At the Wyss Institute at Harvard University, a multi-disciplinary team of researchers has engineered a “smoking-lung-on-a-chip“. The chip is composed of a micro-respirator, the “small-airway-on-a-chip“, a smoke machine, and software that controls the breathing and smoking rates. This system allows researchers to model the way humans smoke in a more realistic and clinically-relevant fashion than ever before. The team is testing cells from both healthy patients and those with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)—the third leading cause of human death worldwide. This advancement at the Wyss Institute allows for a more-human relevant assessment of the toxicity of tobacco products and treatments for COPD, while replacing experiments on animals.
The first author of this paper recently won the first-ever “Lush Prize Americas: Young Researcher Award” for his work on organs-on-chips (read more here: http://bit.ly/2feuOgj).