Modeling a Holistic Organ System
Nearly 90 percent of drugs that survive preclinical testing fail during clinical trials. Static organ cultures and testing in animal models simply do not adequately predict how a compound will affect a human patient. Moreover, drug absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion (ADME) complexities may not be fully recapitulated in single-organ systems.
Draper innovations help close this critical gap. By interconnecting single organ models on our PREDICT96 microfluidics platform, we can model a holistic organ system, including the specific architecture, blood flow perfusion and interactions among organs.
Our Multi-Organ platform is capable of assessing complex drug efficacy and toxicity and potentially replacing or reducing use of animal models currently used for ADME studies.
Assessing Reproductive Toxicity with a Microfluidic Model of the Human Female Reproductive System
Using our Multi-Organ Platform, Draper engineered a microfluidic culture model of the human female reproductive system. Known as EVATAR, our model is designed to measure the reproductive toxicity of new drugs.
Developed in collaboration with researchers at Northwestern University Medical School, EVATAR includes ovarian, fallopian, uterine, cervical and liver tissue. The tissues are cultured in modules controlled by a computer program to mimic female endocrine physiology.
Microfluidic channels connect the modules, delivering pumped nutrients and cellular signaling molecules to the tissues and carrying away metabolic waste. The channels also support consistent pituitary hormone circulation—effectively replicating hormonal control of the system’s tissue function.
The system reproduces the complete 28-day menstrual cycle—including on-chip ovulation and associated hormonal changes under synthetic pituitary control.
The system captures data on how organs interact with each other and how they react to clinical compounds.
EVATAR has demonstrated reliable performance, completing several menstrual cycles across 100 days in testing to date.
Modeling Liver and Airway Interactions
Draper’s Multi-Organ Platform has been used to recapitulate interactions between liver and airway models over periods of 14 days, using cultured human primary cells. Both models maintained organ-specific tissue morphology and function, including albumin production and oxidative enzyme activity in the liver in circulating common media.
The interconnected airway model maintained barrier function and mucus production, as well as lung-specific biomarkers of tissue health.
EVATAR and the Liver-Airway models exemplify how Draper’s precision multiple organ interconnection on this platform can enable highly complex in vivo physiology in a tunable in vitro setting.