, the small, thin chips are pumped with fluid and gas.
The human cells will then quickly grow to resemble the function of different organs, and after two weeks, they will be packed up, put into storage, and placed back aboard the SpaceX Dragon capsule. After 40 days, the capsule undocks from the ISS, returns to Earth, and splashes down in the Pacific Ocean.
A tissue chip made of clear flexible plastic.“A day later, a barge brings the capsule back to Long Beach, California, and scientists can either meet the ship there and get their cells back or have folks send them in the mail,” Roberts explains.
Each tissue project will fly into space twice. The first round is designed to see how the cells change in space, while the second mission revolves around testing potential drug therapies on the biological processes observed in the first mission. For example, whatever accelerated development of osteoarthritis seen in the bone-cartilage chip model will then be treated with novel compounds and drugs when it’s back in space.
Tissue chips, Roberts points out, serve as a quicker and more efficient way to study the body than animal models. They are replicable, so you can test new therapies, and they can be personalized — different cells taken from human donors give scientists the opportunity to learn whether drugs are a once-size-fits all situation or something that needs to be tailored to an individual.
“It’s cutting-edge science,” Roberts says. “For me, it all begins with the excitement of doing good science and utilizing the unique environment of space.”
Organs on Chips
Scientists hope that these devices will one day replace animal models of disease and help advance personalized medicine.Aug 28, 2017
From beating hearts to breathing lungs, organs-on-chips are some of hottest new tools for human biology research. Although these devices may bear closer resemblance to computer components than human body parts, scientists have now created working models for a whole range of organs, including the liver, the lung, and even the female reproductive system.
Researchers hope to use these devices to model disease and facilitate drug development. “I think for most people, the goal is to replace animal testing and to carry out personalized medicine in a more effective way,” Donald Ingber, the founding director of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, tells The Scientist.
A lung alveolus chip with air-filled (yellow) and blood-like medium-filled (blue) channels, both lined with human cells to mimic organ-level function.
WYSS INSTITUTE AT HARVARD UNIVERSITY
At the Wyss Institute, scientists have developed about 15 different human organs on chips. The first of these was the lung-on-a-chip, a clear, thumb drive-size device with two channels: an air-filled upper channel lined with human alveolar epithelial cells, and a lower channel lined with blood vessel cells and a white blood cell-containing solution flowing through.
To more closely model human biology, the researchers also mimicked breathing motion by applying a vacuum to deform the hollow tubes lining the main channels.
“The novelty that we incorporated [into our chips] was based on my work that showed that mechanical forces are as important as chemicals and genes for tissue development, maintenance, and function,” Ingber says. “This one lung alveolus chip provided proof-of-principle for modeling normal organ-level physiology and disease, discovering new insights into the importance of physical forces, finding new therapeutic targets and even a new drug.”
Ingber and colleagues have also incorporated mechanical forces into their other organ chips—for example, peristalsis-like motions in the gut chip and blood-vessel pulsations in the kidney chip.
A close-up of image of the human bronchiolar epithelium on an airway chip. Mucus-transporting cilia (pink) are protruding from the epithelial cells (teal) into the air-filled lumen.
WYSS INSTITUTE AT HARVARD UNIVERSITY
One of the institute’s latest inventions is the airway-on-a-chip, which is similar to the initial lung chip, except that instead of alveolar cells, the device is lined with human bronchial epithelial cells. The team has used this chip to model chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma. They have even used this device to study the effects of smoking on the bronchial epithelium by hooking it up to a machine that burns cigarettes and inhales and exhales smoke to mimic a human smoker.
Illustration of the NeuroVascular Unit (NVU) chip, a model of the human blood-brain barrier. A porous membrane separates a chamber modeling the brain and another that represents the surrounding vasculature.
DOMINIC DOYLE, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY
A group led by John Wikswo, a biomedical engineer at Vanderbilt University, has created a chip to study the brain and the blood-brain-barrier.
“We chose to focus on the human neurovascular unit (NVU) because of the importance of the interactions between cortical neurons and the blood-brain barrier (BBB) that protects them, hence the term neurovascular unit,” Wikswo writes in an email to The Scientist.
The NVU chip consists of a tiny cavity divided by a porous membrane separating one chamber, which represents the brain, from another chamber, which represents the surrounding vasculature. It contains cortical neurons, microvascular endothelial cells, astrocytes, and pericytes from humans. According to Wikswo, this structure “allows us to study the metabolomic response of the neurons and other cells to drugs and inflammatory signals that are delivered across the BBB.”
The team has used this NVU chip in a variety of applications, such as investigating disease states and to study the effects of inflammation. Currently, they are also initiating a program to use this technology to test drugs for the pharmaceutical industry.
Microscopy image of engineered rat heart tissue on a chip with cardiac myocytes (red), nuclei (blue), and actin (green).
MEGAN McCAIN AND NETHIKA ARIYASINGHE, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
Megan McCain, a professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Southern California, works with hearts-on-chips: small eraser-size devices that house live, beating heart cells. To create these devices, researchers first take skin cells from patients and reprogram them into stem cells that later develop into cardiac myocytes. They then place these cells on chips containing bioengineered surfaces that recreate the heart’s natural environment. “The key metric that we’re interested in is the generation of force,” McCain says.
