Imec, a research and innovation company in nano-electronics and digital technologies, presented an organ-on-chip platform for pharmacological studies with signal quality. The device uses imec’s high-density multi-electrode array (MEA) chip with microfluidic well plate, in which cells can be cultured as long as the environment mimics human physiology. Capable of performing multiple tests in parallel, the new device aims to be a game-changer for the pharmaceutical industry, offering data in the drug development process. Either for growing organs on chip for high-throughput, personalized drug screening, for disease modelling, as well as for patient-derived cell-based therapies.
Imec’s solution packs 16,384 electrodes, distributed over 16 wells, and offers multiparametric analysis. Each of the 1,024 electrodes in a well can detect intracellular action potentials, aside from the traditional extracellular signals. Further, imec’s chip is patterned with microstructures to allow for a structured cell growth mimicking a specific organ.
“By using grooves, heart cells can for example grow into a more heart-like tissue. In this way, we fabricate miniature hearts-on-a-chip, making it possible to test the effect of drugs in a more biologically relevant context. Imec’s organ-on-chip platform is the first system that enables on-chip multi-well assays, which means that you can perform different experiments or – in other words – analyze different compounds, in parallel on a single chip,” explained Veerle Reumers, project leader at imec. “This is a considerable increase in throughput compared to current single-well MEAs and we aim to further increase the throughput by adding more wells in a system.”