Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

On a Chip

Two groups are working to make studies of the gut easier by creating "gut-on-a-chip" devices that mimic the human gut, reports New Scientist's Jessica Hamzelou. These devices could provide researchers with a new way to explore digestive disorders, and to test drugs. One device, created by Donald Ingber and his team at Harvard University's Wyss Institute, is made of silicon layers fitted together to form three parallel channels, with a membrane seeded with human intestinal cells in the middle, Hamzelou says. The team recreated peristalsis by setting up a vacuum in the outer two channels, "replicating the pulsations" of digestion, she adds. The team also added a variety of human gut bacteria.

At Cornell University, John March and his team are working on another way to model the human gut. "The group made miniature collagen scaffolds in the shape of these villi [that line the gut] then seeded them with intestinal cells," Hamzelou says. This 3D model absorbs drugs more like the actual human gut than cells in a Petri dish, she adds. March says he'd like to try combining his device with Ingber's to see if they might improve one another.

The Scan

Could Cost Billions

NBC News reports that the new Alzheimer's disease drug from Biogen could cost Medicare in the US billions of dollars.

Not Quite Sent

The Biden Administration likely won't meet its goal of sending 80 million SARS-CoV-2 vaccine doses abroad by the end of the month, according to the Washington Post.

DTC Regulation Proposals

A new report calls on UK policymakers to review direct-to-consumer genetic testing regulations, the Independent reports.

PNAS Papers on Mosquito MicroRNAs, Acute Kidney Injury, Trichothiodystrophy

In PNAS this week: microRNAs involved in Aedes aegypti reproduction, proximal tubule cell response to kidney injury, and more.