2016 Tissue Chip Testing Center Awards

On Oct. 13, 2016, NCATS announced approximately $6 million in new awards for fiscal year 2016 to establish three Tissue Chip Testing Centers (TCTCs). These centers provided a way to test and validate tissue chip platforms developed through the Tissue Chip for Drug Screening program. Investigators from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Texas A&M University conducted the independent validation of tissue chip platforms, and the University of Pittsburgh set up a tissue chip database for each organ platform. View details of the project plans below:

Texas A&M University, College Station

TEX-VAL: Texas A&M Tissue Chip Validation Center

Arum Han and Ivan Rusyn

Arum Han, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, Texas A&M University, works on tissue chips with principal investigator Ivan Rusyn, M.D., Ph.D., professor in the Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences, Texas A&M University. (Texas A&M University Photo/Tim Stephenson, CVM Communications)

Principal Investigator: Ivan Rusyn, M.D., Ph.D.
Grant Number: 1-U24TR001950-01

To facilitate new drug testing and chemical toxicology studies, NCATS has supported the development of “tissue chips,” microphysiological organ systems derived from human tissue. This project will establish a facility to test and validate tissue chips to replace animal testing in chemical toxicology studies and drug testing. The new center will test reference compounds in up to 12 tissue chips to evaluate chips’ functionality, reproducibility, robustness and reliability; manage data to ensure chips’ quality and develop a database for storage and sharing; and work with U.S. and European agencies to make tissue chip testing useful for regulatory decisions.

Learn more about this project in NIH RePORTER.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Translational Center of Tissue Chip Technologies for Quantitative Characterization of Microphysiological Systems

Principal Investigators: Murat Cirit, Ph.D., and Alan J. Grodzinsky, Sc.D.
Grant Number: 1-U24-TR001951-01

For human chip technologies developed in academia to be transferred to industry, they must undergo quantitative characterization and validation. The Translational Center of Tissue Chip Technologies will combine quantitative experimental biology, computational biology and biostatistics to characterize these complex systems and translate experimental insights into clinical outcomes. The Translational Systems Pharmacology Team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is the core of the testing center and includes tissue engineers, experimentalists and computational biologists. The team designs model-guided experiments, carries out the experiments, acquires and analyzes data, and reports on the results.

Learn more about this project in NIH RePORTER.

University of Pittsburgh

University of Pittsburgh Microphysiological Systems Testing Database Center

Adam Uraco reviews data on a computer screen

The University of Pittsburgh Drug Discovery Institute Microphysiology Systems Database is designed in part to capture experimental information on organ models and the data generated from them. All of the experimental parameters regarding cell types, drugs tested in the devices and more are organized in the database so that they may be easily accessed, tracked and used to characterize drug responses in the experimental model and construct computational models to predict human organ efficacy and toxicity of new compounds. (University of Pittsburgh Drug Discovery Institute Photo/Richard DeBiasio)

Principal Investigator: Mark E. Schurdak, Ph.D.
Grant Number: 1-U24-TR001935-01

The NIH Tissue Chip Consortium is a partnership between NCATS, the Tissue Chip Testing Centers and industry representatives to develop and validate tissue chips for drug efficacy and toxicity testing. To support the informatics needs of this initiative, the University of Pittsburgh Drug Discovery Institute is creating a Microphysiological Systems (MPS) Testing Database Center. Data generated by the TCTCs on diverse organ systems will be stored in the MPS Database. The MPS Testing Database Center also will develop and implement tools to evaluate the performance of the tissue chips, including their reproducibility and ability to predict clinically relevant drug responses. The Center’s approach will exploit University of Pittsburgh’s strengths in drug discovery science, informatics, and database development and management and will follow the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development guidelines for non-guideline in vitro testing methods.

Learn more about this project in NIH RePORTER.


Danilo Tagle, Ph.D.