In 2014, McCain, who was then at the Wyss Institute, used the heart chips to model Barth syndrome, a rare, inherited disorder associated with weakened heart muscles. Currently, her team is focused on using these devices to study other diseases. “Disease modeling is where I think it will have the biggest impact—especially inherited disease,” McCain tells The Scientist. “Even if we make a knockout mouse, we don’t seem to capture all the aspects of the disease in humans.”
An eye-on-a-chip, with microfluidic channels (yellow) that bring nutrients to cells located in the circular scaffold at the center. The team has also attached a microengineered eyelid that mimics blinking to this chip.
LABORATORY OF DAN HUH AT THE UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA
Dan Huh, a bioengineering professor at the University of Pennsylvania who was a postdoc in Ingber’s lab, and colleagues have created an eye-on-a-chip—with an eyelid that blinks.
This chip, which is roughly the size and shape of a contact lens, approximates the ocular surface of the eye. It contains human cells from the cornea and conjunctiva (the mucosal layer that covers the eye). The team also engineered an eyelid, which attaches to the surface and allows the eye to blink, keeping the surface of the chip lubricated.
“We found out that blinking motions are very important for maintaining the ocular surface tissue,” Huh says. “And we’re using this platform to mimic certain chronic eye diseases, such as dry eye disease.” According to Huh, his lab also plans to use this chip to model other eye conditions, for drug testing and development, and to test and optimize contact lenses. The team is also currently developing a retina-on-a-chip.
“The eye is one of the main focusing areas of my lab,” Huh says. His group is also working on chips for a variety of other organs, including the lungs and placenta.
EVATAR, a pocket-size model of the female reproductive system. Blood-like fluid (blue) flows through wells containing mini organs.
Many groups aim to link different organ chips together to recreate organ systems or even the entire human body. Teresa Woodruff, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University, and colleagues have linked five miniature organs together in a hand-size chip to model the female reproductive tract.
The chip, dubbed EVATAR, is a series of tubes and pumps that carry a blue, blood-like fluid through cells containing five mini organs—a fallopian tube, a uterus, a vagina, an ovary, and a liver. “What [this] system allows us to do is move media in a way that brings in fresh nutrients and eliminates waste,” Woodruff says. “That’s what happens in the body.” By adding hormones to the circulating liquid, the team was able to mimic the 28-day menstrual cycle.
The researchers hope to use EVATAR to elucidate reproductive physiology and disease, as well as in drug testing and development. They are also working on a male version of the chip, ADATAR.
See “Mini Female Reproductive System on a Chip”
A multiorgan platform connected to associated software. Each well holds a miniature physiological system, such as the lung, the gut, or the central nervous system. Fluid flowing through the channels mimics physiological cardiac output.
Linda Griffith, a biological engineering professor at MIT, and colleagues are one of two groups working on projects funded by the US government’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to a create “bodies-on-chips,” which aim to connect ten different mini organ systems in an integrated circuit. The other group is at the Wyss Institute.
Artistic rendition of the human-on-a-chip approach to in vitro biology. Bioengineered devices nurture many 3D tissue cultures representing the smallest functional unit of each organ of interest.PHYSIOMIMETICS, MIT
According to Griffith, her team recently “completed our big DARPA milestone, which is [connecting] 10 organ microphysiological systems for a month.”
Connecting multiple organ chips allows researchers to interrogate organ interactions. In one of their latest experiments, Griffith and her team investigated the effects of inflammation in a system where human intestine chips and liver chips were linked. This study revealed, among other things, how cross-talk between the two organs influence gene expression and tissue-specific functions.
“I think right now the field is in the early stage of thinking about complex physiology that involves multiple interacting cell types within an organ and between organs, particularly when it involved immune systems interacting with tissue cells,” Griffith says. “A huge part of our program focuses on immunology.”
Brain Chips in Space
Emulate’s Organ-Chips, like this Brain-Chip, contain tiny hollow channels lined with tens of thousands of living human cells and tissues, and are each approximately the size of an AA battery. COURTESY OF EMULATE, INC.
Start-up company Emulate was formed to commercialize organ-on-chip technology developed at the Wyss Institute, including Lung-Chips, Liver-Chips, and Intestine-Chips. While these chips possess different cell types and functions, their standardized design makes them look identical from the outside. The company recently announced its plans to send its Brain-Chips to the International Space Station, where they will be used to study, among other things, the blood-brain barrier and how stressors and inflammation affect brain function.
The company’s Brain-Chip contains both neurons and vascular endothelial cells, and is made to model both brain physiology and the blood-brain barrier. “We’re not trying to recreate the whole brain, but simply the smallest functional unit of the organ,” says Geraldine Hamilton, the president and chief scientific officer of Emulate. “In this case, for example, [we] take the blood-brain barrier, which is composed of microvascular endothelial cells, neurons, astrocytes, and pericytes—these all interact in a very specific manner and need to be organized in a very specific way—this is what we, on a very small scale, recreate within the chips.”
See “Organ-on-a-Chip Gets Big Pharma Boost”