Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center to Develop “Body-on-a-Chip”

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Researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center are embarking on a project to print small human organs. The “body-on-a-chip” project will use 3-D printing—or bioprinting—technology to create mini human-organ systems to test the body’s response to drugs.


In September 2013, a team from eastern China successfully printed a series of living kidneys. Although living, the kidneys only had a lifespan of four months.

The eventual goal of bioprinting is to create large, functional organs that can be used for patients in need of a transplant. In the meantime, simpler, developmental versions can be used to test drug responses in mini-systems.

To that end, scientists at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center have been awarded $24 million in funding from the U.S. Defense Department to develop human organ systems about the size of a quarter using 3-D printing technology.

The “body-on-a-chip” project will enable researchers to assess the effect of chemical and biological agents on the human body and allow them to develop drug antidotes.

Source: National Journal

About the Author

Jenny Jessen is Principal at Highlight Health Media, which publishes Highlight HEALTH. She is also a senior writer at Highlight HEALTH.