Application of Organ-on-chips and micro-physiological systems
Microphysiological systems (MPS) are designed to mimic human organs and physiology with the aim of improving the drug development process. They have proven to be a powerful tool at research level and a solid basis for the establishment of qualified preclinical assays with improved predictive power. However, one remaining drawback is the lack of comprehensive standardization. This hinders their use for regulatory purposes as well as it impedes the extraction of the full extent of information from acquired data. Moreover, one main advantage of MPS in contrast to animal testing – the insight in “the body” throughout the test assays – cannot be deployed fully as long as assay execution, observation and analysis are highly time consuming and resource binding. This is why there is an immediate demand to automate MPS cultivation and analysis. Concluding, we developed a dedicated system for the cultivation of our TissUse Multi-Organ-Chips.
The Humimic AutoLab cultivates up to 24 Multi-Organ-Chips (MOCs) simultaneously, providing customized incubation and systemic pulsatile media circulation. Regular media exchanges, substance application and sample extraction are executed automatically according to assay specifications. Routine microscopic analyses such as bright field imaging and fluorescence measurements are conducted in scheduled cycles and at any chosen time. To hinder contamination and for operator protection all liquid handling steps are conducted under sterile conditions. Media, substances and samples are stored in a refrigerator at 4 °C, which are delivered on demand via an automatic provisioning system. Cell culture material such as well plates and single-use pipet tips last for a minimum of four days until a restock is necessary. The refrigerator also holds media samples and stores them until further analysis. A dedicated software allows for a coherent and time efficient input of all assay parameters as well as it provides a variety of tools for data analysation. The Humimic LabOS also allows for assay feasibility checks and provides the operator with instructions for equipping the system. The fully automated image acquisition and ensuing analysation will finally allow for a higher comparability of results and new findings through pattern recognition and machine learning algorithms. Transferring our well-established co-culture assays with organ models such as liver, skin, intestine and bone marrow organoids proofed successful and showed a high comparability to the manually conducted assays.