News

Using Organs-on-chips technology to accelerate COVID-19 research

The Queen Mary & Emulate Organs-on-Chips Centre is involved in a new initiative to use miniaturised living systems with human cells, known as organ-chips, in the fight against COVID-19.

15 June 2020

Emulate's organs-on-chips technology. Credit: Emulate
Emulate's organs-on-chips technology. Credit: Emulate

As part of this initiative, Emulate, Inc have donated blank Organ-Chips to the UK Organ-on-a-chip Technologies Network to support the development of therapeutics against the virus responsible for coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2.

Researchers from the Network can now apply to use the Emulate Organ-Chips for COVID-19 research via the Queen Mary & Emulate Organs-on-Chips Centre.

Scientists interested in working with the Queen Mary & Emulate Organs-on-Chips can also register for their free online event to find out more about Organ-on-a-chip work using the Emulate system and the importance of this technology in drug development.

Finding drugs to treat COVID-19

Organs-on-Chips contain tiny hollow channels lined by living human cells that recreate the physical and mechanical environment experienced by cells within the human body.  As they can predict human responses with great precision, Organs-on-Chips can be used to better understand diseases such as COVID-19, and for testing the safety and toxicity of potential new medicines.

Infectious diseases like COVID-19 can be challenging to study in animal models due to species differences, and typical cell-based systems often lack the complexity to appropriately model the disease or immune response in humans. Therefore, the use of Organs-on-Chips like those provided by Emulate, Inc can help to increase confidence in early clinical studies for infectious diseases.

Existing Emulate commercial products include Liver-Chip, Proximal Tubule Kidney-Chip, and Intestine-Chip models and more recently Alveolus Lung-Chip and an Airway Lung-Chip models have been developed, which are especially relevant for studies into COVID-19.

In response to the current COVID-19 pandemic Queen Mary has also established a multidisciplinary research group of academics focused on using different organ-on-a-chip models for COVID-19 related research and development projects.

Register for the Organs-on-Chips Centre e-Launch

On 15 July 2020, the Queen Mary & Emulate Organs-on-Chips Centre is hosting an online event to celebrate its recent opening. The event includes academic and industry speakers who will introduce Emulate's Organ-on a chip technology and a new proof of concept funding award.

Register for the Organs-on-Chips online event.

More information

For media information, contact:

Sophie McLachlan
Faculty Communications Manager (Science and Engineering)
email: sophie.mclachlan@qmul.ac.uk