Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

DARPA Asks for Toxi-Chip

Predicting toxic drug effects in humans would go a long way toward helping doctors choose better courses of treatment for their patients and helping drug companies create better drugs, says In the Pipeline's Derek Lowe. DARPA is now soliciting proposals for the creation of a "toxicology chip," the idea being to "grow a variety of human cell lines in small, three-dimensional cultures, all on the same chip or platform, and test drug candidates across them," Lowe says. The DARPA request specifies that the cell cultures need to be able to interact with each other in a "physiologically relevant manner" to reproduce as closely as possible the inner workings of the human body. Lowe calls the project "a serious engineering challenge," adding that there are a lot of questions to get past, such as which cells to use. Even if it is possible, DARPA's five-year limit on the project is too short a time limit to get anything meaningful done, he says. "And I think that there's still no way that any system like this will catch everything, of course," Lowe adds. "A system sufficient to do that would be like building your own in vitro human, which is a bit out of our reach."

The Scan

Drug Response Variants May Be Distinct in Somatic, Germline Samples

Based on variants from across 21 drug response genes, researchers in The Pharmacogenomics Journal suspect that tumor-only DNA sequences may miss drug response clues found in the germline.

Breast Cancer Risk Gene Candidates Found by Multi-Ancestry Low-Frequency Variant Analysis

Researchers narrowed in on new and known risk gene candidates with variant profiles for almost 83,500 individuals with breast cancer and 59,199 unaffected controls in Genome Medicine.

Health-Related Quality of Life Gets Boost After Microbiome-Based Treatment for Recurrent C. Diff

A secondary analysis of Phase 3 clinical trial data in JAMA Network Open suggests an investigational oral microbiome-based drug may lead to enhanced quality of life measures.

Study Follows Consequences of Early Confirmatory Trials for Accelerated Approval Indications

Time to traditional approval or withdrawal was shorter when confirmatory trials started prior to accelerated approval, though overall regulatory outcomes remained similar, a JAMA study finds.