Health Technologies

Centre could soon reduce the need for pharmaceutical trials on animals

The University of Rochester in the US will house a new national centre focused on using tissue-on-chip technology to develop drugs more rapidly and reduce the need for animal

Hani Awad, the Donald and Mary Clark Distinguished Professor in Orthopaedics and a professor of biomedical engineering, said that Congress passing the FDA Modernization Act 2.0 in 2022 made the center possible and that the team is excited to help shape the future of drug development.

The researcher explained: “The timing could not be more perfect.

“As a biomedical engineer and scientist, I find the elegant fusion of engineering and biology inherent in the design and validation of these tissue chips as disease models and drug-testing platforms to be one of the most rewarding pursuits in my professional career.

“I can’t wait to see what this team will be developing over the next five years, and beyond.”

Benjamin Miller, a Dean’s Professor of Dermatology at Rochester, said the centre is the culmination of years of research and collaboration.

He added: “Getting our devices qualified by the FDA as drug development tools will mean that we’re a step closer to doing ‘clinical trials on chip’ with fully human models, increasing the likelihood of a drug candidate being successful when it actually gets to human clinical trials.

“This is also a great opportunity to build an interdisciplinary training environment for our students and expand a collaboration with my colleagues that has been very productive.”

Joan Adamo, director of the Office of Regulatory Support at the University of Rochester Medical Center’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute, added: “This unique programme involves close collaboration with the FDA through a series of qualification steps—a critical aspect to addressing unmet needs.

“I am looking forward to working closely with the agency and our collaborators on this regulatory science project.

“We will achieve qualification of these vital drug development tools, which will accelerate research conducted at URMC and be shared with other academic health centers and industry programmes.”

Image: University of Rochester photo / J. Adam Fenster



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