Cedars-Sinai, Emulate scientists develop patient-on-a-chip

Scientists at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and Emulate have developed a patient-on-a-chip program capable of assisting personalized precision medicine by using patient genetics. Findings are published in Cellular and Molecular Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Advancing the fields of organ-on-a-chip, researchers have utilized stem cell science to recreate a cellular environment to observe how patients’ genetically identical cells responded to disease mechanisms.

"The medical potential of a patient-on-a-chip is extraordinary," said Clive Svendsen, PhD, director of the Cedars-Sinai Board of Governors Regenerative Medicine Institute. "As examples, scientists could use organs-on-chips to create a living model of a patient with Parkinson's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Crohn's disease. By flowing drugs through organ-chips containing the patient's own cells and tissue, we could predict which treatment is most beneficial for that patient."

Scientists began by harvesting cells from a patient’s blood or skin and reprogramed them into pluripotent stem cells. These were then made into cells of organs like the liver, lung or intestine where they could be tested and observed by clinicians for their response to drugs.

"By creating a personalized patient-on-a-chip, we can really begin to understand how diseases, medicines, chemicals and foods affect an individual's health," said Geraldine A. Hamilton, PhD, president and chief scientific officer of Emulate. "The goal of Emulate working with Cedars-Sinai is to advance and qualify the system for new clinical applications and ultimately democratize the technology so that it can have broad impact on patient healthcare.