Tissue Chip in Action

NCATS, through its Tissue Chip for Drug Screening program, along with other NIH Institutes and Centers, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the Food and Drug Administration, leads the development of 3-D platforms engineered to support living human tissues and cells, called tissue chips or organs-on-chips. Read the latest news about the Tissue Chip program below.

August 2018

NIH-Supported Researchers Use Robots, Stem Cells to Produce Organ Models
Researchers at the University of Washington, supported by NCATS and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, created an automated procedure for producing kidney organoids on a large scale and in a format that works with current screening tools used in drug discovery.

May 2018

NIH-Supported Scientists Uncover Clues to Spinal Cord Development, Neurodegenerative Disease
Researchers at Cedars-Sinai, supported by NCATS and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, used stem cells and tissue chips to mimic conditions in the early human spinal cord. The results could provide a better understanding of the development of some neurodegenerative diseases.

March 2018

NCATS Supports Award-Winning Technology for Drug Development
NCATS supports an innovative platform technology to precisely deliver nutrients and hormones to cells for a pre-clinical therapeutics testing program. The adaptability of the technology to other translational science applications led to additional funding for its commercialization and supports NCATS’ goal of making drug development more efficient.

December 2017

CASIS, NCATS, and the NIBIB Announce International Space Station Funding Opportunity Focused on Human Physiology Research
NIH issued a funding opportunity for tissue- and organ-on-chip research at the International Space Station National Laboratory to study human physiology and disease. Data from this research — which will feature “tissue chips” (or “organs-on-chips”) — will help scientists develop and advance novel technologies to improve human health.

September 2017

NIH Awards $15 million to Support Development of 3-D Human Tissue Models
In September 2017, NCATS announced 13 awards to develop 3-D tissue chip research platforms that model disease and test drug efficacy prior to clinical trials. Through the Tissue Chips for Disease Modeling and Efficacy Testing initiative, the Tissue Chip awardees will study a wide range of common and rare diseases. In the second phase of the awards, researchers will partner with pharmaceutical companies to further evaluate the usefulness of validated disease models — those that accurately mimic disease biology — in assessing the effectiveness of candidate drugs.  

June 2017

CASIS and NCATS Announce Five Projects Selected from International Space Station Funding Opportunity Focused on Human Physiology Research
NCATS issued five initial two-year awards in response to a funding opportunity to use tissue chip technology for translational research onboard the International Space Station ― National Laboratory (ISS-NL) for the benefit of human health on Earth. During the first phase of the Tissue Chips in Space initiative, researchers will develop and test tissue chips on the ISS-NL in a microgravity environment. In the second phase, they will further demonstrate the functional use of the tissue chip models for more defined experiments on the ISS-NL.

March 2017

Female Menstrual Cycle in a Dish
NCATS-supported researchers create female menstrual cycle in a dish. Northwestern Medicine scientists describe their development of a miniature female reproductive tract in research published in Nature Communications. The tract fits in the palm of a hand and could eventually change the future of scientific discovery and treatment of diseases in women’s reproductive organs. This new 3-D technology — called EVATAR — is made with human tissue and will enable scientists to conduct much-needed testing of new drugs for safety and effectiveness on the female reproductive system.

October 2016

NCATS to Fund Next Phase of Tissue Chip for Drug Screening Program
NCATS announced a Tissue Chips for Disease Modeling and Efficacy Testing funding opportunity to support further development of tissue chip models of human disease that mimic the pathology in major human organs and tissues.

NCATS to Support Tissue Chip for Drug Screening Testing Centers
On Oct. 13, 2016, NCATS announced awards for three Tissue Chip Testing Centers that provide a way for tissue chips developed through the program to be independently tested and validated. These efforts will help to promote the adoption of this technology by the broader research community.

NCATS, CASIS Announce Funding Opportunity for Tissue Chip Research in Space
NCATS and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) are collaborating to use tissue chip technology for translational research at the International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory. In October, NCATS and CASIS announced a funding opportunity aimed at leveraging recent tissue engineering and microfabrication advances to create tissue- and organ-on-chip platforms that mimic human physiology under the extreme environment of space.

August 2015

Modeling the Female Reproductive Tract in 3-D: The Birth of EVATAR™
Researchers are developing a 3-D representation of the female reproductive tract and liver on a handheld, interconnected platform for drug testing.

April 2015

Meet Chip
NCATS releases the Tissue Chip for Drug Screening video and introduces Chip, an interactive way to explore the program and its ongoing work.

September 2014

NIH Funds Next Phase of Tissue Chip for Drug Screening Program
NIH announces awards in the second phase of the Tissue Chip program to improve ways of predicting drug safety and effectiveness. The journal Experimental Biology and Medicine publishes a thematic issue highlighting the Tissue Chip program.

December 2013

Tissue Chip Projects Highlighted in Major Journal
The journal Stem Cell Research & Therapy publishes a supplement highlighting Tissue Chip projects.

July 2012

NIH Funds Development of Tissue Chips to Help Predict Drug Safety
NIH announces the first 17 Tissue Chip award recipients. The projects, aimed at creating 3-D chips with living cells and tissues that accurately model the structure and function of human organs, mark the first interagency collaboration launched by NCATS.

September 2011

NIH, DARPA and FDA Collaborate to Develop Cutting-Edge Technologies to Predict Drug Safety
NIH, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and the Food and Drug Administration launch the Tissue Chip program.