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Translucent polymer chip models, about the size of a AA battery, could provide drug candidate safety data with greater speed and accuracy than from testing in animals and cells. Federal drug authorities will help develop and test those chips over the next few years, starting with those designed to mimic a human liver and animal livers.
NCATS has been working since 2012 with other NIH entities, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the FDA and pharmaceutical companies on the Tissue Chip for Drug Screening program, which is intended to develop platforms that can support living human tissues and cells, model the structure and function of human organs, and combine those models into an integrated system that can mimic complex functions of a human body.