After the presentation of the final results of the ORCHID project in Brussels during the FET seminar beginning of this year, managing director of hDMT Janny van den Eijnden-van Raaij was interviewed by the European Commission. In the article, she tells about the lack of models that mimic the human body for drug development, and how Organ-on-Chip technology can provide a solution for this deficit. The EU FET-Open project ORCHID, initiated by the Dutch Organ-on-Chip consortium hDMT, aimed to help Organs-on-Chips to move from the laboratory into real-life medical care.
Organ-on-Chip, as an emerging technology, could bridge the gap between preclinical testing and human trials through better predictive models and better safety profiles, significantly impacting the research and development costs. This can be beneficial for healthcare systems and pharmaceutical companies. Besides the pharmaceutical industry, Organ-on-Chip technology is of interest for:
•the food industry (for testing the allergenic potential of food ingredients)
•the cosmetic industry (for testing cosmetic products in particular because of the ban on animal use for skin and eye tests in Europe)
•the chemical industry (for testing hazardous effects of chemicals)
•the veterinary industry (for testing household pet medications and medical treatments)
Even the defense industry and government agencies are interested in Organ-on-Chip models for the assessments of threats from biological or chemical weapons and for safety assessment of environmental compounds.
A unique outcome of ORCHID is the foundation of a European community on Organ-on-Chip technology. This is the first sustainable (not finance-driven) infrastructure for Organ-on-Chip technology established to date.
Though the Organ-on-Chip field is still in its infancy, there are several examples of Organ-on-Chip models that showcase the potential of this technology. These examples include among others detection of thrombotic risk in Vessels-on-Chip, discovery of targets for metastases in Cancer-on-Chip, test for kidney toxicity in Kidney-on-Chip, drug effects on Neurons and Glia cells-on-Chip, prediction of toxicity of nanoparticles in Lung-on-Chip and drug discovery in a disease model for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).
The models still need to be properly qualified for their technological and biological performance, and their robustness and reproducibility demonstrated for a specific purpose. Since qualification, but also standardization, production and upscaling will accelerate the adoption of Organ-on-Chip technology, activities in this direction have the highest priority and have already been started. EUROoCS will initiate and catalyze these challenging processes.
Read the full success story of this breakthrough innovation at the website of the European Commission.
The Final Report in the form of a third ORCHID brochure describes the achievements of ORCHID and refers to the relevant documents that have been delivered during the 2-year ORCHID project.
ORCHID was selected for funding by FET Open Coordination and Support Actions (CSA) in 2017. FET Open and FET Proactive are now part of the Enhanced European Innovation Council (EIC) Pilot (specifically the Pathfinder), the new home for deep-tech research and innovation in Horizon 2020, the EU funding programme for research and innovation.