Lab Talk: Human organs on a chip, with Lutz Kloke

Written by
Markus Turber
17 Februar 2014

Lutz Kloke, Biologist at TU Berlin, visited our office in Stuttgart last week. He works for TissUse – a Berlin based biotech startup developing organs on chips. Drug testing is difficult and expensive The pharmaceutical industry is in search of improved scientific models for testing drugs before they enter expensive human clinical trials. A lot of testing can be done in cell cultures but this can’t represent “in vivo” complexity. Therefore, a lot of testing is done with „animal models“, which is neither desirable from an ethical perspective nor necessarily representative for humans. For instance, paracetamol wouldn’t be a common drug as it is very toxic to a lot of animals. lutz_kloke_02A human on a chip TissUse is following a very ambitious and extremely fascinating science. They feature a combination of human organs on one single chip. The constructed organoids (like liver, skin, heart, kidney, lung, …) are connected with channels that will soon have the quality of vessels being able to carry blood. Having a common metabolism, those interconnected organoids will provide a much better model for various testing purposes. A little bit further down the road, there will be an individual patient on a chip. Imagine the impact to medical therapy. Quickly checking a range of patient specific medications outside the body helps to avoid trial and error medicine – one step towards personalized medicine. Thank you Lutz for your inspiring presentation! P.S. Here’s another great article about TissUse on Bosten Biotech Watch