• Tue. Oct 26th, 2021

Alveoli on a chip to study lung diseases

Byeditorial

May 4, 2021

In yellow the damage caused by the new coronavirus in the lungs. 3D model obtained from a CT scan (source George Washington Hospital and Surgical Theater) © ANSA / Ansa The pulmonary alveoli are reproduced in 3D on chip, to study lung diseases and test new therapies more quickly: many possible applications, ranging from study of the effects of cigarette smoking up to research on Covid-19. The result is published in the journal of the American Academy of Sciences (PNAS) by researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, United States. “This lower airway model is one of a kind,” explains bioengineer Y. Shrike Zhang. The previous models, in fact, were based on flat surfaces, often made with plastic materials that did not allow to faithfully reproduce the curvature and elasticity of the natural alveoli. To overcome these limitations, the Boston researchers populated their respiratory surfaces by growing two different cell types in 3D (a simplified version of the 42 cell types found in the lungs). In the future, these alveoli on chips can be further refined by incorporating new cell types, so as to make them more and more similar to human lungs. Researchers have already started using them to study the effects of the SarsCoV2 virus on lung cell growth and development, showing the possible impact of drugs such as remdesivir. “As for Covid-19 – adds Zhang – we have had a very short time to develop therapies. In the future, if we have these new study models ready, we will be able to use them to experiment with new treatments in emergency situations where the possibility of clinical trials is limited “. REPRODUCTION RESERVED © Copyright ANSA]]>

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