About this Research Topic
Animal models are widely used in biomedical research, and have been instrumental in studying the fundamental molecular and cellular processes governing the biology of human organs and tissues in both healthy and diseased condition. Large animals (e.g. pigs and sheep) are closer to humans, as they exhibit size, anatomy, physiology and hemodynamics similar to humans. However, large animal models are costly, require substantial housing and caring resources and are subject to ethical considerations. In comparison, small animals (e.g. mice and rats) are relatively cost-effective, easy to maintain, can be produced and tested in large numbers, and importantly can be genetically modified to develop target diseases. Despite these advantages, small animal models are inherently limited due to enormous differences in the size, anatomy, physiology, pathology and heart function. These parameters have caused the failure of many drugs that had been successfully tested in animal studies.
An artificial model that can mimic the physiology and pathophysiology of the human organs and tissues is pivotal to better understand the fundamental biological processes within our body, and can accelerate the process of drug discovery.
Advances in microfabrication technologies have facilitated the development of microfluidic organ-on-a-chip platforms. These models can mimic the structural and functional properties of human organs and tissues, hence providing valuable analytical tools for studying fundamental biological processes at in a level of detail not achievable using conventional in vitro models, thus offering potential alternative to animal models. Microfluidic platforms be interfaced with various microscopic, flow cytometry, genomic and proteomic techniques to investigate various molecular and cellular events.
This Research Topic intends to include the most relevant studies in microfluidic-based organ-on-chip models in diverse areas, such as:
• Fabrication techniques;
• Modelling diseases;
• Drug discovery.
We welcome researchers from academia and industries to submit full articles, communication, and review articles to meet the goals of this Research Topic.
Keywords: organ-on-a-chip, microfluidics, drug discovery, disease modelling, cardiovascular diseases
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