A human being’s skill-set, as we know, can be many different things, but if we assess the picture in hindsight, none of those iterations will look more valuable than the one that gets to grow on a consistent basis. You see, when an individual is scaling up under each and every situation, they eventually steer themselves towards some really notable milestones along the way. This is proven by everything we have achieved so far, with one big testimony coming from a creation called technology. Technology enjoys a distinctive presence in our lives mainly because of its unprecedented skill-set. Having said that, though, we must also give some credit to the manner in which it used those skills for impacting our entire spectrum. The latter, in particular, will go on to produce various beneficiaries, and our healthcare sector will be a significant part of the said group. In fact, technology’s foray into healthcare couldn’t have arrived at a better time, considering how badly the sector was struggling against an outright obsolete structure. Fortunately, by building upon those ingenious medtech foundations, the sphere will manage to move on, but even after doing so; it will keep improving under one capacity or the other. A recent development does a lot to reinforce the same dynamic.
The researching team at Harvard Wyss Institute has successfully modelled the Environmental Enteric Dysfunction (EED), a childhood inflammatory intestinal disease, on a microfluidic chip, thus conceiving extensive insights into the genetic changes underlying the condition. Dubbed as the first ever in vitro model of the disease, the whole construction is made from two microfluidic channels. While one is lined up with endothelial cells as a proxy for intestinal blood vessels, the other channel sticks to intestinal epithelial cells to mimic the intestine itself. These channels are connected by a nutrient-rich fluid, which flows between the channels, and with the help of a permeable membrane, the nutrients are eventually able to reach the intestinal cells. Interestingly enough, the researchers, to get the most accurate results possible, would source intestinal cell samples from EED patients. After putting them alongside the intestinal channel of the chip, they compared its complete overview to what they picked up from the chips that were lined with healthy cells. According to certain reports, the EED chips showed changes in gene expression across a large number of genes, particularly when certain nutrients were excluded from the nutrient fluid. More importantly, though, they succeeded in mimicking the disease, showing inflammation, intestinal barrier dysfunction, and reduced nutrient absorption, which are all found in human EED patients.
“Functionally, there is something very wrong with these kids’ digestive system and its ability to absorb nutrients and fight infections, which you can’t cure simply by giving them the nutrients that are missing from their diet,” said Amir Bein, a researcher involved in the study. “Our EED model allowed us to decipher what has happened to the intestine, both physically and genetically, that so dramatically affects its normal function in patients with EED.”
Assuming these organ chips prove as sustainable on a larger scale, they can very well pave the way for us to answer many healthcare questions.