Tissue Chip Testing Centers

In October 2016, NCATS announced approximately $6 million in fiscal year 2016 for three awards for Tissue Chip Testing Centers (TCTCs) as part of the Tissue Chip for Drug Screening program. Funded through the Cures Acceleration Network, the goals for the TCTCs include:

  • Providing the means for scientists funded by NCATS’ Tissue Chip program to test and validate tissue chip platforms independently;
  • Ensuring wide-ranging availability of tissue chip technology, particularly for regulatory agencies and pharmaceutical companies; and
  • Promoting adoption of this technology by the broad research community.

TCTCs will be designed with the necessary infrastructure, data management and statistical capabilities to accomplish these goals. Learn more about each of the TCTCs:

Jennifer McKenzie working at a laboratory computer.

Vanderbilt University researcher Jennifer McKenzie works on a neurovascular-unit-on-a-chip in the lab. (Vanderbilt University Photo)

NCATS-funded TCTC scientists will use a reference set of validation compounds vetted by pharmaceutical representatives through an NCATS partnership with the IQ Consortium and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and will run tests to determine functionality, reproducibility, robustness and reliability in these organ platforms. The TCTC scientists will coordinate activities among Tissue Chip program-funded investigators and the FDA to support the progress of these chips, with the goal of getting chips to be used widely as a validated research tool and qualified for use in preclinical drug testing.

TCTC staff will work directly with the Tissue Chip Consortium, which includes tissue chip technology developers, government officials and industry representatives, to test tissue chip devices; acquire, store and use standard tissue chip resources; test compounds for device validation; and share the data and methodologies with the consortium.

In collaboration with stakeholders and regulatory agencies, organ chip testing will determine whether the technology can be used as a better predictive model for assessing safety and efficacy of promising therapies than current cell and animal models.

NCATS provides templates for confidential disclosure agreements and collaborative research agreements as frameworks for streamlining partnerships between tissue chip investigators and the TCTCs.