Artificial microvasculature “on a chip” device for use in blood disease diagnostics, therapeutic screens, and hematology studies.
- Size and scale of system is representative of physiological microvasculature.
- Incorporates real endothelial cells into a model system in which conditions can be controlled and manipulated.
- 2D model can be hooked up to a pump to simulate blood flow which is far more difficult to do with 3D models of microvasculature.
- Currently no system is available to study microvasculature that incorporates cultured endothelial cells in a scale that is both real-to-life and adjustable.
Artificial microvascular networks can be used to study biophysical cell interactions that occur among blood cells, endothelial cells, and soluble factors and hematologic diseases such as sickle cell disease. An artificial microvasculature can also serve as a model to study biophysical aspects of hematopoietic stem cell biology, inflammation, leukocyte biology, and cancer metastasis. However there are currently no artificial systems available that incorporate living endothelial cells and are to a real-to-life scale that models the small blood vessels in the microcirculation of the human body.
Dr. Lam and his colleagues have developed an artificial microvasculature “lab on a chip” type platform. This technology consists of an endothelialized in vitro model system of the microvasculature that uses a relatively simple microfabrication process and standard endothelial cell culture techniques. The device is a “microvasculature-on-a-chip” on a clear slide with microfluidic channels which can be seeded with cultured endothelial cells to create a microvasculature system. This system can be hooked up to a standard syringe pump to stimulate flow and observed with common brightfield/fluorescence microscope. This novel device provides the investigator with a robust assay that recapitulates the cellular, physical, and hemodynamic environment of microvascular systems allowing the biological and biophysical conditions to be controlled. In addition to a research tool, this microfluidic system could potentially be used as a drug discovery platform and eventually have diagnostic applications for hematologic or cardiovascular disorders as well as diabetes and microvasculature complications.
Here's a video about this technology
Prototype has been developed.